The UWI- Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, in collaboration with the Joint European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative, recently developed a Catalogue of Services for the Economic Empowerment of Women. The Catalogue of Services is an output of the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year partnership between the European Union and the United Nations, to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030. Trinidad and Tobago has been selected as one of six Caribbean countries to receive funding from the Initiative.
With effect from 1st September 2020, Mr. Mariano Browne has been appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.
In this role, Mr. Browne will be accountable for the overall management of the School, ensuring its self-sufficiency and self-sustainability. He will lead the institution into the next phase of its development.
Mr. Browne holds a B.Sc. Degree in Economics from the University of the West Indies, an MBA in Finance from the University of Wales/Manchester Business School, and is a Fellow of the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants.. He has had a long and distinguished career in the local and regional banking sectors, and has experience in successful corporate turnarounds, and currently sits on a number of local private sector Boards. He has also served Trinidad and Tobago as a Minister of Trade and Industry and a Minister in the Ministry of Finance in the Government of Trinidad and Tobago from 2007 to 2010. Mr. Browne has been a member of the School’s adjunct faculty since 2014.
The management and staff welcomes Mr. Mariano Browne to the Lok Jack GSB family and look forward to his leadership to transform the institution.
In an address to staff this morning (Monday July 6, 2020), Chair of the Board of Directors of the UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (Lok Jack GSB), Prof. Brian Copeland, announced that the Board approved (on Tuesday 30 June, 2020) a new Strategic Plan and Structure for the Lok Jack GSB
UWI-ALJGSB’s New Postgraduate
The UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (Lok Jack GSB) has embarked on a new strategic plan in response to the changes in the tertiary education sector and the wider economy.
In this new Plan, the School’s Postgraduate Academic Portfolio has been consolidated and modified with one (1) MBA programme, three (3) Specialist Masters – Marketing, Finance and Human Resources, and the Masters in Small and Medium Sized Enterprise Management (MSMEM). These are all Part-Time, Blended, programmes with students being able to complete the MBA and the 3 Specialist Masters over a 12-month period whereas the MSMEM will be over 20-months.
Classes for the MSMEM will commence in May 2021 and classes for the other 4 programmes in September 2021. This portfolio of programmes provide a regionally unmatched depth of learning experiences and opportunities for future students to improve their knowledge and skills in management and business, develop their capacity of judgement and also help them become leaders who can continuously face the only certainty in the business environment, change. Our aim is to make sure our students have not only the highest quality of education but also have an amazing and enriching time at the Lok Jack GSB which is prolonged by the quality of our Alumni network. Details on each of these programmes will soon be available on the School’s website.
To facilitate the implementation of this new Plan, we will not be offering any Graduate/Masters programmes in September 2020 and January 2021. However, we continue to offer our Bachelor’s in international and Sustainable Business (BISB) with classes starting in September 2020.
All current students enrolled in respective programmes will be able to complete as scheduled and the preparations for next trimester (September -December 2020) and the new academic year remain unchanged.
This new academic portfolio of programmes is in direct response to market needs, designed to continue our work in the delivery of relevant impactful higher education for the wider Caribbean society.
Our portfolio of Executive Education programmes and work with the corporate sector continue to play a major part in the new strategic plan.
We thank our students, faculty, alumni and other stakeholders for their unwavering support.
UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business
By Fayola Nicholas, Director of Development Consulting, Advancement & Alumni Relations & Marketing Lecturer at UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business; DBA Candidate at Grenoble Ecole de Management
Main Article Points
- Focus on employee’s wellbeing with guidelines to keep them safe
- Stay close to consumers. Tune in to the ‘weak’ signals for early identification of shifts in demand
- Build Capabilities and Leverage technology
Businesses and economies around the world have been affected by COVID 19. While governments still try to determine how to handle the health concerns and keep their citizens safe, there is far reaching economic impact with the world entering a global recession. Private Sector has been impacted, and in the Caribbean we have not been immune. The CEO of one Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturers Association’s member organisation, an FMCG that operates in the Caribbean region, met virtually with the Project Team of Trinidad and Tobago Civil Society Organisations for Business. The discussion centered on what has been the impact on their operation, how they continue to manage this exogenous shock and what advice would they give to other firms operating in the Caribbean environment.
The organisation’s priority has been the wellbeing of their employees. Despite not having a formal work from home policy, the company’s policies allowed employees to balance their family responsibilities prior to Covid 19. This has been part of the organisations move towards building an agile company. Their agility was built in with the flexibility to choose the physical location of work, whether it is one of the work spaces in the company or at home. The policy also allowed employees to manage personal tasks during the workday and provided them with access to continue work at a later time, with the understanding that company objectives would still be met. This corporate focus on agility and the practice of working from home, meant that the movement to work from home as a result of Covid 19, was not a massive shift for the employees.
Initial employee concerns, at the announcement of the closure of business, were centered on how long the disruption would be. The company’s focus was on the best way to support their employees and provide a safe working environment for them. The CEO understood that “Everyone is in the same storm, but not everyone has the same boat.” Therefore, people would have varying circumstances at home, which would impact their ability to work comfortably and safely. The firm continued its commitment to being flexible and agile, by allowing employees take the ergonomic office chairs from their place of employment, to be used at home, and where required reimbursed staff for additional office equipment like printers and scanners. New guidelines were created for working at home to help ensure work life balance, by making it mandatory for employees take their lunch hour when most convenient to them and scheduling meetings so they do not begin before 9am and must end by 5pm.
The CEO acknowledged that these practices should vary by company and industry. He continued to add that, “Working from home is based on trust, and the organizational policy at a group level measures output and performance for productivity, rather than the number of hours worked. Having the correct performance management system helps determine if the team is able to deliver the objectives, which goes back to the recruitment process and hiring people based on values.”
As a provider of Fast Moving Consumer Goods, the firm was greatly impacted by changes in consumer behaviour and had limited time to respond. There were sharp increases in products related to health and hygiene, given the increased focus on handwashing and regular sanitation. The restrictions on movement and closure of out of home food retailers, meant that most people spent more time cooking and eating at home. The increase in traffic to supermarket channels allowed them to observe some minor and major changes in consumer and shopper behaviors. While there was an increase in bulk purchases, shoppers preferred to purchase all items in one location, rather than visiting many retail locations to fulfill their shopping needs. This may have been as a response to the increased hassle of needing to line up and sanitise to enter each new shopping location. Alternatively, it could have been seen as the shoppers preference to reduce their risk of exposure, by visiting less locations to meet their home needs.
One major change was the move towards e-commerce by both the shoppers and the retailers. Established retailers stepped into e-commerce allowing customers to place orders online and collect items curbside at a convenient time. This change allowed new retail players to enter the market. The response from shoppers show that the market is ready for e commerce shopping channels for everyday items. As a major player in FMCG, the organization has been proactive with their observation of online shopping behaviour. They have created a portfolio of product photos suitable for online retailers in addition to their traditional point of purchase marketing material. While businesses have taken steps to return to normal, the organization is looking at those small signals in consumer and shopper behaviour and believe that the first retailer to effectively and efficiently manage orders, payment and delivery could change the retail market space.
Scenario Planning and Business Continuity are now the buzz words of business as firms seek to stabilise their revenues and prepare for unexpected eventualities. As an FMCG Multinational Corporation, this organization has approached scenario planning in a novel way. Rather than having 2-3 scenarios for which they prepare, the organsiation has focused on building internal capabilities to allow them to respond faster to market changes.
The strategy team has finetuned their ability to detect weak signals in shifts in consumer, customer and retailer behaviours, and ensure that they are agile in their ability to make changes in their approach. The firm acknowledges their advantage of having major brands and alternate supply chain sources for the brands that the market knows and loves. “Supply Chain is seen as being as important as Sales and Marketing.”, said the CEO, and the firm has invested in consumer demand and supply chain management systems to assist in monitoring their needs.
While other local firms may not have a wide variety of options for new sources of raw materials, the CEO sees that Trinidad and Tobago is best positioned in the English Speaking Caribbean, to provide for and meet the needs of the Caribbean. Many regional firms are now faced with the problem of having their usual international supply chains interrupted. As a manufacturing hub in the Caribbean, many local manufacturers must meet minimum order quantities (MOQs) for raw materials. Given the relatively small size of the Trinidad and Tobago and Caribbean market, there are large stocks of raw material on hand, which the local manufacturers can now use to meet the needs of our regional neighbours. Given Trinidad’s generally stable exchange rate to USD, the low cost of production and the MOQs, local firms should be ready to increase production and meet the regional surges in demand with ease, and at a price point that is competitive.
As firms re-open, the business community is aware of the dreary economic scenarios, both locally and internationally. The CEO’s words of wisdom to local firms guide them to control expenses and manage their cash flows. “Scale back, reduce and defer discretionary spend. Run your business as you run your household.”
As someone who has faced three recessions in the Caribbean and Latin America throughout his career, he advises that there should be long term and short term trade-offs. “While reducing expenses, firms should look at long term investment in consumer communication, improving the route to market and ensuring that IT can support an agile company.” Seek to improve payment terms and invest in capability building throughout the organisation. It is important to invest in organizational capabilities, in a bid to be more agile. Capability building must include training, but it also includes infrastructural capabilities, particularly IT. Strong IT capabilities can be leveraged to reduce operational costs and provide employees with the tools to do their job, even while working from home.
As the CEO of a leading FMCG in the Caribbean, there is clear priority on what is important for their busines continuity. First, have the employee’s wellbeing at heart, through guidelines that keep them safe whether they work at home or in office. Secondly, return to the basics and conserve cash, this organization is debt-free. It is also important to look at changes in consumer signals, and support retailers as they also adjust to changing consumer and shopper needs. Finally, ensure that company capabilities are agile and ready for market changes by leveraging technology .
Following the actions which were required by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad & Tobago to protect the nation from the heavy impact of COVID-19. The Government sought the input from various sectors and subject matter experts on strategies to restart and rejuvenate the economy of Trinidad & Tobago post the COVID-19 pandemic. The Alumni Board of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business initiated a call to our Alumni to put forward proposals, strategies and ideas which can contribute to the National Recovery Plan to boost the economy. These are the collated and developed solutions provided by the Alumni of the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business.
For the complete Recovery Plan:
Click here to download:
Click here to view/read:
Dated: June 9, 2020
The UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB) wishes to assure past, present and prospective students that the institution is extremely strong financially, with a low debt to asset ratio. The School is however experiencing an operating cash flow challenge resulting from the reduction in revenue due to COVID-19 and more importantly the significant outstanding receivables of $20 Million owed to the School, consisting of GATE receivables of $14 Million and VAT refunds of $6 Million.
Notwithstanding these challenges, and in the interest of stability and progress, the key benefactor and other donors will continue to support the School now and in the future. Restructuring plans for the School, which are now in progress, take into consideration: requirements of the new normal post-COVID-19, reformatting of programmes where necessary, organisational structure and ongoing training to continue delivering extraordinary learning experiences and outcomes. Once approved by the Board, these plans will be implemented before the end of the current academic year (August 2020).
Staff, students and alumni can continue to be assured that there is no reason to be concerned about the current or future operations of the School.
UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business
Written by Mr Ken Hackshaw – Executive Director of the Trinidad and Tobago Risk Management Institute, Lead faculty of the Professional Certificate in Enterprise Risk Management
What concept from this Pandemic can decision-makers, leaders and risk practitioners lean into?
The answer is: Timely and effective surveillance…
The term “timely and effective surveillance” is applied (today) to the identification and tracking for pandemic risk events like a coronavirus (COVID-19). I am respectfully suggesting that we apply this concept for all Emerging risks.
So what is meant by timely and effective surveillance?
“Surveillance systems as it relates to the medical field is applied to generate data that help public health officials understand existing and emerging infectious and non-infectious diseases. Without a proper understanding of the health problem (etiology, distribution, and mechanism of infection), it will be difficult to ameliorate the health issue”….
This is the process that tracks and evaluates the levels of risk in an organization. The findings which are produced by risk monitoring processes can be used to help in all aspects of business operations including strategic planning and process improvements.
The Cassandra effect:
The Cassandra metaphor (variously labeled the Cassandra “syndrome”, “complex”) occurs when one’s valid warnings or concerns are disbelieved by others. The term originates in Greek mythology. Cassandra was a daughter of Priam, the King of Troy. The Cassandra curse occurs when a valid warning is disbelieved, dismissed, or disregarded. Most notably, she is said to have warned the Trojans not to accept the wooden horse that famously led to their downfall.
Modern Cassandras warn us of potential issues that could cause big problems down the road.
Avoiding the Cassandra effect: Surveillance and risk monitoring
We submit that it is much easier to see a hazard when it’s right in front of you than it is to identify a risk. For example, the dangers presented by hanging electrical wires or an oil leak are clear and immediate. It is much harder, however, to identify risks that can eventuate and impact your business that are days or months or even years into the future.
Steps in carrying out surveillance/Risk monitoring
- Reporting: Someone has to record the data.
- Data accumulation: Someone has to be responsible for collecting the data from all the reporters and putting it all together.
- Data analysis: Someone has to look at the data to determine and or calculate rates of probability, impact, and likelihood.
- Decisions: decisions must be made but must be followed by action.
Some questions to move you forward:
- Are you conducting surveillance of the risks/hazards that are impacting your international vendors and suppliers?
- Are you conducting surveillance of risk/hazards being faced by other Caribbean territories?
- Are you privy to or getting information that you are disregarding? (Cassandra effect)
- Surveillance: Horizon scanning, researching, information gathering, data mining to ascertain what risks are out there that have not yet reached your shores (territory, industry, home) but may.
- Risk Monitoring: If the risk does reach your shore: identify, track and evaluate continuously
- Cassandra effect: Don’t disregard information. Consider all possibilities and don’t be fooled by certainty (convergence of risk monitoring and surveillance)
We have to begin building a new tool box of agile and resilient processes to treat with the new complexities and uncertainties that lie ahead. There may not be time to respond to future risk events, for respond means the risk has already eventuated. You must ACT NOW.
Meet Nickolai Birjoo – a first-year student of the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business (BISB).
As a result of COVID-19 all students had to transition from face to face to online learning to facilitate the continuation of teaching and learning. This transition fortunately was smooth based on the technologies that Lok Jack GSB had in place. See below Nickolai’s experience for online learning.
“To put it bluntly, the online learning experience, born from necessity, has been an easily accessible way to stay on top of my education throughout a time where there is no in-house option due to unforeseen circumstances. Quickly implemented, smoothly operated and dynamically adapted to the needs of the pupils – I would say my favourite part of the experience has been how continuous it has been, bridging the offline and online gap. Due to the administrative efforts of program advisors and the IT staff, I am able to work in a virtual class that is almost exactly the same as a physical one, kilometres away from the campus. The professors have not missed a step when issuing class work and interacting with their students, making it extremely easy to carry on with any given subject. Lok Jack GSB has really prepared for such an easy transition with three distinct online learning platforms, which each offer features that aid in the completion of the courses offered. All lecturers have been quite interactive with the students, an aspect of the online class that has not gone unnoticed. The access to such personal interaction has made some lectures more digestible for some students, which is a welcomed comfort for working in such a remote environment. It is as easy as holding a button when a student wishes to voice any opinions or concerns, another facet of classroom life that has not been sacrificed. I am truly impressed by how well the online lectures have been handled by the school, especially under such short notice.”
For more information on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business speak to Ms. Kersha Garner, Academic Advisor at 299-0218 ext. 200 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Visit the website here
Loving Living Landscapes
Written by: Ayodhya Ouditt Updated: Jan, 2020 3 min read
Whether it’s a classic painting in a gallery, an oversaturated image on a calendar, or the view through one’s window on a drive or train ride, a landscape holds a powerful place in our mind’s eye.
Landscapes are popular items in art and photography, and while there’s tremendous diversity in terms of natural habitats on earth, we do seem to favour some over others. This doesn’t mean I can’t appreciate the destitution of a desert of lava flow, but it does mean that I would probably not want to live there. Most people do seem to favour certain scenes based on very specific features.
In his book The Art Instinct, Denis Dutton expounds on these thoughts, building an extraordinary case for instinctive (genetically predetermined) aesthetic preferences. He opens the book with reference to the People’s Choice experiment, a global art project overseen by the Soviet Artists, Vitaly Komar and Alexander Melamid. It was a massive survey of viewer preferences of paintings, across 14 countries, that overwhelmingly showed striking similarities across cultures and continents.
“People in very different cultures across the world gravitate toward the same general type of pictorial representation: a landscape with trees and open areas, water, human figures, and animals. What’s more remarkable still was the fact that people across the globe preferred landscapes of a fairly uniform type…”
Of course, this would probably upset the avant-garde and postmodern sensibilities of many contemporary gallerists; landscapes are accused of being boring, philosophically unsophisticated, and even colonial in nature. But regardless of whether or not these accusations are fair, the fact remains that we love landscapes. As a species, there’s a good reason for this, the ongoing evolutionary explanation being that they represent idyllic environments for the survival of wild ancestral humans.
In a recent conversation with Dr. Stefan Uddenberg, a cognitive psychologist at Princeton University, he reflected on the findings of the People’s Choice project that “Our preferences for landscapes are quite likely baked into us, over the course of millions of years of evolution, from the Pleistocene. We love landscapes that are rich in resources that we can take advantage of… It makes sense — if you’ve got greenery you’ve got fruit. If you’ve got forests there’s going to be wild game that you can hunt. If you’ve got water there’s a huge plus there. These features are there because they provide a huge plus to our survivability.”
In this light, in the same way in which we might universally favour a smooth, rosy, untarnished mango over one which is discoloured, bruised, or green, we might favour images of these archetypal semi-wooded sceneries over dark forests or lava flows or glacial tundra, all of which we innately know might be too perilous or too extreme in heat or cold. Again, we can certainly appreciate the beauty of those places as well, but there’s a distinctly calm, almost idyllic feeling we get when we look at the right kind of landscape.
Asher B. Durand (1796-1886) View toward the Hudson Valley, 1851 Oil on canvas 33 1/8 x 48 1/8 in. (84.1 x 122.2 cm) The Ella Gallup Sumner and Mary Catlin Sumner Collection Fund, 1948.119
The preponderance of direct neuroscientific evidence for the way that these pictures and sceneries affect our brains suggests that we are wired to find beauty in certain scenes and images, and to appreciate beauty on the whole. In his TED Talk “The Neurobiology of Beauty”, Semir Zeki, Professor of Neuroesthetics at University College London goes so far as to say that beauty “originates in the brain, not in the works of art.”
If beauty is so central to the human experience, and these pictures of semi-wooded grasslands can have some a universal effect on us, then what might actual landscapes and urban green-spaces do for us? The health benefits are well noted,
especially when considering depression and other mental health issues. It’s worth noting too that one of the things that makes prison so unbearable is its sterility and lack of landscape entirely. The denial of a window to the world, is not just social isolation, it’s scenic and sensory isolation as well.
In a place as biodiverse and naturally green as Trinidad and Tobago, we benefit from a tremendous range of ecosystem services, which if not abused and destroyed are largely unappreciated. In many parts of the country, green is seen as a handicap and a liability. But if we leverage this ecological bounty, beyond the level of agriculture or even habitat preservation, we might be able to tap into a national stress reduction reservoir, that could help insulate us from the stresses of modern urban life. At the level of preventative medicine then, if we make healthy, mindful use of parks, green yards, forest reserves, and beaches, they might help us fight cancer, diabetes, and suicide, just as well as any pill, prescription, or vaccine.
Update: Shortly after this article was posted, the National Health Service Shetland implemented “nature prescriptions” to help treat high blood pressure, anxiety, depression, and other issues.