Podcast

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 042: Amy Wilson, Amazon Web Services (AWS)

In our July episode MBA alumna Amy Wilson joins us to discuss her work at the market leading cloud services provider Amazon Web Services (AWS). Amy sells AWS offerings to state and local governments that operate in Windows environments.

In this increasingly competitive industry, there are reasons why this segment would seem difficult to crack, even for AWS. So how do they overcome these difficulties? Using the strategic principle of looking ahead and reasoning back. AWS looked ahead to each stage of client interactions, anticipated obstacles (perceived or real), and designed optimal responses to reinforce their market leading strengths. Leading with your strengths, I like that!

You should give it a listen.

Episode 041: Dain Rideau, Torc Robotics

This episode welcome’s strategy alumnus Dain Rideau. As a Product Manager for autonomous vehicle developer Torc Robotics, he works on connecting vehicles to information. Torc, a subsidiary of industry leading OEM Daimler Truck, focuses on self-driving trucks and while this space is filled with strategic uncertainty, this OEM partnership is a strategic marvel.

Why? During uncertainty, a leading firm’s priority is to protect its position. This partnership allows Daimler to participate in the advancement of autonomous technologies in its own vehicles. Simultaneously protecting its position and embracing the change, whatever that looks like. Smart!

Listen in.

 

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.

Credits

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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