Working to meet the emerging needs of today's employers, the Management Information Systems department at the University of Arizona Eller College of Management begins seeking out candidates during their freshmen and sophomore years.
Potential candidates are awarded Zipperman Scholarships and are given opportunities for technology-based internships, training, enrollment in a pre-business elective and field trips to learn about technology needs in a variety of industries.
The Zipperman Scholarships are made possible through an industry partnership and strong support from Walt Zipperman, president of DAZ Systems, Inc.
The $100 scholarship is a recognition of the potential of more than 100 pre-business UA students who are being encouraged to become MIS majors.
"There has been a big shortage of talent in the MIS field in the last 10 to 12 years," said Paulo Goes, MIS department head. "There was an industry push for cost-cutting that led to off-shore hiring so fewer students were interested in the field because the jobs were not there."
But that was then.
Now, Goes said, jobs are abundant with employers calling the department on a weekly basis looking to fill available positions. "We cannot generate the talent to fill these positions fast enough."
Over the summer, a few Zipperman Scholars will complete internships on Eller College research projects and gain the knowledge and skills necessary for industry jobs.
Stephanie Ho, a pre-business major and honors student, was hired to work on the Zipperman website and social media platforms to make them more enticing for current and future scholars.
"I'm learning how to use Google Analytics to understand what links are being used and, through search optimization, how to enhance time per page," said Ho, who also redesigned the Zipperman logo. "I am also adding applications to the Facebook page to make it more interactive."
Melissa Gil, a pre-business and Spanish major, and Ahmed Elhag, a pre-business major, gained internships with INSITE, a new business intelligence analytics center at the Eller College. Elhag, also an honors student, is working on a promotional video for the website and implementing search engine optimization techniques to lead people who are interested in data analysis to the center.
Gil is working on optimizing INSITE's website and web applications while also developing a mobile application. She said she is excited for the opportunity to interact with the other Zipperman Scholars while learning about how MIS works in a professional environment.
Ramses Cruz-Garcia, also an honors student, is working on deception detection software for the Center for the Management of Information and for National Center for Border Security and Immigration researchers. The internship entails doing behavioral coding and analyzing nonverbal behavior during experiments, including cheating experiments and interviews following a mock crime.
The first class of Zipperman Scholars graduated last fall and the results of the program have business executives looking to offer additional support to Eller College MIS students beginning in their sophomore year.