• Alumni

Activity Feed

Interesting article Yash.
One thing that you did not mention but that I have seen in other industries is tariff rebates when you import components that are to be re-exported back to the same country as a finished product. This could potentially be a solution to this problem. Other firms import their subassemblies disassembled (!) so as to go to a lower tariff bracket.

The idea that they would open an office close to European policy makers is really fascinating. I wonder whether their influence remains strong as a non European company.

Your recommendations are very good but the one I see most promising is to localize R&D. Other companies such as DuPont have done that in the past [1] and it is much more than a way to bypass protectionism. By innovating worldwide, you tap on a much wider pool of resources and ideas. In addition, it may help you design products that match more specifically the local customer tastes and the local supply chains [2].

[1]: DuPont, “Innovation Centers”,, Accessed November 2017
[2] Romain Boutellier et al., “Managing Global Innovation: Uncovering the Secrets of Future Competitiveness”, Spring, 2008

On November 30, 2017, Francois commented on United Launch Alliance: Rocket Without an Engine :

Very nice article!
It is so interesting to see how space exploration has shifted from military and politics to something our entire economy now relies on. It is also fascinating that private companies are now more and more involved in the space industry and triggering a revolution.
Since the topic is so interesting, you could have elaborated further on ULA’s strategy and on your suggestions. What does being more ambitious translate to? Should they partner with other private partners? What is the government strategy?
I would also have loved to learn more about the US domestic competition and how SpaceX, BlueOrigin and other players see themselves sharing the space launch market.

In order to answer your question, I would think that the US not only needs its own space engine solution but it also needs to regain its leadership. It is much more than an financial decision but also a very political one and a matter of national security [1].

[1]: Linda L. Haller and Melvin S. Sakazaki, “Commercial Space and United States National Security”,, Accessed November 2017

I agree that there is a scary side to isolationism. However, as an optimist, I also think that people and societies do learn lessons. One of the strengths of a democratic country like the United States is that there are multiple political parties that can succeed each other. They all make mistakes and all those mistakes can and will be corrected.

Excellent point on why a referendum (one of the most vibrant symbols of democracy) can, in some situations, be undemocratic.
France had a similar vote a some years ago and few people understood the consequences of their vote.

I totally agree that western countries should lead by example. I also think that people who have been privileged to receive higher education (especially in elite institutions like Oxford or HBS) should make stronger efforts to understand where the less fortunate parts of the population stands and why their opinion can sometimes conflict with theirs. The last thing we want is to make our societies even more divided.

Very interesting parallel with healthcare! It will take us some time to understand the overall consequences of the vote on all aspects of the economy.

Great point. If people are not exposed to higher education or simply do not believe in it, then they logically would not care about its excellence.
As for your last point, I think that however the Brexit negotiation unfolds, it will be an interesting lesson for the world.

Great ideas Bahia! I think you raise a very important point with brand awareness. Those big names (Oxford, Harvard…) are real brands and should be taken care of and marketed as such.

On November 30, 2017, Francois commented on The automotive industry – the usual suspect! :

Interesting article. You mention in great details the issues related to fuel consumption of the cars manufactured by Ford. However you are quite brief on the environmental impact of the supply chain itself. You do mention a couple things such as the materials that could be sourced locally and the supplier management strategy.
There is a lot of numbers and resources online on that topic which are very interesting: [1], [2].
Some solutions include new materials and innovative manufacturing processes [3].

As for your question regarding the future of Ford, I am confident that the company will be able to leverage its experience and large market share/resources to create itself a leading role in the transportation revolution [4].

[1]: The Guardian, “What’s the carbon footprint of … a new car?”,, Published September 2010
[2]: Martin V. Melosi, “Enviromental Cost of the Automobile Production Process”,, Accessed November 2017
[3]: S.VinodhK & Jayakrishna, “Environmental impact minimisation in an automotive component using alternative materials and manufacturing processes”, Materials and Design, Volume 32, Issue 10, December 2011
[4]: Bruce Kennedy, “New Ford focus? Automaker says sustainability is Job One”, GreenBiz,, Published June 2012

The healthcare industry is a great and original space to evaluate the impact of climate change. You could possibly have elaborated on the fact that the first and most important consequence of climate change for everyone (those living in at-risk areas as well as the rest of the population) is the rising cost of insurance premiums.

Health insurances can be paid by several categories of people or entities: individuals, businesses (for their employees), etc.
I believe that the key for insurance companies like Aetna is to find solutions that are cheaper to implement than the current or expected cost impact of climate change on healthcare.
One example could be preventive care. For example, vaccination for water-borne diseases, air-purifiers, air-conditioning systems… Those systems/solutions could be dispatched to households affected by specific environmental conditions [1], [2].
In order to reduce the cost of those solutions, Aetna could possibly partner with large businesses who have high employee health benefit costs and share the burden with them. Everyone would benefit from such partnerships.

[1]: EPA, “Preventing Air Pollution-Related Cardiopulmonary Illnesses”,, Published September 2016
[2]: Kaiser Family Foundation, “Preventive Services Covered by Private Health Plans under the Affordable Care Act”,, Published August 2015

On November 30, 2017, Francois commented on Airbus: Digitization on the fly :

Nothing better for an essay on digital trends than our good old humanoid robots!
A big challenge I see for the cloud-based platform is safety. Most of the data tied to the supply chain of aerospace technologies is highly sensitive. In addition, it seems that its application is not only civil but also for the defense industry (Dassault). Thales, which is part of the JV is a big player in data security [1] and I would have loved seeing what their take is on this supply chain revolution.

In addition, you could have given more details on your suggestion to realign the organization.

To answer your question, I would suggest: focusing on data security and investing on further digital supply chain innovations.
With new competition from emerging markets (as you mentioned), it is critical that the top players maintain their technical and operational advantage. Due to the complexity of the supply chain in the aerospace industry, BoostAerospace and similar initiatives will be critical.

[1]: Thales Security,, Accessed November 2017

Thanks for introducing this interesting topic, Cesario!
I wish you had elaborated a bit more on the mechanics of how blockchain technologies improved supply chain safety or reduced paperwork. Being ignorant in this space, I remain unsure of how it works.
You mention the ICO funding which is very interesting although I would have spun it off since this supply chain essay is not directly related to funding. That said, ICO’s are fascinating and raise many issues as seen in the Chinese ICO ban [1].

The most interesting part of your essay is, in my opinion, the limitation of the blockchains technologies when control is handed to a single entity. You are absolutely right that it is a real risk and that it is against the purpose of blockchains themselves. Even for (relatively) more mature blockchains such as Bitcoin, this problem exists with mining being more and more concentrated in the hands of a few entities [2].

A concern you didn’t mention is the cost of running blockchains. If each transaction needs to be verified by the network, how much energy/money does each transaction cost? Is it sustainable as the complexity of blockchains keep increasing?

To build up on your last question. Does IBM really need to create one system to control all the supply chains of the world? Or is each of them a separate system. Is blockchain actually a system? Or is it the absence of system? Personally, I imagine supply chain management as becoming a composite system of many independent blockchains.

[1] Forbes,, Published September 2017
[2] NY Times,, Published September 2017