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Nicholas Jagdeo, current student in Master of International Business

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Why did you choose to do the MIB programme?

My experiences in life have taken me out of Trinidad for extended periods of time, which opened my eyes to the possibility of starting my own business in a more international way. But, nothing I had learned was really geared towards understanding how businesses and multinational corporations operate on a global scale. When I saw Lok Jack GSB was offering a master’s program that’s specifically tailored to address the scope of international business, I felt like it came at exactly the right time. The program offered an option to complete the degree in one year or one year and three months. I knew it would be intense, but this was an overwhelming attraction for me.

 

What is your experience thus far within the programme?

I’ve truly seen the intelligence behind the design of the program and its structure, especially as I continue to progress along the pathway. The core courses build upon each other, and as we advance, in finding the material challenging, but easy to ingest because of what was laid before. The workshops have been quite good, and I’m enjoying that program facilitators have seen the need to introduce some practical workshops (eg. consulting and learning how to write a business plan). Life is about curveballs, and the curveballs we’ve gotten – being the first MIB cohort – have been nothing short of exciting!

 

Who should do this program?

This program seems geared towards those who want to branch out – whether regionally or internationally, but really branch out of Trinidad. Prospective candidates need to be well-read and have a strong grasp of current events, international relations and have a thirst for international business.

 

How has this programme impacted you professionally?

Extremely! The course has helped me in understanding my own entrepreneurial goals and is guiding me into achieving them. Every course has taught me something that I’m trying to implement, also in my personal life.

 

For more information on this programme contact Ms. Kerry-Ann Jordan at 868-645-6700 ext. 351 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt

Okera Duncan, National Open Scholarship awardee chooses to stay in Trinidad and pursue the undergraduate degree at Lok Jack GSB

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Okera Duncan graduated from Queens Royal College at CAPE level in 2017 with a national open scholarship in the field of Modern Languages, he did languages at CSEC and at CAPE level pure Mathematics, French, Spanish, Communications Studies and Caribbean Studies. He resides with his family at Mt. Hope, has one sibling and a firm supporter of advancement in technology. Okera is also the Founder of ‘Sapienza Educational Services’ which is an online platform to learn various languages, he’s also the President of the student society CGMT initiative (Caribbean Global Multicultural Task Force Initiative) which promotes cultures and languages by their practice.

Okera took a year off school upon completion of CAPE to really decide what he wants to do career-wise, he worked within this period and then he decided business is the way!

Everyone was astonished by his decision to stay in Trinidad to pursue his undergraduate degree as they knew he always wanted to study abroad to enhance his global space in addition to gaining the benefits and opportunities that follow. However, he knew that he can get that also right here in Trinidad and Tobago based on the vast amount of technological advancement currently occurring such as social media amongst others.

This is when Okera went on an adventure to look for the right institution that will give him the advantage, tools, and resources needed in order for him to succeed in what he wants to do. Okera then saw an ad in the press for the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business at Lok Jack GSB which piqued his interest, so he decided to attend an information session at the school and heard more on the programme, in his words “the rest was history.”

Okera experience within Lok Jack GSB thus far has been an eye-opener as he’s been exposed to different workshops and seminars where he got the opportunity to network with influential business professionals and advance his knowledge within different fields of study. His advice to persons looking to do a bachelor degree is, “do your research.”

 

Learn more on the Bachelor of International and Sustainable Business here: http://bit.ly/2YUOnOj

 

 

Anjaana Downes – current student in Master of International Business

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Why did you choose to do the MIB programme?

I chose the MIB, after two years of searching for a suitable programme that would catapult my marketability within the international market. Since I’ve started the programme I’ve not only been considered for opportunities not open to me before but I’ve also been able to apply real-life experiences as well as practical knowledge within several key learning areas. It doesn’t hurt that I now also have a better grasp of the Spanish language which I’ve wanted to learn for quite some time.

 

What is your experience thus far within the programme?

After six months I’ve not only gained extensive knowledge but also experienced personal growth through learning how to apply myself as well as working with others. A Master’s programme definitely also teaches patience and discipline that may or may not have existed previously. This to me is one of the most important benefits of the programme. Professional growth is great but personal growth can potentially affect all areas of your life positively. Arthur Lok Jack has also been extremely in providing additional workshops and extra-curricular activities that are not mandatory parts of the degree programme, but are open to all students. This has also been a great experience and I’ve ensured to take advantage of many of them.

 

Who should do this programme?

Anyone who is interested in learning about different areas of business can benefit from this programme. Even if the focus is not necessarily on an international arena. The skills and educational benefits can also be applied within a local setting. The international aspect is a bonus.

 

How has this programme impacted you professionally?

My path has been expanded to include a range of new opportunities since including this programme on my resume. I’ve been considered for several scholarships and am now eligible for additional roles that I had initially been interested in prior. I am also a lot more secure in applying for these roles, since I know I have more of the criteria required to fulfil them.

 

For more information on this programme contact the academic advisor Ms. Kerry-Ann Jordan at 868-645-700 ext. 351 or email: k.jordan@lokjackgsb.edu.tt

Is Your Money Safe?

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Introduction

Do you evaluate the riskiness of your financial institution or do you simply invest based on the power of the brand? I strongly suspect that it is not based on risk assessment but on some other factors. How does the financial institution now treat with such blind faith? It is beyond the scope of this article to cover every aspect of this topic but rather to give the reader an insight into what they may be exposed to by the financial system.

Risk Management

All financial institutions are well aware of the term risk management. They have it all carefully worked out. The Asset Liability Management Committee meets regularly to ensure that everything is maintained within parameters and all should be well.  There is actually more to it than meets the eye. All financial institutions are exposed to a number of risks which they should carefully consider and evaluate on a regular basis.

The international banking sector has adopted sophisticated risk management systems to manage the relationship between risk, return and capital with a view towards maximizing returns within the established risk management framework.

Despite these risk management frameworks ranging from the Basel Accords, local laws and regulations and individual bank requirements, there has been no standard risk-taking behavior adopted by all financial institutions. All other factors being equal in terms of economic conditions and environmental conditions, there have been significant influences on the risk-taking behavior of financial institutions leading to differences in their performances.

 Unintended Risk Exposure

During the 2008 financial crisis, there were more than 400 bank failures in the United States.  This had a major effect on the economy of the United States as well as a damaging ripple effect around the world due to the interconnectedness of the global financial system.

According to Ben Bernake, The failure to appreciate risk exposures at the firm-wide level can be costly. Example during the 2008 financial crisis, firms did not fully comprehend the extent of their exposure to US subprime mortgages. They did not recognize that in addition to the subprime mortgages on their books they were also exposed to these mortgages via off balance sheet vehicles.

In Trinidad and Tobago, investors in Clico Investment Bank faced a similar situation of being exposed to the risk of which they may not have been aware at the time of investment.

Due to the interconnectivity of the financial system financial institutions are being encouraged to consider not just their direct customers and shareholders but to adopt the bigger view of the stakeholders. A stakeholder in this instance is the wider society. Why is this so important?

The “too big to fail” theory adopted by financial institutions means that they have effectively transferred their risk to the stakeholder. This means as in the case of the US subprime fiasco and locally Clico and Hindu Credit Union, the taxpayers were forced to bail out the institutions to avoid economic collapse. Stakeholders (taxpayers) were exposed to risk without any agreement on their part.  This risk transference is indeed very worrying as the extent of the risk only becomes apparent after a crisis.

How Much Risk is Enough?

But what does risk management mean? The technocrat will probably answer that risk should be kept within defined standards and this could be verified by audits (internal and external). But more importantly, it will also be verified by external credit rating agencies.  Your financial institution is probably rated AAA. What does that really mean? Does that rating mean anything to you? Well first of all who exactly are you? Are you a depositor, shareholder or stakeholder? How does your financial institution measure up?

In terms of risk-taking behavior, the banking sector in Trinidad and Tobago has been very conservative in their lending as evidenced by an average delinquency rate of 4% which is 1 % lower than the industry benchmark.  This can be interpreted as the banking sector in Trinidad and Tobago is not taking enough risk as their profit margins are largely dependent on the spread and service fees.

This may be viewed as the banks not lending to projects with positive NPVs. The high profitability of the banking sector without them taking enough risk may be enough to appease shareholders but stakeholders remain dissatisfied by the overly conservative nature. What is the purpose of the bank? Banks may intentionally not take the risk even with projects with a positive NPV to maintain their credit ratings. Apart from profits, banks are supposed to play a developmental role in society.

But good governance is not about not taking a risk, but rather taking the right amount of risk according to the stakeholder’s risk appetite. This implies that stakeholders should be aware of the potential risk and rewards and make an informed decision. This, of course, is where the Board should be concerned in providing the right oversight and make decisions based on correct and current information.

The Role of the Regulator

The important lesson learned from previous financial crises is that you cannot place full trust in regulators. After every crisis, new rules and regulations are instituted with an aim of plugging the previous loopholes, but these deal with specificities rather than the entire system as a whole, which is not an easy task by the way.  The truth is that the rate of innovation in business and banking is beyond the capacity of the regulators to be proactive. There must be some type of governance mechanism to deal with this issue.

Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that financial Institutions and indeed any business cannot succeed without taking a risk. The classic financial theory also highlights the theory of risk and reward going hand in hand. But there is information asymmetry, so stakeholders are at a disadvantage and hence decision making is skewed. It is therefore that stakeholders carefully monitor the health not just of their financial institution, but the financial system as a whole because they may be faced with the risk that they had no idea was transferred to them. What do you think? Are you comfortable now?

Bhushan Singh is Lecturer and Consultant at the UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business

Shankarah Lessey, MBA in International Trade Logistics and Procurement Alumnus

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Mr. Shankarah Lessey, is an alumnus of the MBA in International Trade Logistics and Procurement (MBA ITLP) programme at UWI-Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business, Senior Project Engineer at HDC, and author at Archway Publishing. We asked Shankarah to tell us what his experience was like throughout his enrolment at Lok Jack GSB, and on his current position. Check out his responses below:

 

 

5.30pm (or later if you were stuck in traffic!!) Dinner in the cafeteria.

The arrival times at the Lok Jack GSB Campus was notoriously varied across the student body with students coming from as far as Chaguaramas or Port of Spain after a hard day’s work. The well-stocked cafeteria was always my first stop before heading off to an evening of classes in the MBA ITLP Programme. Sada Roti, Aloo pie and sometimes pizza were all very welcomed treats that filled the corridors with lofty aromas that served to ease our daily stresses prior to starting our evening lectures.

Afternoon Seminars in YARA Auditorium

We often found ourselves in the large YARA Auditorium on afternoon sessions that tackled global issues in a local context with varied experts being invited to present to the student body, keeping our focus on making that impact in the industry and placing our studies into context. The seminars ranged a wide group of relevant topics such as climate change, the future of the oil and gas sector, public-private partnerships and waste-to-energy technologies in the Caribbean. These were all presented in a global setting but grounded in local and regional research in order to retain its relevance to the population.

4-8 lectures, industry experts presentations and student zoom sessions

I was always pleasurably intrigued by the depth of the MBA ITLP Programme and the connection the faculty had with industry which showed in the lectures and exams. The entire faculty was clearly guided by overarching policies that spoke to industry relevance, a relevance that came out in the frequent guest lectures from technical and executive personalities across industries of oil and gas production, port management, shipbuilding, Exim Bank and even from past students who currently act as ambassadors in their current workplace for the Lok Jack GSB.

Moving On

It has been really difficult to move on from the enjoyable life at Lok Jack GSB Campus, back to a work life that isn’t supplanted with daily lectures and monthly assignments from the semester’s group of lecturers. The most memorable part of the MBA was the International Business Trip in Shanghai, China organised by our Programme Director Dr. Khan. It was the experience of a lifetime, a different culture, business environment, trade zone and language was the ultimate MBA experience that connected all my learnings for the two-year programme and put it to use on a global scale in an international environment with other practitioners from across Latin America and the Caribbean, Africa, China and Europe.

Currently, I have been accepted to Oxford University and Kings College London for different further graduate programmes that I am currently considering to pursue while I seek to publish my first print and digital books in August 2019. The MBA ITLP from the UWI-ALJGSB was truly an unforgettable experience that fully prepared me for the global business environment imparting the confidence, skill and focus that is needed in order to break into the global business environment.

 

For more information on the MBA in International Trade Logistics and Procurement programme please contact Mrs. Shivana Hosein, Academic Advisor at (868) 645-6700 ext.103 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt.

Stress, Education and Productivity.

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As with nature, the strongest survive by adapting to change. Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and Natural Selection explained this concept. In the natural world, however, this change happens slowly but surely.   Change by itself is not bad; it is the adaptation to change that is difficult. In the natural world, this slow evolutionary change sometimes takes the pain out of the adaptation process.

Fast forward now to the world of business. Change is rapid in all aspects of business. In the world of technology, we have Moore’s Law, which is the observation that the number of transistors in a dense integrated circuit doubles about every two years. Seemingly an inconspicuous observation? Don’t be fooled by its apparent simplicity. This very observation is what causes all of us to be glued to our mobile devices and access so many services electronically which was not even a dream 10 years ago. So most of us cope with this change by accessing services and goods online at our convenience. We have learnt how to use social media and electronic/online games and have identified addictions to them. Companies and individuals that do not adapt quickly are relegated to oblivion. It has nothing to do with size; in fact the bigger they are the harder they fall.

Evolution of Education

So what does all of this have to do with education and productivity? While all of this change has been taking place in the world, some things have remained static. What is the purpose of education? The curricula of the various disciplines have changed from pre-primary to the tertiary level. But have we prepared our students to deal with the psychological stresses that might be peculiar to every generation? According to Ralph Maraj in the Express of May 5th 2019, the education system annually churns out thousands who are ill prepared for adulthood. How does the education system prepare one outside of academics to enter the world of adulthood with all the psychological burdens that come with it? How did previous generations manage? I have no doubts that previous generations would have dealt with various personal and societal upheavals and stresses. But was the stress in a less technological and socially connected world different from that of today?

This goes beyond the stress of examinations only. This has nothing to do with any individual examination such as SEA or University, but generally on preparing students to be productive citizens in the real world outside of academics.

If we are to consider ourselves beings of higher intelligence, then it is necessary for us to refine our education system and teach our students, from the preprimary right up to the workplace, how to deal with the pressures of our modern day life. Just as adults need help with certain aspects of stress, so do children, students and employees. Unproductive behavior may just be a symptom of something deeper.

Coping Mechanisms

Isn’t it time that we began to formally deal with coping mechanisms for children from the young age all the way to University? Would this intervention have a positive impact on our society as a whole? It has been proven in several studies that apart from the formal education, a nurturing and supportive home environment greatly increases one’s chances of succeeding in school. Armed with this knowledge we can now innovate and take the argument one step further to formally engage students in stress management and coping mechanisms. Would this lead to better performance at school, less delinquent behavior and produce an individual better prepared to enter the productive world of work?

Insufficient Productivity

We have several complaints about the lack of productivity. What is the reason for the poor work ethic? Are the problems purely organizational? Is there any room for individual responsibility? Does it have to do with education? What separates a developed country from a developing country? Is it mindset? What causes this inertia? How does one deal with mindset on an individual basis, an organizational basis and at the country level? Is it a deficiency somewhere along the line in our education system that has caused some to fall through the cracks? How do we now address this?

Do the denominational schools have a better approach to the students or is it the home and family support that allows the students to succeed in the denominational school? What is the driver of the individual motivation? What is the difference between the approaches in the denominational vs the government schools? Is there room to learn from the other both in and out of classroom lessons?

Existing Knowledge

There are several studies on motivation and leadership and the personality types that shapes an individual’s point of view.  The knowledge and capability to enact such an intervention into the formal school system is already there. The hindrance might just be the logistics at this time. Would such an intervention change our education system from being highly individualistic to more all-inclusive? Time would be the best indicator of this. But if we are creatures of higher learning then shouldn’t we put all of this productive knowledge to some use that gives us some type of competitive advantage? I have no empirical evidence to quote on this, but the idea does not seem so far – fetched to me.

Conclusion

It is not about an entirely altruistic proposal. In the long run, it is about helping society to adapt to the Darwinian Theory which has been greatly sped up outside of the natural world. The society would not fail as a whole, but it is my theory that by this formal engagement of a stress management programme from the school level we are better preparing the future generation for success. Who knows what the new world of Artificial Intelligence, Self Driving cars, Pilot- less planes, Robotics, Inter- planetary travel and unimaginable plastic pollution would unleash on the future generation? What are your views on this?

Bhushan Singh is a Lecturer and Consultant at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business

 

 

Meet Dr. Zaffar Khan, Lecturer of MBA in International Trade, Logistics and Procurement

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Dr. Zaffar Khan is the Programme Director of MBA in International Trade, Logistics and Procurement programme at UWI-ALJGSB, he’s also an international advocate for Energy Efficiency, Energy Cost Reduction, Energy Conservation and Clean Energy.

What is the relevancy of the MBA ITLP programme given the current economic climate?

This programme is highly relevant to Trinidad and Tobago and the region in terms of economic diversification, and plays a major role in all sectors from the perspectives of Trade liberalisation, digitisation, logistics and procurement.

 

 

Why should persons choose the MBA in ITLP programme?

  1. It is accredited by the Association of MBAs

2. Over the past five years the programme ranked #1 at UWI-ALJGSB based on the student satisfaction                               surveys.

Graduates from this programme obtained senior positions in the energy sector, other private sector companies            and in the public sector including the Procurement Secretariat. Also, some graduates obtained top positions                internationally.

 

How does the MBA ITLP differ from other supply chain management programmes?

  1. Accreditation and re-accreditation

2. World class  and dedicated faculty

3. Performance measured by the SSS and graduates obtaining  suitable jobs

4. Relevant and up to date research within the Supply Chain body of knowledge

5. Highly successful and relevant practicum projects

 

How can this programme enhance someone’s career?

  1. Promotion within the company
  2. Obtaining jobs in the Supply Chain and Procurement areas
  3. Become entrepreneurs in imports, exports, manufacturing, tourism and agriculture

 

For more information on this programme you can contact Mrs. Shivana Hosein, Academic Advisor of MBA in International Trade, Logistics and Procurement at 645-6700 ext. 103 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt 

6 Reasons Why CEOs Should Sponsor High Performing Senior Managers in the Executive MBA programme offered by the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business

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This blog is a curated content piece about the benefits that CEOs can attain from sponsoring high performing senior managers in the Internationally Accredited Executive MBA programme (EMBA) offered by the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB). The benefits to senior managers who enroll in the EMBA programme will also be discussed.

Corporate sponsorship of an Executive MBA (EMBA) does not solely benefit the employee but also generates a return on investment to the employer. Investing in high performing employees demonstrates a company’s commitment to the professional development of staff and contributes to a culture of learning, support and loyalty. The six (6) reasons why CEOs should sponsor their most promising senior managers can be assessed from both the employer and employee perspective.

1. Yield Immediate Returns and Cost Savings

The UWI Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB) adopts an authentic teaching and learning approach which provides students with practical courses, assignments, actual project-based and problem-based learning activities and presentations. The use of case studies, simulations and real-world applications, give students the ability to integrate the knowledge and skills acquired in the classroom directly into the workplace. This allows for cost savings as competent senior managers can eliminate the need for external consultants to be hired. These knowledgeable senior managers can act as ‘homegrown’ consultants who possess an intimate understanding of their employers’ internal culture and dynamics, putting them in a better position to diagnose and resolve company issues.

2. Develop a Global Perspective on Business

The EMBA programme offered by the UWI-ALJGSB prepares senior managers to manage effectively in the international marketplace through strategically designed core courses. The enrollment of senior managers affords companies the opportunity to build global connections and learn about global opportunities that are potentially attractive for their respective businesses. A Global Mindset is also nurtured by the annual International Business Study Trip, which EMBA students can access. This pivotal experience is an essential way for our local students to gain immeasurable exposure to global markets and commerce.

3. Build a Confident and Competent Leadership Team

The ability to leverage the skills and knowledge learnt in the classroom and seamlessly incorporate this into the work environment builds the confidence of those senior managers who are enrolled in the EMBA programme. When individuals become more proficient in their respective jobs they transform into more confident decision makers. This increased confidence and competence allows senior managers to take on broader roles and greater responsibilities which ultimately contributes significantly to the successful operations of the company.

Benefits to Employee

4. Develop Leadership, Communication and Team Building Skills

The authentic teaching and learning approach adopted by the UWI-ALJGSB encourages engagement among students and between students and our astute faculty. This collaborative approach develops the leadership, communication and team-building skills of enrolled senior managers as the programme requires students to participate in group discussions, team projects, lectures, and seminars, all of these skills being easily transferred back into the work environment.

5. Ability to Resolve Company Issues and Identify New Opportunities

The leading-edge practices in management, operations and strategy gained from projects undertaken in the classroom can be directly applied to the company of the student to resolve major issues and challenges of the employer. In-class collaboration among like-minded peers and expert faculty also gives students the ability to explore and dissect ideas bringing with it clarity about new opportunities and innovative solutions. Fresh insights and potential resolutions to actual business challenges can be derived through these organic in-class discussions.

6. Access Networking and Coaching Opportunities

The composition of an EMBA class at the UWI-ALJGSB is one that includes top decision-makers from both the public and private sectors, locally and regionally. Access to this wide business network benefits future business activities and sharpens the global vision of senior managers. Interaction with persons from various companies, industries and regions bring about a fresh perspective into the workplace. Good relationships also influence the ability of new ideas to flourish. Enrolled senior managers have access to business coaches, who comprise of reputable industry experts, this being an added value to all UWI-ALJGSB EMBA students. Each student is assigned a coach, who provides assistance throughout the programme and also gives invaluable guidance to their professional endeavours.

Why choose the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business?

Choosing the right Business School at which to pursue an EMBA plays an integral role in the sponsorship arrangement between employer and employee as the EMBA programme must match the desired goals of both student and company. The Executive MBA offered by the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business (UWI-ALJGSB) is globally accredited and recognized by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the global standard for all MBA programmes. Our esteemed faculty incites innovation, motivates changes, encourages disruptive thinking and transforms the lives of all our students as they bring with them years of local and international experience in their respective fields of study.

The Business School sparks transformation in business as it aims to reshape business and society while constantly challenging the status quo. This is evident through the work of our extensive EMBA alumni who consists of top-level business influencers in both the private and public sector companies in Guyana and the Caribbean. The EMBA programme offered at UWI-ALJGSB is also accessible to regional and international students through our Zoom Online platform, which gives students the ability to log into and participate in classes virtually.

Enrollment into the Executive MBA programme at the Arthur Lok Jack Global School of Business will certainly be mutually beneficial to both employee and employer as we aim to transform each EMBA student from a senior executive into a capable, forward-thinking global leader. Investing in high performing senior managers demonstrates a company’s commitment to the professional growth of its employees and endorses the contribution of each employee towards the successful management of the business.

Entrepreneurial Challenges in the 21st Century

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Editor:

Dr. Balraj Kistow
Lecturer and Programme Director
Lok Jack GSB

Caribbean societies have quite a few things in common.  In large part we have beautiful tropical flora and fauna, fantastic beaches, a common Euro-centric colonial past, which has influenced our legal, socio-political and administrative systems as well as our trading relations. We also have a common history in the early development of agriculture-based industries as the core of our colonial economic purpose. While some countries have moved away from this sector to varying degrees, we all in some way maintained the same principle of economic development by selling our natural endowments.  When we look at the region, we are either dependent in large parts on tourism, agriculture and oil and gas.  Now don’t get me wrong.  I am thankful for these natural resources as I am sure you are as it have sustained us for generations.  However, our continued path of being overly dependent on these resources by selling it mainly in the primary state does not only derive less values for us but have given rise to much less virtuous commonality in the region, which is, our economic well-being that’s very much vulnerabile to external events and price shocks.

When we look at regional economies we see that our prosperity could quickly turn to poverty with a crash in the fall in the prices of oil and gas, a mad man’s rant that makes people nervous to travel or an arbitrary decision by some major government or supra-national body that severely impede our ability to trade our products and services in the traditional markets.  In the highly globalized, interdependent and connected world of today it is not possible to be totally insulated from the happenings international community.  The question is how do we position our economies to be less vulnerable to these external shocks and events while at the same time creating an entrepreneurial culture in our population that facilitates and empower people to take advantage of events and current trends towards economic prosperity.

This may sound like a tall order and I can hear the less optimistic among us pointing to the reams of paper that have raised this or similar questions before, but we are still in the same place.  That might be true, but time have changed, people are changing, the world is evolving and maybe we need to change our approach and perspective.

The usual approach to trying to move to a more secure and less vulnerable economic platform has been to look to diversification as a solution.  While we have looked in that direction we cannot say we have been able to diversify in any meaningful way.  I am sure there are many components to why we have not fared well in the area of diversification but I feel that an important element is our approach that seems to suggest moving away from traditional sectors rather than an approach that emphasise on using the resources, skill sets, networks and competencies to develop new products, services and sectors.  In this way we can use the traditional sectors as focal points in creating value added solutions for the modern world.

Rather than speaking about moving away from the traditional sectors of agriculture, tourism and energy we should be asking the question as to how can we leverage these sectors such that we are able to create new and exciting products and services on the higher end of the value chain that treats with contemporary trends, issues and challenges.  For instance, rather than see agriculture as a relic from a bygone era maybe we can look to develop selected areas that can serve global and diaspora markets with traditional goods and local delicacies.  In the last few years coconut is the new craze with coconut water being demanded for its isotonic qualities, coconut oil as a health fat for cooking and in beauty products from New York to Paris and coconut flour and sugar selling at premium prices.  A company in Guyana is now canning a local delicacy called “Heart of Palm” or Palmiste, as it is traditionally known in Trinidad and Tobago, for the export market.  The leaves and the fruits of the “Sijan” or Moringa plant is now a global health phenomenon and is being sold on Amazon.  With fish stocks being depleted globally we should have the capacity to develop fish farms that can serve the domestic and international markets and the regional tourism sector.  These are few examples where we can relook, remodel and recreate the agriculture sector to generate wealth and foreign exchange and I have not even touched on the potential of medical marijuana, eco and indigenous tourism and renewable energy.

We cannot continue to see our natural resources as cash cow by being sold as a primary product, but we need to create and foster an entrepreneurial mindset where we see our resources as raw materials that can be used to create high value products.  We all have our parts to play in this regard as there are key roles for academic in research and development among other things, government in creating and maintaining a secure and predictable enabling environment and industry in taking the lead investing in value creating solutions.  Moreover, creating an entrepreneurial mind set would require a systemic change especially to the way we see education and the way we educate as the move to creating this mindset would not happen in the boardroom if it is not inculcated in the classroom. I am not saying this is an easy task as it would require many herculean changes and dealing with many moving parts at the same time, but it is not beyond us.  Frankly, I don’t think we have much of a choice.

Join us at Distinguished Leadership and Innovation Conference and gain insights from Entrepreneurial Gurus – Josh Linkner and Prof. Andrew Corbett on May 6th 2019 at the Hyatt Regency. Register now at www.dlictt.com

 

 

Neisha Ramdass “Energy Bae”

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Neisha Ramdass is a current student of the MBA in Sustainable Energy Management programme at Lok Jack GSB, taking this leap took her career to new heights. Neisha was recently published by the Newsday where she was given the opportunity to moderate and speak at a global energy forum that was held at Panama.

 

Why did you choose the Lok Jack GSB to pursue an MBA?

Coming from a technical background with my BSc, I hoped to diversify my portfolio by pursuing an MBA. ALJ GSB has the best reputation as being one of the top business schools in the country. Upon conducting extensive research on the programmes I was interested in, the feedback I received on the MBA SEM was phenomenal.

Has the MBA SEM programme influenced your professional life? If yes, how?

This programme has afforded me the opportunity to study the energy sector from different perspectives, including business, social, financial, economic, and environmental just to name a few. I have studied energy policy scrupulously and I intend to further my career in this field, since I believe Trinidad and Tobago needs to conduct some serious policy changes within the energy sector in order to achieve sustainability.

Describe your experience with the MBA SEM programme

The experience and wealth of knowledge I gained over the past two years from the SEM programme was invaluable. The all-round view of the energy sector shed a whole new light on the field in which I choose to establish a career in. The knowledge I gained led me down the path of starting and successfully running my very own energy blog (eNRgyTT.com). I believe that the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago deserve to understand their energy sector since we’re a fossil fuel-based economy. The main objective of this blog was to educate in the simplest way possible, allowing for people to formulate their own opinions on a sector which we are heavily dependent on.

Would you recommend persons to pursue the Lok Jack GSB’s MBA in Sustainable Energy Management programme? Why?

I would definitely recommend this programme to those interested because it was one of the best choices I made in my life. Though the programme is gruelling and requires absolute commitment, it was definitely worth it. The lecturers were the best and very experienced in their respective fields. Free-thinking and discussion was always encouraged in the classroom, allowing for my peers and I to become independent thinkers, challenging the norm and formulating our own opinions, instead of simply learning class materials to regurgitate for an exam.

Do you think energy efficiency is well practiced and promoted in Trinidad and Tobago?

Trinidad and Tobago has a very long way to go with regards to energy efficiency and energy conservation. We promote a culture of wastage, mostly as a result of our cheap (SUBSIDIZED) electricity and fuel prices. There have been attempts to promote EE, however, there needs to be a culture shift, which can only come from improved public education and awareness. Energy efficient practices need to be introduced into the curriculum for primary and secondary schools. There needs to be a greater emphasis put on educating the public on climate change and its effects on our country. Citizens should be made aware that their actions today will most definitely cause a huge impact on future generations.

Can you share 3 energy efficient practices for our readers?

Three simple energy efficient practice that can be employed both domestically, as well as in business places:

  1. Switching out CFL and incandescent bulbs with LED bulbs;
  2. Purchase energy efficient appliances;
  3. Conduct energy audits to access where energy is being wasted and where improvements can be made.

Attach YouTube video on EE if possible:

https://youtu.be/ZFgf6cYLwK4

 

To find out more about our MBA in Sustainable Energy Management programme please contact Mrs. Shivana Hosein at 645-6700 ext. 200 or email: admissions@lokjackgsb.edu.tt

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