As part of a broader initiative to form corporate partnerships, the University is working toward a deal that will provide students the opportunity to directly work with Apple employees.
Bobby Woodard, senior vice president for student affairs, said the University is still in the early-planning stages of working out a deal with the tech giant.
“Unfortunately we are so young in these talks that we don’t have anything settled out yet,” he said. “Our next meeting, or brainstorming session, with Apple is in late April.”
Steven Leath, Auburn University president, strives to provide real-world experience to students, Woodard said. This includes giving students the opportunity to work with major companies.
“Dr. Leath has this whole thing about ‘Innovate, Transform, Inspire,’” Woodard said. “The crux of it is, we want to get more corporate industry partnerships,”
Although the university currently has partnerships with other companies, Woodard believes this would be Auburn’s first partnership with a major tech company.
“We have big ideas, but we really just haven’t gotten there yet,” he said. “We’ve got a big engineering school, some business analytics and supply-chain management courses. All of that works into what Apple does.”
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Apple CEO Tim Cook is one of Auburn’s most well-known alumni. The University’s goal is to provide a cooperative education experience to its students, Woodard said.
“We want to be able to provide co-ops closer to home,” he said. “It’s hard to send a co-op to California because of the expense to live out there.”
Auburn has a variety of co-op opportunities, and one of the University’s largest current corporate partnerships is with Atlanta-based Delta. This provides students real-world experience rather than solely reading from a textbook.
“It helps our students get to know professionals that are currently in the field and what they’re looking for,” Woodard said. “We can tell you what a book says and what we think they’re looking for, but students tend to listen more when somebody comes in and says ‘I will hire you if you’ve got A, B and C.’”
It is all about theory to practice, he said. While students learn the fundamentals in the classroom, co-ops with companies like Delta provide students access to the latest innovations in the field.
“A lot of the professors here have the knowledge and the background, but they have been in the classroom for 10-15 years. When you have a pilot that is still flying, they can teach you about the new stuff, the new technologies,” he said.
The invaluable experience students gain from the co-ops proves beneficial for students when they graduate and begin looking for work in professional fields.
“The ultimate goal is to get you a job,” Woodard said. “If you can say that you have practical experience in a field, that is going to get you a job much quicker.”
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