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 040: Liam Bruno, Walgreens Boots Alliance
This month we meet Liam Bruno, a Double Demon currently serving as Senior Manager for Procurement at Walgreens. Liam’s focus is on integrating ESG into day-to-day operations. ESG is, of course, well established and proven to create value when executed well, but there are many obstacles.
Still, forward thinking firms like Walgreens are widening their definition of stakeholder to include social and environmental interests, seeing the potential payoff of cooperation between this wider interest group. In essence, Liam’s role is seeking, what economic theory calls, a Pareto optimal solution, where all these interest groups are served while taking away from none.
How does he do that? Listen in.
Episode 039: Philip Costa Hibberd, Automation Boutique
In this episode we meet entrepreneur Philip Costa Hibberd with Automation Boutique. Philip designs and builds robotic process automation, or RPA, for clients in the finance industry. He solves a productivity problem by automating rote computer tasks often done by highly paid analysts.
This is a great example of firm-level microeconomics where investments change production functions and the allocation of resources towards more efficient use. Seems intuitive but nice to see theory meet reality. Efficiency is always a strategic imperative and not just in perfectly competitive markets. Philip helps his clients get there. He’s also got a terrific outlook on life and business that’s worth hearing too.
You should listen!
Episode 038: Aaron Pagel, University of Oregon (PART 2)
In this Part 2 with Aaron Pagel, we learn more about his practice of wandering, and how that inspired him to ask an interesting question; what is hype? Turns out, isolating hype as a function itself, apart from its context, is relatively uncharted territory with little precedent or literature to lean on.
So, he decided to enter a PhD program and find out for himself. The open-ended, scholarly research process would provide the perfect sandbox to create and test these ideas. Is this a final destination? Maybe, maybe not, but that inspiration resulted from the curiosity before it, and whatever is next will result from the same. And so, it goes.
Want to be inspired? Listen in…
Episode 037: Aaron Pagel, University of Oregon (PART 1)
This month, I’m delighted to welcome my friend and creator & original host of this podcast Aaron Pagel. Aaron is currently pursuing a PHD at University of Oregon in Management Strategy with emphasis on Hype. However, his path getting there was anything but a straight line.
He joins us for part one of a two-part interview to discuss his unorthodox career path, lessons learned along the way, and where he’s going now. His story is a reminder that opportunity comes in unexpected ways, and at seemingly random times. However, good decisions at those moments are made easier with varied experience, openness to change, and even a little creativity.
Life’s short, enjoy the ride and make sure you listen in!
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.
Hosted by Contributing Faculty in the Business Strategy & Decision Making Program
Produced & Edited by Aaron Pagel
Music Composed by Liz Fohl