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On November 28, 2017, 11589 commented on The impact of Brexit on Kerry Group :

Very interesting article, Rachel! Regarding your question about shifting manufacturing outside of Ireland – I do think that they should consider doing this if it will help them from having to pass on costs to their end consumers. The other potential suggestion I would have for them though is to consider ways that they can work with the regulatory bodies who are developing the legislation to see if they can have an advocate on behalf of the company. When I think about some of the government affairs officials that exist at airlines, it may make sense to create this type of role at Kerry so that there is a point person to deal with all of these issues as they come up.

Amanda – I think you did an extremely good job at providing recommendations for how Tesco should move forward. I fully agree with you that the two key paths forward include building and strengthening relationships within the food and grower community as well as working closely with the British government to ensure that the regulatory environment remains at least somewhat advantageous. Perhaps the customs / logistics program could include importing foods from “pre-approved” countries to help speed up the timeline and increase the efficiency of the supply chain. Similar to how the concept of global entry works, a “global entry” for supplies that Tesco is importing could help improve their processes in the post-Brexit world. To answer your question about if Tesco should hedge and invest capital now, I do think that they should. I believe that some of the upfront work they could do now could be beneficial regardless of the outcomes of Brexit. As we both mentioned, strengthening and building supplier relationships is something that could only ultimately help the business and I think finding investments of that caliber makes sense for them as of now.

I thought this essay did a great job at capturing the role that Facebook has played in disrupting traditional advertising. The open question I would have for FB is about what happens when small- and medium-sized businesses can no longer afford to bid on the FB platform if the demand for those advertising slots begins to outpace the supply that Facebook is willing to make available. Additionally, will these smaller brands opt to participate in “one click” purchasing through FB and Instagram the way they currently do through Pinterest? I also worry about the way that Facebook could potentially start selling its data and how this could be interpreted in the media. Even if FB sold this data anonymized, there is a distinct possibility that the general population could become very uncomfortable with this and it could did-incentivize users from being as active on the website and from sharing as much personal information as they do. Were this to unfold, then Facebook would not be able to offer the same value proposition to these businesses from a targeted advertising perspective.

On November 28, 2017, 11589 commented on Digitalization and the Death of a (Real Estate) Salesman :

While this seems like a very cool business model, I’m concerned about the scalability of the company. You reference this as an open question above, but I’m not convinced that the company will be able to scale and improve the algorithm quickly enough to continue to be a market leader in this industry. If the success of the company’s growth relies on adding multiple zip codes quickly and effectively to the platform so that the pricing algorithm can work, what happens if a ton of local businesses pop up, creating a very fragmented market for digitized home buying? Another question I would have is how companies such as Open Door could partner with other real estate technology companies such as Cadre (https://cadre.com/). Both companies are focused on eliminating the “middle man” to reduce fees and it seems logical that a partnership could emerge between websites that allow for buying homes and websites that allow for investing in the companies that build the homes.

I think this essay was extremely well-structured and an argument that was easy to follow. I did have a question around the cost that Nestle is incurring as it tries to move toward sustainability. When they provided technical assistance to 200,000+ farmers and trained 16,000 coffee farmers in new techniques, how expensive was that for them? Additionally, were the techniques that these farmers learned reactive or will they be employable in all forms of future climate change? If it’s the former, I would hope that Nestle would find ways to develop these techniques to make them more holistically functional. To your question regarding how Nestle can partner with other small businesses or governments, I believe that one aspect of their responsibility will come through investing in SMBs that focus on sustainable food supply chains and “greener” farming techniques. If they give funding to first movers in the space, it will not only help develop these companies and ultimately benefit the planet, but it could also give Nestle a leg up in continuing to source ingredients efficiently.

Syndie – I thought this piece was well researched and thoughtful; I especially liked your recommendations for how Body Shop should expand its efforts in the long term. The concern that I have is around product quality. You give the example of Nicaragua as a source of sesame oil and explain that they’re experiencing weather issues but I’m not fully convinced that the Body Shop will be able to find other sources of necessary products that align with their mission at an appropriate price. Will the CFT buffer be sufficient or will they be forced to have to find potentially lower quality sources of raw materials that might even have inflated prices due to scarcity from climate change? In response to your closing thought around Body Shop working with other companies in the beauty industry, I do believe that companies can come together to mutually agree to using and selling sustainable products. Companies such as Glossier have already started this movement and I think that Body Shop, as a well established company, should help take the lead in this space given the brand equity they already have in beauty.