Please tell us something about LIBA’s plans for producing exemplary students as leaders of tomorrow in their chosen field.
The institute focuses on this two-year full-time programme in management and certificate diploma courses in all areas of management. We also have two months in which they connect with the industry, through our Management Development Centre (MDC), which upskills and upgrades the competencies of each of their profiles for the corporate world. Our other entity, called the C. K. Prahalad Centre (CKPC) for Emerging India, connects primarily with the rural people and engages in skilling youth, nurturing entrepreneurs in the rural sector and empowering women and transgenders with business skills to start small businesses.
What is the USP of your institute and the courses it offers?
Fundamentally we want our students to be able, capable and employable. We work on the fundamental principles and philosophy of excellence with ethics. We have defined excellence very differently because excellence without ethics is not excellence for us. The focus on character is a basic fundamental for us. We want our students to go into the corporate world as a person who shows excellence not only in generating profits but someone who generates profits ethically. This gives us a place above the rest in many ways.
LIBA has proactively collaborated with service providers such as Upgrad and Lead Sense to help us offer online programmes and facilitate online learning–teaching–evaluation. We have built our LMS – Learning Management System. In its proactive efforts towards Online Teaching – Learning, LIBA has opened a Learning Studio that functions as a technological centre where online content of learning would be created by faculty and industry experts.
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Tell us how you handled the interface with students in this highly disruptive time.
We developed an organic connection with them. We established a well-being desk. We employed more than two counsellors and made our faculty mentors and our students ‘guardian angels’. So the second year students took care of the first year students. This was very important for us because we all stayed together in a time of crisis and remained connected. That connection made a profound difference. The students also adjusted to all kinds of challenges and lack of facilities.
Have you started any e-courses?
LIBA has proactively collaborated with service providers such as Upgrad and Lead Sense to help us offer online programmes and facilitate online learning–teaching–evaluation. We have built our own strong LMS – Learning Management System. In its proactive efforts towards Online Teaching-Learning, LIBA has opened a Learning Studio that functions as a technological centre where online content of learning would be created by faculty and industry experts. We also up-skilled our faculty and enabled them to adapt to the ethos of virtual learning.
Have you tweaked the curriculum to keep in step with the new normal in business and management operations for industry and businesses?
There has been a systematic change and paradigmatic shift to which the students and the faculty have adapted. We have developed our ‘New Normal Curriculum 2021’. It is geared for what we call ‘flexibility learning’, based on the students’ competencies. We have a cafeteria model by which the student can move from the offline mode to online mode if he/she is going through a crisis at home. Provided the student has a network connection, the student can follow the course from home, even while taking care of the family who may be going through a difficult time because of the pandemic. Flexible learning means looking after an individual’s needs and competencies based on an individual’s environment.
There has been a massive move to downsize by companies; what is the message to your students to combat these situations?
We want them to build their confidence. That is the beginning of their success. We want them to look at what we call the gap analysis – that means what you are and what you aspire to be. We ask them to analyse and address this gap so that if what you have learnt so far will not be enough to help you. That means you must upgrade and upscale and change your way of thinking about your job. So far, this upskilling has been very important,based on building up confidence — personally, emotionally; the second stage is to upskill and upgrade yourself. Because earlier, simply by going with your skills was sufficient — but now, if you don’t have computer skills, virtual skills, or virtual learning skills or operations, it’s not going to work. You have to reskill, upskill — even in a sense unlearn and relearn if need be.
How practical is it to provide internships to students in the present scenario?
Given the present circumstances, all our internships have been online. This summer students quickly realized that whether they were marketing students or finance students or operations — fintech, edutech logistics and supply chain management are the areas to get into. From pipeline operations to platform skills, today, they have to work in their areas of learning. For internship, because it’s online and not physical now,they can meet all the people in the company on one screen in one day; earlier, it used to be challenging to get an appointment with even one person in a week. How does your plan for placements pan out in these times? Cognoscente had released a report, ’The Future Places of Work’, and based on that report, we created our strategy, which in a sense opens up new vistas. We are also getting virtual jobs. You can sit here and work for anybody, anywhere. What you can do sitting in the IT Park of the company you can do right here. We are working on a virtual space for our students to be placed.
We have moved into Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning, Deep Learning. We feel that the fundamental intellectual thrust should be AI. So these are AI-enabled courses and AI-enabled systems that we have created. In that way, students can understand and keep in step with today’s digital world on digital platforms.
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What are the kind of skills training courses in place at your institute?
Students must be familiar with the changes taking place around us; without that awareness and knowledge, they will not be able to skill themselves because skills have to be based on the needs and have to be application-oriented. That’s why our new curriculum is oriented towards collaborative learning and collaborative teaching. We say you have to be connected with the industry in the subject you are learning. We have also asked our faculty to be connected with the industry and do an internship once in a year. Therefore, with skilling in computers and application— whether in finance or marketing— they have to have become familiar with online portals, digital marketing, and digital analytics. So we have moved into Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Deep Learning. We feel that the fundamental intellectual thrust should be AI. So these are AI-enabled courses and AI-enabled systems that we have created. In that way, students can understand and keep in step with today’s digital world on digital platforms.
What about the impact on faculty?
Students adapted quickly. Making the faculty unlearn traditional methods of teaching is still a big challenge. It is a work in progress. In our institute, the faculty is familiar with the new teaching systems and are adapting to them quickly. They are able to see that their role as a teacher and facilitator is undergoing a change with the changing times. And they are adapting very well.