Students and Graduate Program Series
The Students and Graduates Programs series is a collection of blog articles that focuses on the wide range of internship and graduate programs that IBM offers across the globe, highlighting key challenges and particular skills needed to be eligible for the individual programs.
In this interview, Andrea Emiliani, Business Development Executive Academia at IBM gives us some insight into IBM Middle East & Africa (MEA) University Program
First, please tell us about your role in IBM.
As the University Relations Leader for IBM Middle East and Africa, my mission is to build and manage relationships of mutual value for IBM and the academic community. I bring to the MEA region the IBM programs which support basic research, curriculum innovation, and educational assistance in various focus areas, which are fundamental to innovation in the 21st Century and that help faculty and students stay current with the IT industry.
For the past couple of years I have been focusing on developing the skills on the emerging technologies in African countries to support the technological innovation and industry demand as part of the IBM commitment to Africa.
Can you tell us more about the MEA University Program?
The IBM Middle East & Africa (MEA) University Program is IBM’s premier training and certification initiative for academia in the Africa region, preparing students to succeed in demanding positions in the IT job market today.
There is a remarkable alignment of African investments in ICT and global technology trends today. We are investing and collaborating with regional universities to establish long-term partnerships on Mobile, Cybersecurity, Analytics and Cloud – the top technologies that are driving the African ICT revolution to support an advanced business/enterprise environment. The program aims to prepare students for a career in the IT industry and provide an environment for continuous technical update.
How does the program impact the future of IBM?
We recognize that we won’t succeed long term in Africa unless we and our clients have access to a large pool of people with the skills needed for 21st century knowledge work. So over the next few years we will expand our professional and academic skills-development programs in Africa to several countries. We have already hired MEA University students for our operations in Africa and are able to help our Customers and Business Partners to hire the students who got certified on IBM technologies with our program.
How is the program helpful to MEA as a region?
Talent required for success in the global economy of the 21st century is present and growing in MEA, and many MEA Governments are playing an increasingly aggressive role in promoting innovation. IBM is committed to helping MEA build skills, organizations and infrastructure capable of supporting long-term economic expansion and by helping to foster innovation ecosystems in a number of cities.
How do students get selected for this program?
Universities are chosen based on the available technical and business degree programs they offer such as Computer Science, Computer Engineering, Information Systems, Information Technology, Software Engineering and Business programs. Students in their 3rd or 4th year are selected by the university faculty based on prerequisite skills required for the academic track.
We have a MEA University Portal where students and faculty members can access IBM Academic Roadmaps. The portal offers a unique mobile learning experience for students using comprehensive learning modules, self-assessment quizzes, progress tracking and other interactive tools.
What opportunities are there after the program? What have others gone on to do?
The MEA University program provides opportunity for students to get an insight on industry solutions, and obtain an additional qualification that can help them find a job after graduation. Upon completion, students receive an Open Badge along with a certificate for their accomplishment.
An Open Badge is a cross-industry digital recognition of technical skills which can be posted onto the earner’s social and professional networking sites. IBM Open Badges provides them with significant benefits such as; digital recognition of credentials, recognition of industry aligned skills, a globally recognized standard, and internship/job opportunities at IBM.
Tell us about the students and Universities the IBM MEA University program has reached so far?
So far, the MEA University Program has reached out to 70 universities, trained 2,600 faculty members and 14,000 students in Africa. We hope to increase these figures by continuously working with the regional IBM offices across Africa to provide opportunities for the program alumni. This year alone, we hired 24 MEAU alumni, in various departments respective to the skillset of our candidates.
Andrea Emiliani is Business Development Executive Academia at IBM.
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