IBM’s Smarter Planet Comes to You tour comes to you

By Jennifer Kang

Baylor will be the first of nine schools to kick off IBM’s Smarter Planet Comes to You University Tour on Tuesday at the Cashion Academic Center.

The tour aims to help students understand there is a growing demand for highly-skilled workers due to current workforce conditions: the best jobs are toughening their requirements. IBM is also integrating the idea that students need to build a smarter planet by creative thinking and applying technology in new ways in order to solve business problems.

The tour will host a Smarter Planet Scavenger Hunt, in which students will have the opportunity to win up to $200 for each member of a two-person team. In order to compete, students must register online.

According to Tim Willeford, global communications leader at IBM, the universities that were chosen to participate are already engaged and have dialogues about sustainability and solving complex problems with logical analysis.

“In all cases, we are excited to share IBM’s Smarter Planet strategy with future leaders of the technology and business world through technology demonstrations and discussions and other real-world examples and case studies of how IBM is helping to build a smarter planet,” said Willeford in an email to The Lariat.

Dr. Andrea Dixon, the executive director of the Keller Center for Research and the Center for Professional Selling, said this is a great way for all students on campus to learn more about the different ways they can develop the right skills to enter the workforce and set themselves apart from the competition.

“IBM is sponsoring this university tour and they handpicked a set of schools this year to help students understand what it means to compete and differentiate themselves,” Dixon said. “But at the same time, this helps students work for a more sustainable planet, while working in the context of technology changes and environmental changes and so forth.”

Daniele O. Coper, marketing program execution manager at IBM, thinks this is an excellent way for all students of any major, undergraduate or graduate, to come together and learn more about creating a smarter planet.

“The scavenger hunt will have about 30 questions where students get clues on their cell phones that deal with how to make a smarter planet,” Coper said in a conference call on Sept. 7. “At the end of all of this, we will have a discussion for students on what employers are looking for when they hire students and what skills they should have to differentiate themselves from others.”

By the end of this event IBM hopes to show that students need to take an initiative to develop skills further because companies today are demanding more from employees.

“Part of the objective of this event is to show students examples of the current marketplace and make it real for students to realize that they live in a smarter planet,” Coper said.

The tour will feature four IBM skill zones that students can choose to attend: the job zone, the skills zone, the gaming zone and the expert zone. Students will also be able to meet with representatives and discuss job opportunities and find out more about other resources that IBM has to offer during the tour.