DePaul University’s Economics & Strategy Podcast is a monthly conversation with individuals who use frameworks taught in the Economics and Business Strategy & Decision-Making programs. The interviewees will represent multiple industries and various roles within their firms. The premise of the podcast is to examine how economic theory is being practically applied in real-world strategic situations.

Episode 036: Paulina Costa, Kalsec

To start the year, I spoke with DePaul MBA Alumna Paulina Costa, Sales Director – Americas at Kalsec. Paulina has always been a natural in sales but completing her MBA positioned her to become sales lead for Kalsec’s entire Latin American territory.

Kalsec is a global provider of taste and sensory solutions. Which means, they research, test, and produce the all-natural ingredients used by CPG companies to ensure their products are safe and delicious. This critical input market has seen some consolidation of late. Fortunately, Kalsec enjoys some competitive advantages, that allow them to defend existing markets while expanding into new ones.

Want to hear how? Settle in and give it a listen!

Episode 035: Rachel Burke, Uptake

For December’s episode, I was honored to speak with US military veteran, double-demon, and MBA strategy alumna Rachel Burke. Rachel’s impressive combination of career experiences landed her at the seemingly perfect spot as Director of implementation at the Industrial AI firm Uptake.

Here we discuss that combination, Uptake’s fascinating work, and why her role is a great example of the strategic concept of specific investments. These types of investments, whether human or physical, signal a commitment to clients and also lower the relative cost of outsourcing vs internalizing things that may be beyond the efficient boundary of a client’s organization.

This was interesting to me. What about you?

Episode 034: Dan Jungels, Panduit

This month DePaul MBA alumnus Dan Jungels and I discussed how to successfully enter new markets. A topic Dan knows well as he was fortunate enough to go straight from the Business Strategy & Decision Making classrooms into the exact challenge he’d been training for.

In his current role as Manager of Renewable Energy Strategy and Business Development at the manufacturer Panduit, he has helped plan, executed, and continually adapt to just such an expansion. In this episode we learn Panduit’s process and how they leveraged firm specific and usage flexible resources to find the best target for expansion. This is an interesting one, you should listen in.

Episode 033: David Ziegelski, National Material LP

In this episode I hosted DePaul MBA alumnus Dave Ziegelski, Vice President of Information Technology at National Material LP, to discuss his career in IT and the increasingly important role it plays in strategic planning.

It IS a digital world and IT touches everything in it, connecting resources & people through process & data. Through Dave’s career he’s accumulated both deep knowledge and some healthy perspective on the subject. While his knowledge has earned him a seat in the strategic planning process, his perspective always reminds him that for all of ITs big potential, it always best to start by listening to people and solving their problems first. An important lesson for sure, you should listen in.

Episode 032: Alison Tinnon, StudioNorth

To welcome a new academic year, I was joined by MBA alumna Alison Tinnon, Senior Campaign Manager at StudioNorth. As an agency-based marketing professional Alison helps other firms navigate their own strategic goals. This puts her right at the nexus of markets and firms, and, of course, economists love that!

It also requires a clear understanding of both a firm’s current positioning in the eyes of customers & competitors and, tactically, how to get them where they want to go. In this episode, Alison describes why the tools of Economics are uniquely applicable in her role and how they help her see things more clearly. It’s a really great example of the power of economics in business strategy – you should listen!

Episode 031: Carsten Raaum, CBRE

In this late summer edition, DePaul MSEPA Alumni Carsten Raaum and I discuss his research work at the real estate giant CBRE. In his role as Associate Research Director, Global Research he studies macroeconomic issues, and analyzes their potential impact on global markets and industry sectors; a super interesting role to be sure.

For strategy development, this kind of information is vision and, in the right hands, can serve as a divining rod to opportunity. While few will ever find a strategic panacea, well-informed business leader can make better decisions one at a time and even see new connections that help solidify their strategic plans.

Episode 030: Brittany Strebel, Ford Motor Company

This month, I caught up with DePaul MBA Alumna Brittany Strebel; Lincoln Operations Manager at Ford Motor Company. I was lucky to attend graduate school with Brittany and learned quite a bit from this smart, composed and savvy woman.

In this episode, Brittany takes us through her 10+ year career at Ford and describes the current transformation taking place at the legendary automaker. A transformation dictated by changing market preferences and full of opportunity for growth and innovation. By embracing such change, Ford illuminates its lineage as an industry disruptor and signals management’s awareness that good strategy means if you’re standing still, you’re falling behind!

Episode 029: Bryan Davis, Ryan Specialty

To “cap off” the academic year, I talked with DePaul MBA Alumnus Bryan Davis, Senior Treasury Manager at Ryan Specialty. Bryan is a natural leader, engaging and intelligent and has had a long career in the strategically vital business function of Treasury Management.

In this episode, we are reminded that even the best strategic plan is only as good as the people executing it. Like the links in a chain, if each area of the business isn’t aware of, and prepared for the what, when, and how of their firm’s strategic plans, those plans are likely to fail. In this conversation we discuss the critical role of Treasury in that model of success and use Bryan experience to highlight the idea that strategic success really does take a village.

Episode 028: Anthony Palcheck, Zebra Technologies

In this May edition, I talked with DePaul MBA Alumnus Anthony Palcheck; Strategic Business Development Advisor at Zebra Ventures, the venture capital arm of Zebra Technologies. A position that certainly befits a graduate of DePaul’s Business Strategy & Decision Making program.

Zebra has been on a roll of late and, as you’ll hear, that success results from a series of good decisions made by leadership with a clear vision and good communication skills. Their success in pivoting from primarily a hardware manufacturer to a vertically integrated solutions provider is a masterclass in business transformation and working your way up the value chain.

Episode 027: Doug Edgar, White Harvest Energy

This month I was delighted to discuss alternative energy with DePaul MBA Alumnus Doug Edgar, VP of Operations at White Harvest Energy.

In this engaging discussion we explored Doug’s background, the market obstacles he faces prophesizing alternative energy solutions, and discovered how value creation, value capture, and coopetition coexist to benefit all of White Harvest Energy’s stakeholders.


Hosted by Contributing Faculty in the Business Strategy & Decision Making Program
Produced & Edited by Aaron Pagel
Music Composed by Liz Fohl

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