LIBA is envisioning how AI, Deep Learning & ML is applied to MBA education: Dr C Joe Arun, SJ, Director, LIBA Chennai

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Updated on February 18, 2021
LIBA Chennai is rapidly adapting to the post COVID world. Led by Dr C Joe Arun, SJ, Director, it has embraced technology, while keeping its ethos intact. In an Interview, Dr Arun told MBAUniverse.com about various initiatives undertaken at LIBA such as Centre for Technology and Innovation (CTI) which was conceived to bring about a digital transformation and to leap-frog into the new normal environment of the post-COVID era.
LIBA is envisioning how AI

Like IIMs, Jesuit Business Schools like XLRI have their identity and legacy. These are one of the oldest B-schools (XLRI was set up in 1949, much before IIMA & IIMC) and yet have remained contemporary by embracing change. One such B-school is LIBA Chennai, set up in 1979, which is rapidly adapting to the post COVID world. Led by Dr C Joe Arun, SJ, Director, LIBA Chennai has embraced technology, while keeping its ethos intact.

In a candid Interview, Dr Arun, told MBAUniverse.com about various initiatives undertaken such as Centre for Technology and Innovation (CTI) which was conceived to bring about a digital transformation in LIBA and to leap-frog into the new normal environment of the post-COVID era.

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Dr Arun is a respected institution builder with a D. Phil (PhD) in Anthropology from Oxford University, United Kingdom. He has led many institutions including Goa Institute of Management, and has taught at many IITs and IIMs. A lifelong learner, he has recently completed advance course from University of Pennsylvania and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Edited excepts from the interview follow:

Q: You took over the leadership role at LIBA in May 2019. What are key initiatives undertaken in last 20 months or so.
A:
At LIBA, there has been a paradigmatic shift from knowledge transfer to knowledge creation. It is not the knowledge you want to transfer from professor to student but rather all the students all the faculty work to understand what facts are there and how they can manage.

LIBA is one of the few B-Schools that has adapted quickly and embraced technology smoothly transitioning to the new normal post Covid situation. Innovative Learning-Teaching-Evaluation has been introduced by empowering the faculty to use their creativity within the broad scope of the course syllabi. We imbed technology in our business classrooms through an average of five different technology tools at the same time. LIBA is not teaching, but a learning Institute, where everyone learns and assists in learning.

PGBM in Analytics, Healthcare Management, and Logistics. To accomplish this, the institute will work with TCS (analytics), CMC (healthcare) and Kerry-Indev Logistics (logistics). LIBA and KerryIndev Logistics Pvt. Ltd. have signed a Memorandum of Understanding on collaboration in the area of academics involving teaching, curriculum development, research, internship and placement. These digital and innovative transformations will make management studies very relevant in the post-Covid world.

Q: Can you please share more on how you imbed may different technology tools in your business classrooms?
A:
LIBA now uses Moodle as the platform to implement e-learning which is one of the most used platforms in distance learning system in the world. AIS is used to create, update, and retrieve all records pertaining to courses as well as students enrolled in the various programmes. LIBA’s library management has becomes easier through an automation software Koha an integrated library system which provides simple and clear interface for our students and faculty and also online comprehensive databases like EBSCO to integrate digital resources into Moodle offering our students a seamless learning experience.

A state-of-the-art IT infrastructure provides the students with all the necessary tools/ services that support and help leverage their learning and enhances their productivity. Smart classrooms, online computer labs with sufficient number of systems loaded with the latest versions of all software packages needed for the programme. LIBA incorporated the inevitable need of both financial and commodity market into the classroom lecture to instill the objectives of participatory teaching by setting up the Finance Lab and the results of all these implementations have been promising.

Q. How did LIBA adapt to COVID 19 related disruptions? What steps were taken to ensure that learning doesn’t stop…
A: So, first thing we have done in LIBA is to adapt quickly to online Teaching-Learning-Assessment process. This adaptation has helped us a lot in mitigating the challenges that we faced due to lockdown. We have built our LMS. – Learning Management System and also we have bought effective tools to create online content and also facilitate online assessment. Quickly we have also trained the Faculty to become familiar and conversant with the new tools and management systems. We have helped them to understand the necessity of becoming familiar with this technology. Also keeping in mind the students in interior locations where they may not have proper network connections. Therefore, what we are going to do is use LMS of Webex and Samsung flip board to enable same lecture that is being given in the classroom to be followed in various locations by students. We are going to increase Micro teaching and micro learning adapting to the new situation that we face. What stands out in the post-Covid world is how one is competent enough to manage human resources, financial resources and finance in time of crisis. And how technology could be leveraged to mitigate challenges such as Covid. A Centre for Technology and Innovation (CTI) was conceived to bring about a digital transformation in LIBA and to leap-frog into the new normal environment of the post-COVID era to become a beacon of knowledge in educational technology and offer assistance to other institutions. In its proactive efforts towards Online Teaching Learning, LIBA has opened a Learning Studio that functions as a technological center in which online content of learning would be created by faculty and industry experts.

Q: Has LIBA opened its campus for 1st Year and 2nd Year students?
A:
Yes, LIBA has opened its campus for all students since December 2020.

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Q: As a Jesuit Business school, what are the ethos and core values of LIBA. How are they different from others?
A:
Forming men and women for corporate world is not in the domain of vocational skills. Instead, it lies in the sacred realm where building character becomes a holistic, integral and formative exercise that helps a student gain a certain facility and ease to face challenges, take calculated risks, and mitigate the risks by which he or she has a deep sense of fulfilment in life.

This formation, we believe, is not achieved by acquiring prescriptive knowledge but it is intensively by discerning propositional knowledge that connects organically with the real world of business.

As LIBA focuses on pursuing excellence with ethics, we view this formation as a deliberate approach to excellence, which means unusual goodness surpassing the ordinary to reach the heights of pristine standard of learning. That standard provides an unique and valued position in which a student feels (pathos) thinks (logos) and acts (ethos) in his or her circumstances based on values of goodness, truth and beauty. For excellence is not a skill but an attitude.

In fact, this attitude and behaviour make a way of life of everyone who lives, works, and learns in LIBA. This is what makes LIBA stand above the rest. Most B-Schools excel, but LIBA Excels with Ethics.

Q. What is your vision for LIBA? Where do you see it in next 3-5 years…
A:
Over many years, LIBA has developed its own culture. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff are proud of the "LIBA Culture" that can be characterized by fraternity among the faculty, collaborative approach among the students, learning centred-approach in the ecosystem, and envisioning a future for every student among the administrators. We want to form leaders who would excel with ethics.

Our vision involves how the new trends of Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning and Machine Learning are applied to management to make a B-School stand above the rest. The mission statements of the top business schools claim to transform students into tomorrow’s good leaders. We don’t just teach our students, but we form our students to become excellent in the field of their choice and excel with ethics.

Q: Pandemic has made movement towards Digital Economy much faster. What are the long-term impacts of pandemic on management education?
A:
The B-Schools that adapt quickly and embrace technology will succeed. The adaptation and effective views of technology will open a new world of education. More than that there must be a paradigmatic  shift  from knowledge transfer to knowledge creation. It is not the knowledge you want to transfer from professor to student but rather all the students all the faculty work to understand what facts are there and how they can manage.

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Q: What are the key initiatives being planned at LIBA for students in coming months?
A:
We believe every individual has got his own agency to chart the course of his life. What we do is provide the ecosystem of learning and supervise. So, the learning must focus on strengths of individuals, what he/she Is capable of so that knowledge or learning must be assessed, outcomes should be assessed based on his/her strength. The outcome is the learning to become competent Individuals so they are able to solve problems and also innovative in solving problems. They become able, capable and employable Individuals.

Competence Mapping in which we will understand core competencies of individuals and classify industries based on the strength of the students is one of the main actions we have taken to improve placements of students. Our Placement process is also improved through Corporate connections established in LIBA which is facilitated by:

  • Academic advisory committee for each specialization 
  • LIBA centres of excellence
  • Research collaborations
  • Faculty corporate relationships
  • Alumni relations
  • Executive and Part-time program participants

Continuous connection with industry through summer internship projects, live project, industry alumni mentorship and pre placement talks has improved the employability of our students.

Q: Finally, what is your message to MBA aspirants? What can they expect at LIBA…
A:
LIBA’s students are characterized by their values and commitment in all aspects of business and personal life. Every year, we welcome students from more than 15 states across the country, each bringing their own experience and opinions, enabling stimulating debates in our classrooms. Your background, principles, ability, experience or training sets you apart and will be uniquely valuable to your cohort and the Institution in general.

One of the hallmarks of Jesuit education is ‘Cura Personalis’ (care of the entire person) are high points of our culture. Our Faculty and Staff support you during your time at LIBA and beyond. We recognise you are an individual with your own aspirations and goals. Our team works with you to build your personal and professional development to prepare you for the global job market. We want to form leaders who would excel with ethics.

Stay tuned to MBAUniverse.com for more updates on Loyola Institute of Business Administration (LIBA) Chennai