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Tech Talk: 2nd Annual IS Summit Showcases Industry Opportunities for Students

April 1, 2008

Over 450 students participated in the 2nd annual IS Summit held Thursday, March 27, at the Cashion Academic Center at Baylor University's Hankamer School of Business. The department of Management Information Systems hosted the Summit, which focused on career opportunities for Baylor MIS students.

Such opportunities are plenty. Demand for IS professionals is at an all-time high as companies continue to invest more money in technology, according to CIO Insight and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data. The information systems field is forecasted as one of the fastest growing occupational sectors between now and 2016.

Top recruiting companies for Baylor MIS graduates collaborated with the university by sponsoring the Summit: ConocoPhillips, McLane Advanced Technologies, Protiviti and USAA.

Bill Baker, manager of strategic staffing at ConocoPhillips and Baylor business alumnus, participated in his second year of recruiting at the IS Summit.

"Our company recruits MIS majors from several different universities, and many of these other universities want to know what Baylor is doing," Baker said. "The IS Summit is beneficial to students because information is shared to break down the myths of MIS majors and discuss job opportunities created through innovation in the technology market."

As part of the IS Summit, undergraduate students enrolled in MIS 1305, Introduction to Information Technology and Processing, participated in the IS Summit Challenge. Competing teams of four to six students created marketing presentations in which they highlighted the benefits of an IS career working for the sponsoring companies. The top six presentation teams received $1,000. More importantly, by learning about opportunities at the Summit, MIS graduates are landing jobs.

Mike Renouf, IT manager of USAA and Baylor business alumnus, said his team enjoyed the interaction with the students from their alma mater.

"USAA was honored to be a part of the 2008 IS Summit," Renouf said. "The USAA team, which included seven Baylor alumni, truly enjoyed interacting with Baylor students during this event. We appreciated the opportunity to spend time with the students and to discuss the future of Baylor MIS."

The Summit has proven to be a success backed by statistical evidence of increasing student interest and departmental involvement.

"Since last year's Summit, enrollment in Baylor's IS department has increased by 100 percent," said Dr. Hope Koch, assistant professor of Information Systems. "This is at a time when the U.S. is producing more Sports, Sponsorship and Sales majors, and IS departments at other universities are shutting down."

Ian McCracken, a senior MIS major, will begin working for Protiviti upon graduation in May. He interned for the company last summer and helped promote this year's Summit as director of public relations for the Association of Information Technology Professionals (AITP), a campus group for students planning careers in IS or related professions.

"There is definitely an increasing demand for IS majors," McCracken said. "As a graduating senior, I think it's our responsibility to help out our peers by hosting events like the Summit."

Students like McCracken are vital in the advancement of the MIS program. Along with faculty efforts, the students organized and promoted the Summit, using their knowledge of how to appeal to each other.

"All of the MIS students helped spread the word about the Summit on campus," said junior Eric Leite, president of AITP. "They were the energy that really fueled and promoted the event."

After last year's Summit, Leite secured an internship with ConocoPhillips for this summer. He also previously interned with USAA.

Baylor MIS students not only look toward success in a thriving industry, but also help bridge the communication gap as technology becomes an increasingly important part of life.

"Many students I have talked to say they show their parents how to work computer programs and other devices," Baker said. "With an aging demographic, these students are becoming an important link between a problem and a solution in the business world."

For a listing of student award winners and IS Summit photos, visit the event Web site at http://aitp.baylor.edu/issummit/index.html.

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