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Author: Gavin Jocius

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Business insights from MBA students, professors and alums. We look to share wisdom, focusing on the hard-lessons learned through different career, school and business endeavors and share insights into how you can put a business education to best use.
21 Episodes
Dave Hunt is the inventor, Founder and CEO of Crossrope, weighted jump ropes with a mobile app that lets you work out anywhere. Dave and I talk about bootstrapping his business and recently making Inc. 5,000 fastest growing companies. We also discuss the explosive growth of connected wellness devices and the at-home fitness market and how Crossrope differentiates itself from companies like NordicTrack, FightCamp, Peloton, Tonal, Mirror and Whoop. Dave and I also discuss the benefits of influencer marketing, brand building, customer acquisition strategies, building company culture, recovering from injuries and more. Prior to starting Crossrope, Dave was an Aviator in the Navy for almost a decade. He is a graduate of Babson College’s Entrepreneurship program and is currently completing a Masters program in Entrepreneurial studies at M.I.T. Connected at-home fitness is a high-growth and well-funded market with fierce competition. Dave’s insight and perspective provides valuable wisdom for anyone in the industry or direct to consumer product marketing in general. His story of founding and growing Crossrope is also very inspirational for any startup entrepreneur. Discussion Tops:(1:42) Recovering from serious injuries.(5:01) Physical fitness as a requirement for CEOs and stressful jobs.(10:56) Jump ropes as a highly efficient workout.(13:44) The importance of making workouts fun.(17:15) Business growth during the pandemic.(19:29) Crossrope’s competition and the home fitness landscape.(23:40) Managing logistics issues during explosive growth.(26:34) Building a brand and community engagement.(30:11) Customer acquisition and working with social media influencers.(37:40) Bootstrap or raise money?(45:30) Strategies for competing in the connected fitness device market.(56:43) Education advice for entrepreneurs.(1:00:14) Rapid fire questions.
Mike Lingle is a software developer and entrepreneur who currently mentors founders and has build tools to help build better financial projections for startups. Mike co-founded SlideRocket, which at the time of launch was a revolutionary cloud-based presentation software. SlideRocket was acquired by VMWare within 30 months of the company’s initial VC funding.Mike studied at the University of Pennsylvania and is currently an Entrepreneur in Residence at Babson College, where he teaches classes on startup financials. Mike has mentored over 1,000 startup founders and shares his wisdom for increasing a founder’s chances of success. We discuss SlideRocket’s launch and eventual exit, how engineers can become successful entrepreneurs, how to build and create better financial models and the future of business education.  Discussion Topics:(2:00) Pausing to pursue a dream passion project post-exit.(6:30) Start-up to exit with SlideRocket.(24:12) Advice for engineer entrepreneurs.(27:40) Recruiting technical founders.(29:56) Guidance for building better financial models.(45:08) The future of business school education.(50:50) Common mistakes made by young founders.(53:21) Rapid fire questions.
Trevor Ewen is the Chief Executive Officer at Southport Ventures, an acquisition fund which focuses on buying profitable mission critical, B2B SaaS businesses. In addition, Trevor runs Southport Technology Group which builds custom product & software tailored to the needs of small to medium enterprises. As an experienced software engineer, Trevor has overseen full-stack teams in clean energy, insurance, finance, and media. Trevor has implemented a unique hybrid model for his search fund which has allowed him generate revenue to subsidize his search and help generate deal flow.  We talk about the pros and cons of running a self-funded search, launching a search fund with a partner, developing proprietary deal flow technology, and more.  If you are interested in entrepreneurship through acquisition and buying a business, you will want to tune into this episode.Trevor has a BS from Northwestern and an MBA from London Business School and Columbia Business School via the joint, global program.Discussion Topics:(1:45) What is a search fund and what skills do you need to be successful?(7:10) Columbia Business School experience for searchers.(9:28) Advantages of international search funds.(12:56) Pros and cons of a focused investment thesis.(19:42) Acquiring B2B SaaS businesses.(27:03) Valuing a business early in the process.(36:06) Launching a search fund with a business partner.(42:44) Using proprietary software and interns to help with deal flow.(49:30) School and launching a search during a pandemic.(1:01:38) Hybrid search fund hedge model.(1:14:02) Rapid fire questions.
Stix Nilsen has built an incredible career in lifestyle brand marketing. Starting in 2004, Stix was the Sport Marketing Manager for Red Bull North America, working with the biggest names in action sports. He then went on to work as the Lifestyle Marketing Manager for Pabst Blue Ribbon. The marketing campaigns done during that time helped revitalize the brand which has been around since the mid-1800s. During his tenure, the Pabst Brewing Company portfolio grew to almost $1 Billion in revenue. Stix has worked as a consultant for White Claw and is now the Vice President of Lifestyle Marketing for Liquid Death Mountain Water, a company that recently secured a Series C round of funding putting its total backing to date at $50 million. Liquid Death’s cap table has names on it like Tony Hawk, Wiz Khalifa, Steve Aoki and more. Stix and the team at Liquid Death continue to do extremely creative marketing and the company is quickly changing how water is marketed, sold and consumed.Stix has a unique perspective on team building, grassroots marketing, branding and authenticity. He is a high energy and fast-moving marketing guru who cares about giving back to others. Stix has a BA in Mass Communication and Media Studies from Hamline University and is a mentor at the Leeds School of Business at the University of Colorado.This is a fun episode with some incredible insights for anyone interested in brand marketing, action sports or innovative start-ups looking to disrupt commodity markets with punk rock sensibilities. Discussion Topics:(1:53) The return of summer music festivals.(6:37) Red Bull’s entry into the North American market.(13:52) Red Bull marketing the heads of its athletes.(18:18) Red Bull’s attention to detail and cutting-edge events.(27:37) Pabst Blue Ribbon 100x increase in sales through grassroots marketing.(35:27) The ROI of long-term marketing efforts at Pabst.(42:00) PBR’s outlook in a post-Pandemic world.(50:00) Liquid Death’s approach to comedy and viral ads.(58:56) Becoming a great brand while doing good.(1:04:03) Raising $50M with celebrity investors.(1:10:01) Building the coolest marketing team ever.(1:15:54) Stix advice for others looking to get into action sports and marketing.
Des Martin is the Vice President of Marketing at Brave Software, responsible for leading marketing and growth for the Brave browser. Brave is a free, privacy-focused browser that blocks third-party ads and trackers. Users retain guardianship of their data and have a faster and safer browsing experience. Integrated into the browser is a token called the Basic Attention Token ("BAT") which anyone can buy and sell on most cryptocurrency exchanges. Users also earn BAT while browsing and can pay BAT to publishers to access and support digital content and services online. I believe that BAT and Brave represent one of the most interesting projects in the crypto spaces which aims to disrupt the $330 billion digital advertising industry. Des is part of a world-class team at Brave, which includes Brendan Eich, the creator of JavaScript, Mozilla, Firefox.Des is a crypto evangelist and highly experienced digital marketer. He and I discuss the recent volatility in the entire crypto space, Elon Musk’s crypto endgame, bitcoin as an inflation hedge, monetizing attention, Brave and Basic Attention Tokens, the Internet of Value, Web 3.0, and the future of digital marketing. Des also shares his wisdom and guidance for anyone looking to make a career in crypto and where you should focus your attention to do so.Discussion Topics:(1:50) Bitcoin’s recent dip in price.(5:45) Elon Musk’s crypto endgame.(12:08) Bitcoin as a hedge against inflation.(15:19) Brave mission to put privacy first.(19:16) Governance and controls related to user privacy.(23:46) Brave’s user adoption & growth.(28:00) Basic Attention Tokens.(30:08) The Internet of Value.(35:25) Digital Marketing’s crisis of consciousness. (43:10) Advice for anyone looking to make a career in crypto.(50:26) Rapid fire questions.
Rahul Pagidipati is the CEO of ZebPay, India’s oldest and most widely used Bitcoin and crypto asset exchange, with over 3 million users and $3 billion worth of transactions. Prior to ZebPay, Rahul was a co-founded of Freedom Health which became the largest Private Health Insurance company in America with over $1.8 Billion in annual revenue. The company was acquired by Anthem in 2018. Along with his family office, Rahul has led investments in multiple "Unicorn" Healthcare companies.Rahul has a JD/MBA from the Northwestern School of Law and Kellogg School of Management, and he has been investing in Blockchain and digital currencies since 2011.Rahul and I talk about his early investments in Ethereum, what he thinks about Dogecoin, the future of digital assets, basic attention tokens, Ethereum 2.0 and more. If you are a crypto expert or beginner, there are plenty of great insights in this episode. We also talk about Rahul risking much of his personal wealth to acquire ZebPay despite the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on crypto-related payments – a move many felt was crazy but turned out to be an incredible investment once the Supreme Count of India reversed the ban. Finally, Rahul shares his wisdom on the future of business school education and he shares his advice for anyone seeking a career in crypto.Discussion Topics:(1:45) All things Ethereum.(15:52) Acquiring ZebPay during the Reserve Bank of India’s ban on crypto-related payments.(19:10) ZebPay acquisition investment thesis and risk-taking.(21:50) Social impact, corporate social responsibility & Bitcoin as social enterprise.(28:52) Mining Dogecoin back in 2014.(31:28) Interesting NFT applications that is not art or collectables. (38:55) How co-founding Freedom Health helped prepare Rahul for success with ZebPay.(44:00) MBA & business school advice.(48:19) Basic Attention Tokens (BAT).(49:27) The Metaverse pioneers and prisoners.(58:22) Rapid fire questions.
Nate Bosshard is an entrepreneur, investor and brand builder of iconic, category-defining, multi-billion-dollar consumer brands. He has managed and re-positioned heritage brands through changing market dynamics, been on IPO rocketships, experienced being inside of company acquisitions and integrations. Nate has had an incredible and diverse career working as brand manager for Burton Snowboards, The North Face and GoPro. He was the co-founder of Tonal, the world’s most intelligent fitness system. Currently, he is the Founder and Managing Partner of Offline Ventures which has invested in companies like Clubhouse, Notion, and Hims & Hers which in 2019 was the second-fastest startup to become a unicorn after Bird. The company went from founding to an IPO in 4 years at a $1.6Bn valuation. Nate and I talk about anticipating cultural trends before they happen, the recent explosion of digital art and NFTs, The North Face/SUPREME collaborations that he helped build, his philosophy and methods for marketing major brands, venture capital and stealth projects that will help define new categories. Nate is very bright and has a gift for seeing opportunities and growth before others. He holds an MBA from Babson College and shares his thoughts and advice for students contemplating an MBA.Nate has some really cutting-edge insights that you are not going to want to miss.Discussion Topics:(1:55) The future of digital art and NFTs.(9:42) The North Face/SUPREME collaboration.(12:40) Staying true to oneself while transitioning to different industries and roles.(15:37) The intense curiosity needed to identify culture trends and VC opportunities.(17:58) Hims and Hers explosive growth through data analytics, regulatory change and market tests.(24:00) Qualities of that make a good founder from an investor standpoint.(27:03) Managing the GoPro, The North Face and Burton Snowboard’s brands.(30:15) Launching Tonal and the future of gym equipment post-COVID.(35:37) What the next big thing will be.(39:28) Why pursue an MBA?(44:21) Rapid fire questions mostly focused on snowboarding.
Shannon McIntyre Hooper is a fellow classmate from the Duke University Fuqua School of Business Executive MBA program. Shannon talks about what it took for her to be awarded the coveted distinction of Fuqua Scholar, graduating in the 10% of our class. We also talk about what it was like to go back to campus for two weeks during COVID and how the experience changed our perspectives on business school education and networking.Shannon is a healthcare innovation and business strategy enthusiast with experience and leadership in both start-up and corporate environments. Currently, she is the Chief Growth Officer of ReviveHealth, which recently won healthcare agency of the year for 2020; their clients include the nation’s leading hospitals and health systems, as well as health technology and services innovators. Shannon has been on the frontlines of helping hospitals navigate PR, marketing and communications during COVID-19, and she shares her insights into what that process has been like and her predictions for changes to healthcare technology moving forward.Finally, Shannon has a deep understanding of stoic philosophy and she shares her wisdom for how stoicism can help make one a better CEO, executive and business leader.Discussion Topics:(2:10) Strategy for becoming Fuqua Scholar.(5:40) Business School Bubble. Going back to campus for school during COVID-19.(9:43) Stoicism in business and how stoic philosophy can make one a better business leader.(27:04) Marketing, communications and strategy for hospitals dealing with COVID-19.(30:44) Expected innovations for healthcare technology.(35:28) Rapid fire questions.
Dan King is former CEO of ReadyTalk, a company he cofounded with his brother Scott in 2000.  ReadyTalk makes cloud-based conferencing and communications technology that more than 6,000 businesses use for virtual meetings, webinars and training sessions. Dan was recognized as Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year in 2008 in the Software Services category. In 2017, ReadyTalk sold to Premiere Global Services Inc.Dan has more than 25 years of experience in the telecommunications industry and related fields. Prior to ReadyTalk, Dan held senior positions in business development and financial management for ICG Communications.Dan earned a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering and a MBA from the University of Colorado, where he also lettered in track and cross country. Still active in Masters athletics, Dan won a gold medal in 8K Cross Country at the 2011 World Masters Track and Field Championships. In 2012, Dan earned the title of World’s Fittest CEO® by winning the CEO Endurance World Championship. Last month, Dan set three American Records for running in his age category.Dan is an incredibly inspiring person. We talk about how personal fitness can help one become a better CEO, the psychology of risk-taking and building a company after the bubble and exiting 17 years later.Discussion Topics:(2:00) Dan’s early years as a “ski bum” working for Vail and Breckenridge.(5:10) Starting a business from scratch, raising $13.5 million and then losing funding a year later.(11:25) The psychology of risk-taking.(17:35) Advice for starting a business with family members.(22:29) How founders and CEOs can become better salespeople.(28:31) Dan discusses his business mentorship role with Techstars & Blackstone Entrepreneurs Network.(30:34) Dan discusses his running career and using COVID lockdowns to improve his training and setting World records.(35:53) Becoming the World’s Fittest CEO and how fitness helps improves one’s abilities as a CEO.(39:43) Rapid fire questions.
Amanda Russell has been referred to as “Carrie Bradshaw meets fitness.” As an award-winning brand creator and international digital marketing strategist, Amanda helps companies re-imagine how they interact with their customers and manage their businesses in the new digital world.She is the creator of Fit Strong and Sexy, an online fitness and lifestyle community for women. Amanda has been featured in publications including Forbes, The Huffington Post, Women’s Health Magazine, SELF and SHAPE. Selected as one of the world’s Most Popular YouTube Fitness Stars by Ryan Seacrest, Amanda knows first-hand what it takes to build a strong brand.Amanda designed & co-created UCLA's Influencer Marketing course, the world’s first fully accredited program in Influencer Marketing. She has now brought that curriculum to the University of Texas at Austin and is in instituting it in universities across the globe.Amanda and I discuss her new book “The Influencer Code: How to Unlock the Power of Influencer Marketing” as well as the state of marketing curriculum at Business schools. Amanda also shares her inspiring story of missing the Beijing Olympics due to a career ending injury and how she used that experience to a pivot and become a successful entrepreneur. Amanda has a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Richmond, Robins School of Business and an MBA from Mercy College. Discussion Topics:(3:07) How MBA programs should be updated to meet the changing nature of modern-day marketing.(9:11) How to find and exercise one’s influence.(10:38) Influencer marketing misconceptions: buzz vs. influence.(13:15) How best to justify your marketing spend and win budget.(18:14) Free versus paid advertising and attribution.(25:40) Legal considerations for Influencer marketing.(29:48) Amanda’s story of launching a business in NYC and early Youtube days.(41:45) Rapid fire questions.
Sam Weeks earned his MBA from Oxford University’s Saïd Business School, funded by a scholarship from the Saïd foundation. He was named on the Dean’s list, elected Social Chair, and graduated with Distinction in 2018. Based in Amsterdam, Sam founded a consulting business with the purpose of leveling the playing field for international applicants, helping determined candidates get admitted into top business schools. International applicants often feel at a disadvantage expressing the nuanced differences between schools. Sam personally guides candidates through every step, supporting their application with his own experience and writing.Prior to starting Sam Weeks Consulting, he worked as an Equity Derivatives Trader at IMC Trading. In addition to his MBA, Sam has a Master of Engineering degree from King’s College in London.Sam and I talk about the business school admissions process and trends that he has seen in 2020, working directly with admissions officers. We compare stories of studying in the US versus the UK and why Said Business School was a great fit for him. We also discuss how business schools have adapted during COVID and I share my experience of being back on-campus at Duke this past September.Sam shares a lot of great advice and wisdom for anyone looking to apply to business school. Discussion Topics:(3:09) Sam’s decision to launch an MBA consulting business.(5:57) Business application stats for 2020 and why schools are seeing increased applications.(10:00) Advice for avoiding “achievement soup” in MBA application essays.(15:00) Selecting the right business school.(18:43) Oxford University’s Saïd Business School experience.(29:35) The future of MBA program formats post-COVID.
Reggie Love is a true renaissance man and witness to history. Reggie was a political aide and former Duke football and basketball player. He was the captain and a starter for the Duke Men’s basketball team during his senior year. Reggie served as the special assistant and personal aide for President Barack Obama. He has traveled the world, met with world leaders, hung out with Jay-Z and Beyoncé and was at the President’s side during his campaign and while working in the White House.Reggie and I discuss his best-selling book Power Forward: My Presidential Education. We talk about the inauguration, balancing academics and sports, and mentorship. Having worked directly with two incredible leaders (Coach K and Barack Obama), he shares his wisdom on different management styles and how to lead during uncertain times.Reggie has a Bachelor of Science degree from Duke in Political Science and Government and an MBA from the Wharton. We talk about the challenges of balancing work and a rigorous MBA program and some of the hardest classes he took while at Wharton.Discussion Topics:(4:45) Preparing for the President’s Inauguration day speech.(9:09) Duke Basketball and going from walk-on to team captain.(15:14) Mentorship & volunteering to help others.(20:04) Choosing a career path and advice for recent graduates.(24:24) The Wharton MBA experience and the most challenging courses.(28:54) Working one of the world’s largest alternative investment firms.(31:01) Post-COVID economic recovery discussion.(35:26) The similarities and differences of Obama & Coach K’s leadership styles.(38:42) Rapid fire questions.
Helen Bulwik is an experienced CEO, board director, strategic advisor and executive mentor. Helen has been the CEO of six middle-market private equity-owned companies. She has led business development and client strategy for the retail management consulting practices of IBM, Accenture and the Tom Peters Group, and she started her career as a merchandiser for Macy’s. Helen has also served on more than a dozen private and public boards, and she has been the only female on every one of them. Helen has a Bachelor of Science and an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley.Helen is also the founder of Pacific Art Group which has over 10,000 images, sold in over 122 countries. As a retail and eCommerce art guru, Helen talks about the art market, recent changes to retail and what company’s like Macy’s need to do be successful going forward. Helen also provides her advice for female executives looking to join corporate boards. Finally, we discuss why only 11% of business school cases involve female protagonists and what needs to take place in order to help change that.Discussion Topics:(2:55) Adjusting to COVID-10 lock downs from a business and personal standpoint.(5:51) The global art market and growth in Chinese contemporary art.(9:22) Trends in online art and the impact of COVID-19 on sales.(15:25) Macy’s Inc. plan to reclaim luxury leadership.(20:21) The future of retail post-COVID-19.(23:04) Advice for female executives looking to join corporate boards.(27:25) Female protagonists in business school cases.
For this episode, I try something a bit different by having two guests on the show. I interview fellow classmates from the Executive MBA program at Duke. Bailey Smith and Noah Smith (no relation) were both Navy Surface Warfare Officers (SWOs) with deployments in the Arabian Gulf and South China Sea. They both share their experiences from their time in the Navy and the challenges and similarities of managing sailors versus employees. Noah completed this undergraduate degree from Clemson University and is now a Product Manager at Corning Incorporated, one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. Bailey graduated from Cornell University and is an Assistant Vice President of Global Technology and Operations at the Bank of America.In addition to talking about life in the Navy, we have open and candid conversations about what it is like to balance work, family and school during COVID-19, transitioning to all online classes, and in Bailey’s case, having a child while in the program and doing classes from the hospital the day after giving birth. If you are a perspective student contemplating an Executive MBA, I would encourage you to take a look at the podcast show notes to skip ahead as needed to where we provide our advice on how best to manage the program and give tips for success.Discussion Topics:(2:02) Deployments and navigating ships at Sea. (9:22) Dealing with sleep deprivation.(15:18) Naval officer portrayal in movies and literature.(18:40) Traveling the world and favorite port calls.(21:41) Earning trust and managing sailors versus employees.(28:37) The decision to pursue an EMBA and why the format works.(35:30) Adjusting to all online classes.(42:55) Rapid fire questions on the pros and cons of an EMBA program.(52:55) Time management advice for working parents doing an EMBA.(1:04:01) #1 piece of advice for success in an EMBA program(1:06:39) Having a child in the middle of term 2.
Joe Colopy is the founder and former CEO of Bronto software, a cloud-based provider of commerce marketing automation headquartered in Durham, North Carolina. Bronto grew its revenue from zero to $50 million dollars over fifteen years with a $200M exit in 2015, selling to NetSuite which was then acquired by Oracle. I’ve known Joe since 2006 when I started using the platform and have watched it grow and become an industry leader in omni-channel marketing. Recently, Joe launched Jurassic Capital which invests in B2B software companies throughout the Southeast, leveraging his experience to help growth-stage software companies scale. Two years ago, he also launched GrepBeat which covers tech news and views for Raleigh-Durham and the surrounding area. It’s like TechCrunch for the Research Triangle Park with a bit of Buzzfeed. It is a great resource for entrepreneurs in the area to help their voices be heard and put RTP on the map as an emerging and world-class business hub. Joe completed his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Economics from Harvard University and has an MBA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. With an MBA and Computer Science degree, Joe and I get pretty technical and talk about what it takes to scale a software business, hire and recruit developers, and we discuss future trends in digital marketing. Joe also provides his insight into how best to leverage an MBA education and the relationships you build while at school.Discussion Topics:(2:43) The skills needed to start a business and then scale it.(5:44) Keeping motivated when faced with failures and setbacks.(8:40) Bootstrapping a business from the ground up with the right partner.(12:45) Launching GrepBeat and helping entrepreneurs share their stories.(18:04) Building company culture and recruiting and retaining software engineers.(23:56) Community involvement and Joe’s experiences in the Peace Corps.(29:35) Future trends in omni-channel digital marketing.(38:11) Advice for putting an MBA education to best use in one’s career. 
Judy Toran Cousin is a business builder and strategist with over 20 years of experience in business development, marketing and management of large corporations, start-ups and non-profits, including Salick Health Care, Health Management Advisors, Reebok International and Procter and Gamble. Judy has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of Southern California. Judy and I worked together at Circle Graphics, which is the world's foremost producer of grand and large-format digital graphics. The company also produces business and transit signs and has developed disruptive and very innovative wall décor products.Judy joined Circle Graphics in August 2012 as Chief Strategy Officer and General Manager of the Consumer Digital Printing division. From 2016 to 2020, she was the Chief Marketing and Innovation Officer, acting as the primary steward of the Circle Graphics brand across the company's multiple business units, with an emphasis on innovation and differentiation.Judy and I take a deep dive into Intrapreneurship, acting like an entrepreneur while working within a large organization. She excels at building successful business units within a company, scaling them into sustainable and profitable divisions. She shares her insights and processes for growth and getting companies to adopt a culture of innovation, something that is particularly important for businesses having to adjust to COVID-19. Judy also shares some great insight for female executives and recent MBA grads.Discussion Topics:(2:57) Intrapreneurship & innovation.(4:35) Overcoming resistance to change in an organization.(5:20) Building a culture of innovation.(10:07) Identifying industry trends for new product launches.(13:02) Judy’s favorite product she has worked on.(15:01) Motivating young employees with intrapreneurship opportunities.(20:07) Using intrapreneurship to adjust during COVID-19.(27:36) The Harvard MBA experience.(29:02) Advice for female executives and recent MBA grads. 
Cate Gropper is a fellow classmate in the Executive MBA program at Duke University. Cate works as a Production Manager at NBC News' TODAY Show. Cate is the primary contact for NBC teams in the field, handling all the logistics for live-broadcasts, including managing all on-site crew, communicating with the Control Room and handling any location-specific challenges. Having worked on projects in Northern Alaska and Greenland with Al Roker, we discuss the struggles of filming in such remote locations. Cate also discusses her time working as an NBC Universal page, meeting Leonardo DiCaprio and adjusting to working in a newsroom during COVID-19.Cate and I also discuss what it’s like to be MBA students with full-time jobs adjusting to online classes while under quarantine, and we provide advice for those about to start a program.Discussion Topics:(1:28) Cate discusses her role as a Production Manager at NBC.(5:13) Working on “Al in the Arctic” with Al Roker in Northern Alaska.(15:05) Filming “Climate in Crisis” in Greenland.(19:50) Working as an NBC Page during Saturday Night Live’s 40th Anniversary special.(23:53) Has Kenneth Parcell helped or hurt the page program at NBC?(25:45) Working in NYC broadcasting during COVID-19 lock downs.(32:15) Advice to students entering MBA programs during lock downs and quarantine(38:15) Cate discusses why she selected an Executive MBA over a daytime program.(44:01) Applying an MBA education to work.
Chidi Erike is a Client Partner at Facebook where he helps clients like Unilever, Peloton and Starbucks optimize their businesses across Facebook’s ad platforms. I met Chidi a few years back while I was attending a Facebook marketing summit. I was impressed with a presentation he gave on leveraging the platform for growth and taking an analytical approach to optimizing social media ad spend. Having worked at JPMorgan, Merrill Lynch and SocialCode, Chidi leverages his experience in banking and technology to identify opportunities and solve problems for large growth companies and help them reach their potential through strategy, marketing, and operations. Chidi also helped launch Facebook Elevate, a program designed for women and minority-owned businesses, providing them with customized workshops focused on business solutions and reaching new customers.Chidi has a BS in Marketing and Finance from State University of New York at Albany. He completed his MBA from Duke in 2012 with a focus on Strategy and Finance. He was also a professional basketball player, so Duke fans, we also talk about one of my favorite topics – Duke Basketball.Discussion Topics:(1:43) Chidi’s roles at Facebook from ad auctions to client partnerships.(5:45) Leveraging a background in Finance at Facebook.(6:40) How best to improve one’s marketing on Facebook/Instagram.(14:35) Optimizing creative for engagement.(16:59) Instagram shopping.(20:44) Spooky Instagram ads. Are you listening to my phone?(25:56) COVID-19’s impact on advertising and businesses.(32:45) Diversity & inclusion at Facebook Elevate.(40:37) Why Chidi selected Duke over other schools.(42:00) Playing professionally & thoughts on Duke Basketball.
Ted Baker is the co-founder of QALO (pronounced “kay-lo”), an active lifestyle company which was started in 2012. Their hero product, a functional silicone ring, has disrupted the multi-billion dollar wedding ring industry. In 2018, QALO was ranked #151 on Inc. Magazine’s fastest growing companies list. People like Lebron James, Dale Earnhardt Jr and Steph Curry now wear them. Ted’s story is a great example of how new innovative products can create a white space, unlocking unmet sources of customer value while capturing share in established markets. Ted shares his insights on the grit and tenacity it takes to bootstrap a company to phenomenal growth. Ted earned his MBA, with a focus in entrepreneurial and small business operations, from Loyola Marymount University. He currently serves as Board Chairman of Topics:(1:29) Backstory on how and why Ted started QALO.(5:35) Launching without outside investment.(7:35) Brand, culture and building an active lifestyle brand.(14:30) Dealing with new competitors after explosive growth.(17:26) Innovation and new product launches.(22:57) Selling on Amazon and omni-channel marketing strategies.(29:15) How to bootstrap a company for growth.(35:40) Variable marketing and return on advertising spend (ROAS).(40:45) Leveraging a business school education as an entrepreneur. 
Wisdom.MBA is a podcast where I interview business school students, professors and alums. We look to share wisdom, focusing on the hard-lessons learned through different career, school and business endeavors and share insights into how you can put a business school education to best use.On this episode, I interview Ari Medoff who is a good friend and business advisor with a wealth of experience in search fund entrepreneurship, also known as Entrepreneurship Through Acquisition (ETA).  ETA is a challenging and at time lonely path, but if successful, it can be a great way to own equity in a business and become a CEO at a young age. If you’ve had dreams of owning your own business or are just interested in learning more about the search fund process, I think you’ll enjoy this podcast. Ari earned an MBA/MPP from Harvard Business School and Kennedy School of Government. Before that, he worked as a Venture Capital/Merchant Banking Analyst at Lehman Brothers in New York where he was part of teams investing in consumer products, healthcare services, hotels, and enterprise software. Ari founded Arosa LLC in 2011 as a self-funded searcher and completed his acquisition of Nurse Care of North Carolina, a premier provider of in-home care services, where he serves as CEO.  Since that time, he has also completed numerous other acquisitions within the healthcare space. Ari teaches a seminar on Search Funds at HBS and is also a board member of a number of great organizations in North Carolina. Discussion Topics:(2:00) Venture Capital at Lehman Brothers.(9:45) Being a good Operator/Investor.(11:45) The mindset required to be a Search Fund Entrepreneur.(16:23) Why search funds are growing in popularity.(23:18) Tenacity, loneliness and the challenges of searching for a business.(33:30) Post-acquisition and the transition phase.(40:29) Building trust and setting a vision for your new business.(44:29) The wisdom of long-term business focus.(48:34) Pivoting a healthcare business during COVID-19.(53:37) Volunteering in the community as a business leader.
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