In Conversation with Sir Eric Peacock

On Thursday 12th October, GCU London welcomed Sir Eric Peacock onto campus.Tim Jackson (MBA Luxury Brand Management and MSc Luxury Brand Marketing Programme Leader and Journalist) hosted an evening of discussion on ‘Small & Medium Enterprises focused on International Trade’ with the renowned entrepreneur. The event proved extremely popular with our students with further seating required to accommodate the additional turnout!

Sir Eric Peacock was knighted in 2003 for his services to international trade. He is currently a non-executive director of the management board of UK Export Finance. Having worked in New Zealand, Australia, USA, Hong Kong, UK and Ireland and leading companies since 1970; Sir Eric’s experience is wide-spread and eye-opening. His involvement with international trade ranges from consumer goods and industry supply chain, to management development and success in growing and selling businesses. Amongst the companies he chairs are Baydonhill FX, Stage Technologies Ltd and Cimex. On top of this, Sir Eric is President of Institute of Sales and Marketing Management and also leads Peacock Foundation and Uniqueness; two charities that focus on disadvantaged children and young adults.

During the discussion, Sir Eric Peacock talked about his impressive history with Small and Medium Enterprises (SME); covering the ups and downs of his career and the challenges of SME. Sir Eric also provided insightful tips on what to do, and what not to do to become a successful entrepreneur. In addition to taking ‘controlled risks’, he advised that an entrepreneur should have ‘passion, attitude, focus and persistence’ as well as the ability to be ‘resilient to ups and downs’. Advice through interesting job interview stories, and finding individual strengths were also emphasized and appreciated by all.

Towards the end of the evening, Sir Eric highlighted the most impactful advice he, himself received from the late Steve Jobs, former CEO of Apple Inc., two months before he passed away. Steve advised Sir Eric to ‘know your abilities, and don’t be too proud to collaborate with your competitors.’

During the discussion, Sir Eric stressed the importance of having a mentor, and one lucky student, Katherine Lauria (MBA luxury Brand Management) was given the chance to become his mentee! Here is what she had to say about the experience:

“I found the event to be engaging, informative, and fun. Sir Eric Peacock’s personal journey and industry knowledge are inspiring, and I took away some helpful advice and perspective from the talk. Sir Eric encouraged us all to create professional development plans and establish a mentor- I am so excited to be offered a mentorship by Sir Eric Peacock himself! I hope to gain all the advice and insight I can over the next three months and use that as a springboard for my career.”

The evening was wrapped up by a Q&A where students had the opportunity to ask the entrepreneur some thought-provoking questions.

When asked about the event, Tim Jackson commented:

“Eric Peacock’s many years of experience in industry yielded a rich set of insights and practical knowledge on how to succeed in business. Using many international examples he talked about the experience and challenges of running SME, his view of management and leadership and how to mitigate against risk in the financing of commercial enterprises. In addition there were many great personal insights on mentoring (including individuals who have influenced him from Nelson Mandela to Steve Jobs) delivered with great warmth, humour and generosity of spirit.”

Click here to watch the full conversation with Sir Eric Peacock.

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