On the series premiere of The Partner, The Profit star Marcus Lemonis meets the ten candidates vying for the job to be his partner in managing his multi-million dollar company. One of the candidates is Michael Graves. Michael tells Marcus that he graduated from and played football at the University of Pennsylvania (a starting noseguard and defensive tackle on their undefeated football team) and then he helped to run his family’s business, a Pepsi-Cola franchise in partnership with Magic Johnson. After that, Michael worked for his family’s media company, Black Enterprise Magazine. Michael’s father Earl Graves Sr. launched the magazine, the first publication ever devoted to African-American entrepreneurs and corporate executives, in 1970. (It has a circulation of about 500,000.) Over the years, Michael has worked with his brother Earl “Butch” Graves, Jr., who after graduating from Yale (where he played basketball) was drafted by the NBA’s Philadelphia 76ers. Butch earned his MBA from Harvard.
On The Partner, Marcus worries about Michael only having experience working for businesses that his family owns. “I don’t know if he can make the separation or the leap into working for a company that’s not controlled by his family. It’s a big, big change.” The Partner airs Tuesdays at 10pm on CNBC.