Building relationships between information systems students at the Naveen Jindal School of Management and companies that have a need for top talent was the focus of Get IT Together 2020, a DFW Information Systems Talent Symposium. The first-time event was held Feb. 7 in the Davidson-Gundy Alumni Center.
The symposium was created by Dr. Ron Bose, a clinical professor on the Jindal School’s Information Systems Area faculty and director of the Center for Information Technology and Management (CITM), and Dr. Mark Thouin, a clinical information systems professor and director of the MS in Information Technology Management program.
CITM board members “have told me that the biggest problem in companies is finding top talent,” Bose said. “We wanted to showcase our talent and also to find out what companies are looking for to fill their positions. We had about 30 companies represented, which is a good turnout for the first year.”
Initial interest in the event was so strong among students that Thouin winnowed their numbers by requiring them to write and submit essays stating why they wanted to attend. From those, he selected 45.
The symposium was designed to provide companies with information about finding top entry-level talent, how the Jindal School prepares students to fill those roles, and how companies can partner with JSOM to hire interns and full-time employees.
“There are many more jobs available in this industry than there are people to fill them,” Bose said in opening the symposium. “What we’d like you to do when you go home is to talk about us.”
JSOM’s Information Systems Area programs, with a total enrollment of 2,620, have a placement rate of 93 percent within six months of graduation.
“The size and diversity of offerings of our programs means we have a large number of highly qualified students in a wide variety of areas,” Thouin said. “All of our students are required to work on an internship or complete a capstone experience as part of their program. Employers appreciate hiring someone that can hit the ground running.”
Carolyn Carlson, head of sales in Dallas for Google Cloud, was the first featured speaker and spoke on the topic, “Recruit, Develop, Retain and Compensate.”
Up next, David Woody, director of innovation solutions at the American Heart Association’s Dallas headquarters, spoke on “The Many Ways We Work with UT Dallas.”
And Jeff Kavanaugh, vice president and global head of the Infosys Knowledge Institute and JSOM adjunct faculty member, whose topic was “How to Develop a Talent Pipeline for Your Digital Transformation.”
Following the speakers, breakout sessions encouraged company representatives to join JSOM faculty and students for discussion at themed tables, one each for the:
• BS in Information Systems and Technology program
• MS in Business Analytics program
An informal networking session followed the breakout sessions.
Information technology and management student Bhushan Sonmale, who took advantage of the opportunity to meet and talk with company representatives, said he learned something unexpected in those discussions.
“I learned that, yes, employers need you to be technically sound,” he said. “But they want even more for you to be professional and competent as a person — with your attitude and character. They believe technical skills, unlike personality skills, can be easily taught.”
Both Atul Srivastava of AccuV, and Mike Jacques of Intelgica attended the event to learn how their companies can partner with JSOM in the future.
“We haven’t worked with them before, but we’re interested in doing that. We need talent in a broad spectrum of IT,” Jacques, a recruiter, said.
Srivastava, senior vice president of information management, said he hadn’t been aware of the possibility of working with the Jindal School until recently. "I learned about it from my daughter, who attends UT Dallas,” he said.
Events such as Get IT Together are important for students and for the companies that attend, said JSOM Dean Hasan Pirkul. “Information systems and IT industries are often ahead of academia,” he said. “We must partner with them to see what they need, and we must talk with them in order to stay up to date.”
— Glenda Vosburgh