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On December 1, 2017, Rasha commented on God Save the Bean! :

Erica – coffee is a huge part of my life, and fundamental to Aussie culture, as we consider ourselves coffee snobs. Your post was enlightening as I genuinely didn’t realize that climate change was contributing to diseases which also reduced the supply of coffee. Similar to the impact of climate change on the wine industry, however, I do wonder if other parts of the world will acclimatize to growing coffee beans and help somewhat mitigate the supply impact – it would be interesting to see if Illy dedicates any resources to this exploration. In the meantime, I think Illy’s long term initiatives are interesting, but I wonder what the cost associated with a genetically modified bean will be, and how these new methods, coupled with decreasing supply, will impact prices.

Eleonora, this is great! I found your comment regarding the impact of isolationist trade comments on job growth really insightful. On one hand, as an international living in the US, it surprises me how many large, global companies are not open to a global workforce, preferring to not deal with the administrative headache. To that end, I guess isolationist policies are doing their job. However, I think it’s likely that the makeup of the workforce evolves as GM focuses more on engineering and innovation to compete (e.g., GM unveiled its driverless Chevrolet Bolts in San Francisco less than one week ago [1]), while previously manual production processes become increasingly automated. Surely GM would be willing to source talent globally to supplement its engineering and design efforts, while it automates to reduce costs in other parts of the supply chain, therefore countering the objectives of isolationist policy?

[1] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/11/29/business/gm-driverless-cars.html

On December 1, 2017, Rasha commented on Kisses Good-bye….Chocolate shortage by 2030? :

This post caught my attention because personally, I’d be devastated by a chocolate shortage. My thoughts were aligned with the other comments above – namely, is there any recipe modification which Hershey could implement in order to actually reduce the amount of cocoa powder required per product? The other abstract thought I had related to actual packaging size – perhaps there is some merit to reducing the size of the products themselves. Obviously, this would have to be by degrees so that a consumer does not notice, but over the magnitude of Hershey’s annual production the impact could be sizable.

On December 1, 2017, Rasha commented on After Brexit, Barclays Should Exit :

I have a few friends working in the finance industry in London, and as you mentioned, both Goldman Sachs and Merrill Lynch have leased office space in Frankfurt and Paris respectively in anticipation of a post-Brexit world[1]. Given Barclays’ strong ties to Britain, I wonder if there will be any intervention by the British government if Barclays pursues an exit – as NAK notes, the implications to Britain will be long dated and far reaching. For example, a recent PwC report commissioned by the City of London noted that the financial services contributed £72.1bn in tax (the bulk of which was income tax), representing the highest amount paid over the 10 years the data has been collected[2]. That said, I definitely think Barclays should set up an EU hub. The diversified nature of a typical bank’s workforce and client base demands this, and there is a risk that Barclay’s loses market share if they do not a) set up a plan which allows them to credibly compete with the other banks, and b) clearly and convincingly communicate this plan to shareholders.

[1] http://www.businessinsider.com/r-bofa-signs-lease-for-office-space-in-paris-bloomberg-2017-10
[2] http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/barclays-brexit-banking-exodus-eu-frankfurt-tax-loss-revenue-chairman-john-mcfarlane-a8082716.html

The Canada Goose store in NYC has had a round-the-block line since opening in 2016, with customers bravely enduring abuse and jeers from the protesters that have been picketing the store. I agree with your comment about exploring a truly omni-channel strategy, and particularly think that the e-commerce component of the DTC model will be critical post-IPO. E-commerce will facilitate Canada Goose’s launch online in multiple markets, avoid the costs of brick & mortar stores in smaller markets, and mitigate the marketing nightmare of protesters outside the store, especially as the Company has been dealing with significant adverse press in light of its unethical treatment of animals . Over the long-term, however, I agree that Canada Goose should go beyond marketing and harness the power of the data to actually improve the supply chain. After all, this is an expensive product that most consumers will only own one of and will replace infrequently, so ensuring that they can actually meet demand is critical to long term success.

On December 1, 2017, Rasha commented on Digitalization – Shake Shack’s Secret Sauce for Growth :

This post was a really interesting read! I agree with your final thought – what are the long term operational implications of this strategy, assuming there is increasing and continuous adoption of the app to reach the 55% achieved by Papa Johns? I would anticipate that it is increasingly important for Shake Shack to train its labour force to deal with the pressures that come with both digital and in-store ordering, since they now manage two types of customers. Secondly, how would the traditional store layout need to change as more customers purchase online? Would there need to be a larger dedicated pick up area with its own staff, at the expense of sit down tables? Finally, I wonder what the international implications of this strategy as Shake Shack continues to expand into new markets – namely, are international markets eager to adopt the fast online system, or is Shake Shack more of an ‘experience’ in these markets?