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TRIUM connects podcast
with Matt Mulford

The podcast which dissects the big issues shaping global business

Your Host Matt Mulford

Latest episode

Episode 14 World Class Entrepreneurship in Africa: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

19 August 2021

My guest this episode is Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede (TRIUM Class of 2016). Aig is a world class finance and social entrepreneur. In 2002 he acquired (with his friend and colleague Herbert Wigwe) a struggling Nigerian bank for around US$10 million. After 11 years of his leadership as the CEO, the bank had a market capitalisation of around US$1.3 billion and had become one of the most important banks, not only in Nigeria, but across Africa.

He tells the story of the acquisition, turnaround and rapid scaling of Access Bank in his new book, Leaving the Tarmac: Buying a Bank in Africa. In this episode we discuss this fascinating story of success. It is one of the best examples of the power of process innovation, values, and vision, as drivers of business success, that I have ever come across. Aig’s true genius is his ability to engineer opportunity from what others would see as almost unsurmountable obstacles to success.

In addition to business lessons to be learned from his experience, Aig is one of the most thoughtful and careful commentators on African development challenges and opportunities you will find. From discussions on the consequences of corruption, to the proper role of civic institutions and regulatory bodies, to the role and responsibility of the private sector for economic development, Aig’s insights and knowledge are unmatched.

This is one of my favourite episodes yet – don’t miss it!

Episode 13 Is Marketing Really a Black Hole? How to bridge the gap between finance and marketing

19 July 2021

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Episode 13 Is Marketing Really a Black Hole? How to bridge the gap between finance and marketing

19 July 2021

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My guest this episode is Chris Burggraeve. Chris is a practitioner scholar of the art and science of marketing. His corporate marketing career culminated as the Chief Marketing Officer for AB Inbev from 2007-2012. In 2013 he founded Vicomte, a marketing advisory and micro-ventures firm. He is also a former Capstone Project Director for the TRIUM Global EMBA.

In this episode, we discuss his latest book, Marketing is not a Blackhole. For Chris, if you have a business model based on a branded product or service, then marketing is at the heart of everything you do as a company – or at least should be. Great marketing gives a firm the ability to consistently raise prices without losing market share (pricing power). Pricing power, in turn, is a key to long-term profitability and growth. If you could effectively rank the marketing excellence of the firm, then you could use this as a predictive tool of the future profitability of the firm. Chris has created just such a marketing excellence rating – αM 2.0. He hopes/dreams that this rating will be as useful and used as other, more established ratings (think Moody’s, Fitch, FICO scores, Altman’s Z score, ESG ratings, …etc.) when analysts are valuing a firm. Join us to find out more!

Episode 12 Private Equity: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

28 May 2021

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Episode 12 Private Equity: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly?

28 May 2021

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My guest for this episode is Oliver Gottschalg. Oliver is the Academic Dean of the TRIUM Global EMBA program and an Associate Professor of Strategy and Business Policy at HEC-Paris. Oliver is a world renowned expert in the strategic logic and the performance determinants of private equity investments. He straddles both the academic and practitioner worlds of these topics as both a scholar and the founder of firm which provides information on private equity funds’ manager performance to both limited and general partners.

Perhaps no other asset class invokes as many strong opinions as private equity and yet too many only have a rather vague idea of how the industry works. Oliver describes himself as either a friendly critic or a critical friend of the private equity industry and in this episode he guides us through the complex dynamics of the industry. Your opinion about this particular form of capitalism may not change after listening to this episode, but I hope that – at the least – you will be a little better informed about the issues and debates which swirl around this key part of the business world.

Episode 11 An Anti-Populist Manifesto: A New Social Contract for the 21st Century

28 April 2021

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Episode 11 An Anti-Populist Manifesto: A New Social Contract for the 21st Century

28 April 2021

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My guest for this episode is Baroness Minouche Shafik. Minouche is the Director of the London School of Economics and Political Science and one of the most important thought leaders in the world. She has a glittering career in academics and as a global civil servant. Before becoming the leader of the LSE, Minouche was a Vice-President at the World Bank, a Permanent Secretary for the UK’s Department for International Development, a Deputy Managing Director at the IMF, and a Deputy Governor of the Bank of England.

In this episode Minouche and I discuss her new and hugely influential book, What We Owe Each Other: A New Social Contract. In this work, she sets out to do no less than to provide a framework for a new relationship between the state and individual based on the idea of what we owe to each other as fellow citizens. The book has been praised by a multitude of Nobel Prize winners, Heads of State, renowned economists and philosophers, and…well, just about everyone who has read the book! I hope you find our conversation as inspiring and interesting as I did.

As I hope you can tell, this is a very special guest for a very special episode. In September of this year, we will mark the 20th anniversary of the launch of the TRIUM Global EMBA. This episode starts the celebration! I can think of no better guest or theme to reflect the belief on which TRIUM was formed: to succeed as a global business leader, you must be able to situate yourself and your organisation into the web of interdependencies which constitute life in a global age.

Episode 10 Video Games: How innovation in technology, strategy, process and artistic production has created a mega-industry

30 March 2021

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Episode 10 Video Games: How innovation in technology, strategy, process and artistic production has created a mega-industry

30 March 2021

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My guest for this episode is Joost Van Dreunen. Joost is an Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Stern School of Business at New York University. In this podcast we discuss the dynamics of the video games industry and his new book, One Up: Creativity, Competition, and the Global Business of Video Games. 

In 2020, across the segments of PC, console-based, and mobile games, the industry had revenues of somewhere between $160-170 billion and an annual overall growth rate of around 25%. In addition to its sheer size and speed of growth, the intersection between technological, process and creative innovation makes the industry a fascinating case study for anyone interested in the future of business in a digital world. I can think of no better guide to this world than Joost Van Dreunen. I hope you enjoy our conversation!

Episode 9 Moderna, COVID-19 and the Promise of mRNA

25 February 2021

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Episode 9 Moderna, COVID-19 and the Promise of mRNA

25 February 2021

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My guest for this episode is Marcello Damiani (TRIUM Class of 2015). Marcello is the Chief Digital and Operational Excellence Officer at Moderna. In this episode we discuss what it was like to be part of the historic success of developing and delivering a vaccine, in the face of a global pandemic, in record time at an efficacy rate that we hardly dared dreamed possible. We discuss what Moderna’s story tells us about the modern bio-tech industry and how its success might be repeated. 

We discuss how the success of the ‘mRNA platform’ approach to the COVID-19 vaccine may be just the beginning of what the technology promises. Marcello offers an insider’s view to one of the most exciting science stories of all time. Because there has been plenty to be depressed about in recent times, it is great to highlight a reason to be optimistic about the future. Enjoy the conversation!

Episode 8 Want to value a firm? Better know and value its story

15 January 2021

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Episode 8 Want to value a firm? Better know and value its story

15 January 2021

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My guest for this episode is Aswath Damodaran. Aswath is a Professor of Finance at the Stern School of Business at New York University (Kerschner Family Chair in Finance Education). 

Calling Aswath a Professor is a bit like calling the Sistine Chapel a church. He is a star in his field and one of the most influential business professors in the world. He has taught on the TRIUM program from its start and is consistently rated as one of its top professors. 

In this episode we discuss his most recent book, Narrative and Numbers: The Value of Stories in Business.  Aswath argues that, “Stories without numbers are just fairy tales and numbers without stories to back them up are exercises in financial modelling.” To value a business accurately, Aswath argues, you must understand and value a business’s narrative and tie that story to the relevant underlying value drivers. Do this, and you can start to judge whether firm’s value and equity price are realistic or just fairy tales. 

Episode 7 What role for justice in the creation and implementation of international climate agreements

11 December 2020

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Episode 7 What role for justice in the creation and implementation of international climate agreements

11 December 2020

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My guest for this episode is Robert Falkner. Robert is a TRIUM Academic Director, an Associate Professor of International Relations and the Director of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics. Before his time at the LSE, Robert held academic positions at the Universities of Oxford, Kent and Essex, as well as a visiting scholar position at Harvard. 

In this episode we discuss how moral reasoning and more narrowly defined state self-interest have both impacted the design and implementation of international agreements on climate. We also speculate on what a re-engaged USA, and a newly engaged China may mean for the future of such agreements. Using the same normative/self-interest framework, we explore the likely future role of private enterprise in implementing and driving sustainability. We eventually agree that normative and self-interested rationales will likely have to be – and hopeful will be – aligned for consequential change to occur. Whether this occurs in time to avoid disaster, is the critical question.

Episode 6 Wealth is changing politics, but not how you think

2 November 2020

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Episode 6 Wealth is changing politics, but not how you think

2 November 2020

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My guest for this episode is Andrew Walter. Andrew and I were the first TRIUM co-Academic Directors for the London School of Economics and he has taught political economy for TRIUM every year since its start. He is super smart, very wise and a great friend of TRIUM and myself. 

He is currently Professor of International Relations in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Melbourne. He was formally a Reader in International Relations at the LSE and a Fellow and University lecturer at Oxford University. Prior to joining academia, he worked for JP Morgan’s investment banking division. 

In this episode we discuss his award winning newest book (co-authored with Jefferey Chwieroth) entitled, The Wealth Effect. The book documents the massive rise in both the wealth of the middle classes, how that wealth has become highly leveraged and explores the political implications of this new cleavage in society – those with wealth and those without. Specifically we discuss what happens in democracies when the middle class has highly leveraged housing assets and pensions tied to stock market performance, while at the same time there is greater and greater demand to privately fund health care, education and elder care? A quick spoiler – the consequences are not pretty. 

Episode 5 Leadership in a disrupted world

1 October 2020

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Episode 5 Leadership in a disrupted world

1 October 2020

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My guest for this episode is Randy White. Randy is the co-Chair of the leadership stream for the EMBA at HEC (Qatar) and a long-time professor of leadership for TRIUM. He is an international thought leader in leadership training and executive coaching with more than 30 years’ experience from all over the world. His is also a member of the Board of the American Psychological Association. 

A new edition of his (co-written with Philip Hodgson) excellent book, Relax its Only Uncertainty will be released later this month. In this episode, Randy and I discuss the leadership challenges in a world where the nature of the uncertainty we face is changing. How does a leader effectively and confidently lead other people when s/he cannot be sure what is the best path forward? Randy’s wisdom and decency shine through in our talk – enjoy!

Episode 4 The rise and fall of competitive markets: the US in trouble

27 August 2020

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Episode 4 The rise and fall of competitive markets: the US in trouble

27 August 2020

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My guest for this episode is Thomas Phillippon, the Max L. Heine Professor of Finance at New York University, Stern School of Business. In this podcast we discuss his influential and provocative new book, The Great Reversal: How America Gave Up on Free Markets. In the book, Thomas shows how over the last 20 years, US markets have become less competitive. This has led to poorer service quality, higher consumer prices, lower investment, and higher inequality. At the same time, the reverse has been happening within the EU. How and why this has happened are the subjects of our conversation. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

Episode 3 Embedded sustainability as competitive advantage

6 August 2020

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Episode 3 Embedded sustainability as competitive advantage

6 August 2020

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My guest for this episode is Tensie Whelan, Clinical Professor for Business and Society and the Director of NYU Stern’s Center for Sustainable Business. We start with an examination of the importance of monetizing the benefits of sustainability efforts to successfully embed the practices into the heart of the firms’ strategy and measure of economic performance. We then have a lively discussion on the promises and perils of relying on consumer demand to encourage firms to act in responsible ways. We wrap up with a discussion of the role of the state versus the firm in setting the rules of competitive markets. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Episode 2 Keynes, Cox and the current crisis

9 July 2020

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Episode 2 Keynes, Cox and the current crisis

9 July 2020

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My guest for this episode is Michael Cox, Emeritus Professor of International Relations at the LSE. We start with a discussion of John Maynard Keynes’ book entitled “The Economic Consequences of the Peace” (1919) which has a surprising resonance with current events.

We also get Mick’s take on today’s political and governance crisis in the US, what he sees as the future of globalisation and whether the current conflict between the US and China is likely to get better or worse. I hope you enjoy the conversation!

Episode 1 Making smart (and not so smart) decisions

17 June 2020

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Episode 1 Making smart (and not so smart) decisions

17 June 2020

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My first guest is Olivier Sibony. Olivier is one of the world’s top scholars in the field of behavioural strategy and strategic decision making. What better topics for a time where we are all making choices while trying to work our way through radical uncertainty. I hope you enjoy the conversation!