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Education
Apr 1, 2015

Information Technology Events Result In Jobs And Increased Relevancy In Courses

Sponsored Content provided by Robert Burrus - Dean , Cameron School of Business - University of North Carolina Wilmington

Over the past 10 years, the faculty of the Management Information Systems discipline have worked to increase their relationships with local and regional IT (Information Technology) professionals. As a result student job placement and internships have increased and information systems courses have been kept relevant and up-to-date.

In 2002, a corporate advisory board was created with three main goals

  1. increase the quality of MIS students
     
  2. increase dialog between faculty and industry to keep courses relevant
     
  3. foster a larger IT community in the Wilmington Area. 
This board has grown to more than 25 local and regional employers. Local firms such as GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy, PPD, nCino, Live Oak Bank, ATMC, TriTech, CloudWyze, Velocity Solutions and AlphaCM are joined by regional firms such as IBM, Credit Suisse, Fidelity Investments and EMC.

Alliances produce results:

In the last academic year more than 80 percent of IS graduates had a job in the field (68 percent) or were going to graduate school (15 percent) as of graduation day. In addition, more than 70 percent of all MIS graduates had at least one paid internship in the field before graduation.

Key to these impressive results is a series of annual events that bring industry professionals and students together to network. Most of these events were initially proposed by advisory board members and have grown to more than 800 participants per year. These events include:
  • Career Day. Now in the ninth year, the department hosts an annual IT/OM (Information Technology/Operations Management) Career Day. This event is sponsored by the department, GE-Hitachi and Credit Suisse and features two main components. First, young IS alumni return to campus and facilitate breakout sessions where they discuss “a day in the life of a young IT professional.” The second component turns the lobby of the Computer Information Systems building into a job/interview fair. In 2014, 34 local and regional employers participated, resulting in full-time jobs and internships for our students.
  • Visits to firms in the Raleigh/Durham Research Triangle Park (RTP): For more than five years, IS faculty members have been leading bus trips to RTP where our students spend a half day at technology firms. These trips feature careers, job skills and tours at each of the firms seeking our students. During 2014-201, companies visited included Credit Suisse, EMC, Fidelity Investments, IBM and NetApp. The demand for our students has resulted in two trips per year, as some firms were feeling left out!
  • Wilmington Information Technology eXchange (WITX Conference): Now in its 12th year, this annual conference hosted by the department brings local IT professionals to campus to learn about the latest trends in IT, as well as learn more about student projects. This event has become the largest IT event in southeast North Carolina. 

    Hosted in UNCW’s Computer Information Systems Building (CIS) on April 14, this year’s conference will focus on growing technology businesses in our region and making IT departments more innovative.

    Guests will have an opportunity to hear from keynote speakers Don Burton and Mark McDowell. The two will discuss the importance of embracing technology in our community.

    Burton, managing director of the Kaplan Techstars accelerator in New York City, will demonstrate the importance of investing in technology for early education, and how this investment helps engage our youth. McDowell, a North Carolina resident and co-founder of Acta Wireless, will examine how the digital overhaul of the 21st century will strengthen our communities, and make education more accessible for all, through the use of wireless technology.

    Last year, more than 400 Wilmington area professionals and students attended WITX to learn about technological innovations and advancements in such diverse fields as human psychology, mobile forensics, cyber defense and tablet computing.

    Conference exhibitors will include UNCW students, faculty and representatives from leading technology vendors. Vendors will set up in the CIS building and will open to attendees at 4 p.m. Beginning at 5:15 p.m., WITX will hold the Ignite Speaker Series, where presenters will share their personal and professional passions in just five minutes, using 20 slides.  This popular series takes place in more than 100 cities worldwide.

    Access to exhibits and vendors is free and open to the general public. Keynotes will begin at 1:30 p.m., with approximately 30 minutes for each. Tickets for the keynote speakers and learning exchanges can be purchased online for $25 each, up until the day of the event. Sponsored by Castle Branch and TekMountain, the conference will last from 1:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. Registration and further information is available online at http://csb.uncw.edu/witx/.

For 2014-2015, Dr. Robert T. Burrus, Jr. will serve as interim Dean of the Cameron School of Business at the University of North Carolina Wilmington. Before taking on the role of interim Dean, Burrus was the department chair for economics and finance and a professor of economics. He has been on Cameron’s faculty since 1998. The Cameron School of Business has 90 full-time faculty members and 29 administrative and staff members. The school hosts approximately 2,000 undergraduate students and 170 graduate students. International students come to study at Cameron from all over the world. The Cameron School of Business is AACSB accredited; offers capstone experiences; houses a Financial Trading Markets Room; provides for overseas learning opportunities; and is a founding member of the Trans-Atlantic Business School Alliance. To learn more about the Cameron School of Business, please visit http://csb.uncw.edu/. Questions and comments can be sent to [email protected].

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