Alec Guzov

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Very interesting article! With respect to the question about whether pharmaceutical companies should continue to operate in the Caribbean, I think that the answer is yes, but in a different model from the current one. While no locations are truly “risk free”, the FDA should work with the EPA and the National Weather Service to migrate production of sole-sourced drugs away from the highest risk areas (such as the Caribbean). To mitigate disruption to the Puerto Rican economy, the government can incentivize the production shift away from the island by provided tax incentives to bring production of generic, or non-critical pharmaceuticals to Puerto Rico. More thoughtful alignment of drug criticality against risk of the production environment would help reduce health impacts from climate crises in the future.

Super important topic, thanks for writing about this! While I agree that programs like FGI and the push to include a greater share of international cases in the curriculum help broaden students’ exposure to business outside the United States, changing mindsets of US companies by starting from business school students is likely the slower route of adaptation. The more effective place for HBS to engage is likely through truly developing into an international institution. Rather than growing class sizes at the Boston campus, I think it makes most sense to add campuses in strategic international locations. The Boston location is already quite large by business school standards, and expanding the size of this campus would not solve the hiring problems that you identify in the article, at least in the near term. As you point out, the risk here is that the brand and quality of the business school could be hampered, but there is precedent for international campus expansion (e.g., INSEAD), and the appeal of teaching at HBS would likely attract top-quality faculty abroad.

On November 20, 2017, Alec Guzov commented on Climate change, food security, and General Mills :

Thanks for choosing this topic, I really enjoyed this! Even more daunting than the impact of global population growth on consumption is General Mills’ ambition given that two-thirds of greenhouse gas emissions in the company’s plan are outside the company’s operations. While the targets are admirable, the macro environment points to the fact that implementing these changes to General Mills’ supply chain are critical for the company’s long-term sustainability. With that in mind, it is best to begin implementing the required changes now, so that 1) General Mills’ suppliers have time to make changes to their operations and 2) General Mills can help shape the regulatory narrative and stay ahead of its competition. Consumers can provide a vote of confidence to General Mills in the short-term by buying more of the company’s products, and shareholders must be vigilant in overseeing that the execution of this supply chain transformation occurs in the most efficient manner.

Cool article! While the Instant Ink program sounds like a great way to smooth customer demand and improve cash conversion through reduced inventory levels and fewer discounts, it does not solve the secular decline in HPQ’s core printing segment. Ultimately, I think that the core printing business will reach a plateau (since businesses will always have a minimum demand for printing), but HPQ’s only ability to grow has to come from an adjacency like 3D printing. While development of its own technology may take a long time, HPQ could accelerate its entry into the market through acquiring a smaller 3D printing company that could benefit from HPQ’s distribution and scale.

On November 20, 2017, Alec Guzov commented on Re-inventing NYT: Impact of digitalization on news media :

Great article! I think that the content-focused investments that NYT has pursued (TheSkimm, The Wirecutter) are smart moves, and likely point toward a logical next step for the company (as opposed to attempting to compete in technology/hardware, where NYT does not have a core competency). Similar to the model pursued by HBO, where they own premium content (which drives viewership), NYT can continue to be demanded on any platform, regardless of the form of distribution. The ability to engage with consumers, whether through NYT’s core product or through niche newsletters, is a differentiator that Amazon or a technology company cannot automate given the need for talent in journalism and content curation.

Really well written article! I think a large part of why European corporations are further along in their sustainability efforts than Patagonia may have to do with the consumer demand for these corporate behaviors. While many Patagonia shoppers care about the outdoors, many apparel purchases seem to be feature-driven (how cold of temperatures does this product withstand, how sophisticated is the material, etc.). To your point about the lack of awareness of Patagonia’s sustainability efforts, I did not know about many of these initiatives. Only when I started reading about the company some more did I see that sustainability is core to the company’s mission. By increasing awareness, I think that this could drive many more customers to Patagonia, and incent management to push these sustainability initiatives even further. Beyond the training program that you suggest, I think that a high-profile marketing campaign could also aid the company’s cause. Since Patagonia is privately-owned, they can invest in building their brand in the short term without substantial ramifications.