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CBS’ new chatbot answers questions about admission to CBS’ bachelor’s programs and the meaning of life

chat bot

The chatbot, Coby, has been fed with no less than 10,000 formulations of questions and answers and is ready to reply 24/7 when new bachelor’s students reach out for help. Student Affairs is considering introducing Coby to other parts of CBS.dk.  

News |   30. Jun 2021

Anne Thora Lykkegaard

Journalist

What are the entry requirements for the BSc in International Business? Do I need to upload my transcript? What types of jobs can I get with this degree? What is the meaning of life?

Around the clock, CBS’ new chatbot, Coby, is busy answering questions like those from people who are in the midst of applying to one or more of CBS’ bachelor’s programs. The deadline on July 5 for applying through quota 1 is fast approaching, and the number of questions ticking in on email and phone is increasing, explains Anne Mette Hou, Head of Student Affairs.

“For a long time, we have wanted to implement a chatbot, and now is the time to do it. We want to support students in finding the information they need. At the same time, they need assurance and confirmation about certain aspects of the application process, and rather than waiting for us to answer by phone or email, they can get answers straight away from Coby,” she says and continues:

“Of course, they can still call us, but if they start by asking Coby some of the more generic questions about the application process, they can ask us better questions, and we can spend our time helping and guiding them to the best choice of program for them, which is why we are here.”

The chatbot, which was launched on June 21, is on CBS.dk under Bachelor programs, and is based on a system powered by Certainly and used at the University of Copenhagen. The database that comes with Coby has more than 10,000 formulations of questions and answers and is continuously being fed with more questions and answers related to CBS.

“You can tell the chatbot that you’re interested in applying for a bachelor’s program, and it will give you links to videos about choosing a bachelor’s program. Of course, there will be formulations it cannot answer, but it will become smarter and smarter over time,” says Johanne Munk, Student Guidance Counsellor in Student Affairs.

Right now, Coby only speaks Danish but the hope is to expand Coby’s knowledge to cover next year’s application round for the bachelor’s programs – also in English.

“Testing the chatbot for quota 1 is a good place to start. From there, we need to figure out whether it can be used for other purposes. Maybe we will want it to cover the entire application round for the bachelor’s programs next year, and perhaps we can even use it for StudentHub,” says Anne Mette Hou.

Help from the University of Copenhagen

Johanne Munk explains that Coby’s answers and the questions it is asked will be continuously monitored in order to update and expand the answers it can give.

“There will be formulations that Coby doesn’t recognize, but here we can check and add them to Coby’s vocabulary and connect the questions to answers. It is continuous work, but in the long run, it will save us a lot of time,” she says and points out that Coby was up and running in less than a week after the decision was made:

“We have managed to get this chatbot ready for use so swiftly because of the extensive database the University of Copenhagen offered us. It was a huge gift that we did not have to start from scratch by coming up with all the different types of formulations ourselves,” she says.

You can tell the chatbot that you're interested in applying for a bachelor's program, and it will give you links to videos about choosing a bachelor's program

Johanne Munk

Anne Mette Hou adds:

“Everything new takes time to launch, but this is a better service for our applicants, who can get answers 24/7. It also means a lot to them that they know where to put an x or which document to upload,” she says.

Currently, there are no specific criteria for success. However, Student Affairs is interested in exploring whether it has received fewer questions about deadlines and the application process via phone and email, and whether the traffic to various CBS sites has increased.

“We will evaluate the experience in the fall, and if we agree to use the chatbot in other settings, we will, of course, set some specific goals for Coby,” says Anne Mette Hou.

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