AIMS connects students with major companies

AIMS connects students with major companies

Mark Hammontree

Students interested in pursuing a career in information sciences and information management can develop their skills and gain exposure to major companies through the Alabama Information Management Society.

AIMS is The University of Alabama’s organization for students in the MIS program and any other students, undergraduate- or graduate-level, that are interested in pursuing careers in information management.

“The Alabama Information Management Society’s purpose is educating its members on opportunities within the field of IT, as well as providing an idea for areas of professional development while still in college to help them land their dream job,” Joshua Douglas, president of AIMS, said.

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Douglas said more than 400 students are members of the organization that acts as an umbrella for several more specific MIS groups including Women in Information Technology, an LGBT group and the Capstone Minority Information System Society, among others.

Douglas said these groups are able to bring in companies to their own events to allow for more personalized interactions with students.

“They will have the organizations present not only general issues about the profession, but also things that are relevant specifically to their group,” David Hale, director of MIS programs, said.

AIMS is also the University’s chapter of the Association for Information Systems, a national organization for college information programs, of which AIMS is a founding member, Hale said. AIMS, which is known as UA-AIS at national events, was recognized as the “Distinguished Chapter” in 2012 and has been first runner-up multiple years, Douglas said.

In 2013, UA-AIS co-hosted the International AIS Leadership Conference in Arkansas with Walmart, and Douglas said the conference could potentially be held in Tuscaloosa next year.

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As an organization, AIMS holds multiple events every semester to help prepare students for the job market including professional development workshops organized by faculty members from the MIS department.

In addition to the workshops that are held at the beginning and end of each semester, AIMS also hosts weekly meetings during which representatives from national companies give presentations and information about the roles available to college students and recent graduates. Following the presentation, the representatives will often collect resumes and interact with students.

“Having these meetings allow members to see what companies they may be a fit for and want to learn more about,” Douglas said. “Also, providing an opportunity for networking with these companies, members can set themselves apart and potentially gain an interview for an internship or full-time opportunity. These events have helped the MIS program continue its record for virtually 100 percent job placement over the past 15 years.”

Douglas said the companies, which have included Walmart, AutoZone, Price Waterhouse Cooper and, most recently, Proctor & Gamble, often send high-level executives to these events, and students historically had great success finding internships or jobs as a result of these meetings.

“From a career aspect, the most memorable moments are the company executives letting us know what a quality education and experience we are getting through the UA-MIS program and that we are a year ahead of our peers from other universities at graduation, that they are here to get more of us and that they expect to pay above the market average for us,” Douglas said.

AIMS also puts emphasis on having fun and creating a family atmosphere among its members rather than solely focusing on career preparedness and networking. AIMS and its subgroups organize various events open to all students to help promote interest in AIMS and camaraderie among members.

“There are also a large number of AIMS-sponsored intramural sports teams, a Toastmasters club and a social organization that handles fall tailgating on the Quad, bowling nights and opening and closing of the semester barbecues,” Douglas said.

AIMS will be holding an open house Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. in the AIME building for any students interested in learning more about the organization or the MIS program.

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