Stephanie Cohen – The Evolution of M&A and Corporate Strategy – [Invest Like the Best, EP.131]

My guest this week is Stephanie Cohen, who is the chief strategy officer for Goldman Sachs and a member of their management committee. Prior to her current role, she spent the majority of her career in the investment banking and M&A divisions at Goldman. 

We discuss lessons learned from her career in M&A and the many initiatives she now leads at the firm. I really enjoyed her perspective on how a big, established firm like Goldman can balance innovation with improving existing businesses. Please enjoy our conversation.

For more episodes go to InvestorFieldGuide.com/podcast.

Sign up for the book club, where you’ll get a full investor curriculum and then 3-4 suggestions every month at InvestorFieldGuide.com/bookclub.

Follow Patrick on Twitter at @patrick_oshag

Show Notes

1:15 – (First Question) –  Motives on both sides for doing M&A

3:26 – Most difficult deal she worked on

4:50 – Biggest value add she brought from her seat on the Fiat deal

5:59 – Biggest changes since she started to today

8:31 – Smartest ways for companies who want to be acquired to be prepared

10:14 – Best M&A banker she’s seen

11:13 – What should businesses looking to make an acquisition be thinking about

15:16 – What does a strategy from her perspective mean

17:16 – Tension between innovation and change

19:46 – Difference between bottom-up and top-down components of strategy

22:15 – Exploration vs exploitation

26:28 – Submission process within accelerate

29:37 – Next step after you see a good idea

31:05 – Her take on FinTech and Industrials and their collision

35:15 – Lessons from elite early stage investors

37:21 – The origins of the LAUNCH program

40:06 – Important pieces beyond just the capital

42:42 – How they market to women starting business

44:56 – Lessons that she has learned about narrative and communications

47:07 – How she handles developing talent internally

49:28 – Managing her time

59:28 – Biggest concerns about OKR’s?

52:09 – Kindest thing anyone has done for Stephanie

53:07 – Kids in the area of competing