EE053 – Alexander Lowry

Tony Winyard – Health, Breathing, Sleeping, Mindset & Movement Coach

Alexander Lowry is helping to revolutionise the MBA industry resulting in students spending less time and money and receiving great experiences during the process and are helped to find a job suitable for them afterwards.

Elevating the board conversation — there have been so many press stories recently of companies failing, because the Boards failed to do their jobs, eg Uber, CBS, etc.  Plus there’s an incredible need for more diversity of thought, eg gender, nationality, economic background, etc.  It seemed the corporate world was desperate for guidance.  So Alexander stepped up to fill a void — there weren’t podcasts dedicated to that in the board space, now there is since he launched his podcast: Boardroom Bound
  • He launched Gordon’s MSFA program to solve all the problems and downsides of the MBA but retain all the upside.
  • Students aren’t considered to be a cog in a machine; they get incredible one-on-one access to Alexander and personal help in the job search.
  • We hear how the students surprise and delight leads to incredible word-of-mouth advertising
  • We hear about Alexander’s management consulting days
  • His unofficial motto was under-promise and over-deliver. He has always wanted to surprise and delight his clients

You can download a PDF created especially for the listeners of Exceeding Expectations called “How to become an exceptional Board Director Candidate” using this link


Boardroom Bound Podcast — Episode 17: How to Build a Brand
Gordon College Master of Science in Financial Analysis program:

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(All transcriptions are done using through a system of artificial intelligence and so on EVERY episode there are quite a few mistakes as AI is far from perfect when it comes to transcribing the human voice. However, it is a very time-consuming process to go through each transcript and correct all the errors. For quite a while I had the transcribed docs sitting on my hard drive in the belief that one day I would eventually get around to correcting all the errors and could then upload each transcript to the show notes for each episode. The reality is that isn’t gonna happen for quite a while as I simply do not have sufficient time to be able to do that. So please accept my apologies for the number of errors but I hope that these transcripts are in some way useful to you.)

Episode 53 – Alexander Lowry – 24-09-2019.mp3

Episode 53 – Alexander Lowry – 24-09-2019.mp3

Tony Winyard [00:24:35] What are your general thoughts on exceeding expectations?

Alexander Lowry [00:24:39] So I have this view and again I’m an uber Type A personality. Like we’ve talked about before. Okay so I’m probably not the norm. From my perspective is not that I want to be the best and everybody say I’m the best, but I have a standard for myself and I want to constantly exceed those. So I think I was diagnosed by a therapist one that they called “unrelentingly high standards”. So as soon as I hit the goal post I’m going to move it again. Right. But I’m constantly trying to be great so it doesn’t necessarily mean I’m going to be the CEO. If I started out as a box packer I want to be the world’s best box packer. I want to do it really well and be proud of my work. And I guess I also know if I do really well people I believe will recognize that, I will be promoted to be the world’s best box packer and teach the others how to do the skill set that I’ve figured out. So I feel like I bring honour to myself and organization with it. I bring my best self every day and do a good job and you want to find something obviously that you love because it’s easier to do that. Think about people we all know who really don’t like their job. That’s hard to bring your best self every day.

Tony Winyard [00:25:38] I know you’ve got a quotation that you quite like about exceeding expectations.

Alexander Lowry [00:25:43] Yeah. So Sam Walton was the founder of Wal-Mart and I thought he phrased it very well. He was basically saying “Exceed your customers expectations. If you do they’ll come back over and over. Give them what they want, and a little bit more”. And you think about Wal-Mart right. It’s one of the biggest companies in world Carrefour from France, rivals them but they basically piled it high and sold it cheap so it was great value. People would come back. It was a good business model for them. You can argue how they sort of squeezed some of the suppliers to get the margins but take that aside. Basically they continued to surprise and delight their customers which is why they grew into the Empire basically that they have today. They’re the only private company in the world with their own satellite. Think about how successful that is. It means they’ve got an eye in the sky who can figure out the data that no one else can. For example Wal-Mart knows there’s a couple of things if they run out of you will abandon your cart in the middle of the store. If they run out of Oreos or Tide detergent or a couple of other things you’ll be in the middle you’re shopping you will leave the cart and you will go elsewhere. They’re that important, nobody else knows that because they’ve got their own satellite.

Tony Winyard [00:26:44] They’ve got their own satellite that is amazing. Obviously Amazon is massive. So how is the battle between those two guys?

Alexander Lowry [00:26:54] Well that is what’s fascinating right. So you can argue one of two ways. So the brick and mortar versus the online clearly Wal-Mart is racing to catch the online. That’s why they’ve been scooping up some other companies and buying Jet and other businesses to try and catch up. But you’re also seeing Amazon trying to catch up to Wal-Mart. They’re building more stores. They’ve bought Whole Foods to have a footprint right away and they’re changing some of those stores. When I lived in UK the first Whole Foods came in in the Barker’s building opposite High Street Kensington tube stop near where I lived. So you could see them they bought out what was called Fresh and wild and they started slowly putting it in but Amazon realized this is a way for us to quickly get a footprint. Now I would argue it will be hard for Wal-Mart to catch Amazon because of their amazing online presence. But Wal-Marts really good at being cheap really good at finding value and there’s not a lot of barriers to entry to getting online and they already have a lot of customers. I would argue it’s going to be much harder for Amazon to build the physical presence that will match Wal-Mart. You’ve got to find the locations you’ve got to build the facilities you got to hire the people that is going to be a lot harder to catch. Wal-Mart’s not going away. People still come to their stores and will they be able to get some online stuff and learn and develop I think so you don’t have to be first if you can find ways to do it better.

Tony Winyard [00:28:10] It’s interesting because over here we don’t really have any one of the size of Wal-Mart to compete with Amazon. So Amazon really just kind of cleaning up in the UK.

Alexander Lowry [00:28:19] Well I think about a Tesco or some of those big organizations right the access to data they have if they can mine it really well they do have some barriers to entry that Amazon’s got a catch up.

Alexander Lowry [00:28:29] Now Amazon can be really good at shipping and logistics and there are some people that would say I wish I could do everything online and people are moving that way, other people don’t trust it or believe in it maybe they don’t have the same access to the Internet or whatever it might be so some people will still always go down to the local Tesco which gives them opportunities.

Tony Winyard [00:28:47] Taking this back to the whole kind of MBA discussion that we were having before I presume there must be sort of MBAs kind of directed or focussed on this sort of area on the new ways that retail is going to go over the next 5, 10, 20 years?

Alexander Lowry [00:29:02] Well so you can think about it a couple different ways. So you can think of you’re an MBA and you’re studying strategy or some of the other nuances of the space because all of these companies are looking to hire smart people. They need an army of intelligent people to figure this out and build the systems to make sure it works and to lead the team and motivate the people. There are probably some other schools that have individual electives around this sort of space that are trying to stand out on it. And I would equate it more towards a Start-Up environment. So venture capital, private equity, people starting their own businesses. That’s the space for a lot of people learning this same sort of ideas because frankly Amazon we all think we’ll take over the world. I would argue there’s going to be some companies that don’t exist yet that are going to rival them in different spaces because smart people come up with a better product to make it happen. And all the time we’re seeing all these unicorns are going public now or about to go public. That came out of nothing because it was a great idea and grew to be these behemoths. More will come.

Tony Winyard [00:29:57] And how do you think that education will change in the next five or ten years?

Alexander Lowry [00:30:05] We are seeing more like I talked about before people wanting when they want it, when they want it, how they want it, where they want it. So think about online education. So that is without a doubt some schools have moved into it very quickly and have done well. But I would also argue there are certain things you will still want to be face to face with. So, for example, we talked about internships for our programs and having access to Boston for our students to get those jobs as long as the world of work still requires people face to face. There are some industries that are staying to that and others that are moving away quicker. That will change the dynamic of education so as you see more companies saying you know what I’m happy with what workers because the cost to hire them is lower because I’m not paying for workspace as you see more of that change. I would think you will correspondingly see more online education go up as well because employers will then start to think well maybe I don’t need to buy the brand name school if I can prove you have the right skill set. That’s probably good enough for me. But there’s still a cachet for certain school names like Harvard or Wharton whether it’s grad school or undergrad and how that works and ties into people’s jobs. This will change dramatically over the next five years.

Tony Winyard [00:31:10] Well Alexander It’s been fascinating chatting with you, if people want to find out more about your work. Where would they go to?

Alexander Lowry [00:31:17] So you know I would actually suggest my podcasts would be the right way to go because I’m thinking anyone who’s listening to your podcast, likes podcasts, they probably listen to multi other podcasts. So I would think the Boardroom Bound podcast would be a great place for them to go and I would specifically point them to Episode 17 which is about building a brand. I think that would be a perfect one for your audience who would resonate a lot with some of the other people you’ve had on the show. And I will send you a link Tony so you can put that in the show notes.

Tony Winyard [00:31:43] That’s fantastic. And just let us know your personal links as well.

Alexander Lowry [00:31:48] So for LinkedIn it’s Alexander Lowry one word, Instagram it’s Alexander.S.Lowry and my Twitter is AlexanderSLowry one word and I’ll send you all those so you’ll have the links for the show.

Tony Winyard [00:32:01] Yeah all of those will be in the show notes. It’s been a pleasure speaking with you Alexander. I wish you well for the future.

Alexander Lowry [00:32:09] Tony, it was great fun.

Tony Winyard [00:32:14] Next week is episode 54 with Kevin Wilhelm and he’s from a company called SBC- Sustainable Business Consulting and they integrate sustainability and innovation. They work with some of the largest companies in the world. Companies such as Whole Foods and Nordstrom and many huge organizations around the world. So that’s next week, episode 54 with Kevin Wilhelm. Please do join the exceeding expectations Facebook Group, why not leave a review for us on iTunes or one of the other podcast platforms. Hope you have a fantastic week. See you next Tuesday.

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