Alumni Spotlight: Ronald E. Paulson

Barbara Siegel

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Lake Forest Graduate School of Management (LFGSM) alumnus Ron Paulson’s progressive management career began in Grainger’s division. He is now the Vice President of Business Development for W.W. Grainger, Inc., a brand leader in maintenance, repair and operating products with annual sales of $10 billion in 2014.

Ron earned his Master of Business Administration (MBA) from LFGSM in 1993 and graduated from Loyola University in Chicago in 1988. He is a well-respected authority in e-commerce, cited in media channels including Information Week, Industry Week, eBiz Chronicle, Modern Distribution Management and Industrial Distribution Magazine.

Grainger and Social Philanthropy

In addition to serving as VP of Business Development, Ron is the Director of the Grainger Community Grant Program (GCGP) for W.W. Grainger, Inc. It is a role he is passionate about because he can apply his expertise in a way that gives back to local and global communities in need and impact the lives of others.

The foundation was established in 1949 by William W. Grainger and internally funded more than 977 grants in 2014, awarding $6.3 million through the program. Grainger was also the National Launch Sponsor of the American Red Cross Volunteer Connection, a new volunteer management system that has assisted with the online recruitment of more than 296,000 new Red Cross volunteers.

Read more about W.W. Grainger, Inc. and their social partnership with the American Red Cross.

Choosing the Lake Forest MBA

Ron recalls that attending an MBA preview night at LFGSM motivated him to begin the program.

“I attended a preview event and was really impressed by the faculty. That is what made Lake Forest stand out. I saw the value in having instructors who were actively employed in leadership roles for businesses and corporations. I knew what they would be teaching would be relevant.”

– Ron Paulson, VP of Business Development W.W. Grainger Inc.

Ron says he was assured of the value of insights offered by his MBA instructors. He felt confidence to directly apply concepts immediately at work, particularly in the areas of marketing and promotion.

While admitting that balancing his corporate responsibilities, family life and study was a challenging endeavor, Ron remains appreciative of his MBA experience and the impact it had on his career.

“I have this piece of paper on the wall that reminds me of all the work that went into [acquiring] my MBA. It was one of the best decisions I have made. What I learned at Lake Forest became the foundation of becoming an effective leader.”

– Ron Paulson, Director of Business Development W.W. Grainger Inc.

Corporate Hiring and MBA Graduates

Ron believes MBA graduates offer a unique value to corporations. Agile thinking and strategic planning skills are vital for business success and MBA students are given the opportunity to develop both at Lake Forest.

“Given the competitive nature of business nationally and globally (since we are now competing consistently on an international level), it is to the advantage of any organization to invest in candidates who demonstrate leadership talent and capability. Strategic thinkers are always needed and that is what you get from most MBA graduates.”

– Ronald E. Paulson, Director of Business Development W.W. Grainger Inc.

Lake Forest Graduate School of Management is proud to count Ron Paulson, an exceptional business leader and socialpreneur, among our alumni. To access valuable insights and discussions with Ron and to learn more about W.W. Grainger, Inc., connect with Ron on LinkedIn.





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