[EAS] Business.edu

pjk pjk at design.eng.yale.edu
Wed Jun 16 16:19:43 EDT 2004

Subject:   Business.edu

Dear Colleagues -

A number of writers on business, Charles Handy perhaps most notably,
have commented that universities will become more like corporations,
and that more corporations will emulate universities. No, not like
MacDonald's Hamburger University, more like this item about Google,
where the "junior faculty" have a day/week off for "doing their own
thing". This then is the antipode to my recent "University, Inc."


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(from INNOVATION, 16 June 2004)

Randall Stross, an historian of technology, thinks that Google's
success in  the search business comes largely from its practice of
hiring a lot of  Ph.D.s, treating them well, integrating them into
the general workforce,  and encouraging them to use 20% of their
time on their own hand-picked  projects. In Stross's judgment,
Google co-founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page assembled "the
industry's most unorthodox portfolio of human capital" and then
organized it "around the insight that top talent likes to work with
other top talent, tackling interesting problems of their own
choice."  Stanford computer science professor Rajeev Motwani
comments approvingly: "Good Ph.D. students are extreme in their
creativity and self-motivation. Master's students are equally smart
but do not have the same drive to create something new." However,
by no means do all companies agree with the Google approach; for
example, Microsoft's mainstream recruiting remains focused on
undergraduates and master's candidates. Chief college recruiting 
director Kristen Roby says, "We're not heavy into Ph.D. recruiting.
We're  huge believers in hiring potential." Alluding to the demands
imposed by  regular software release cycles, Roby says that computer
science Ph.D.s are "less likely to find someone with the desire to
work on projects that will ship every 24 or 36 months." (New York
Times 6 Jun 2004)

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