MBA students at Wilfrid Laurier University are about to become the first in the country issued BlackBerry smartphones as a mandatory course requirement.
Graduating student Josh Siegel said the initiative, which provides all full-time MBA students starting in August 2009 with the mobile devices, is a great opportunity he’s sorry to miss out on.
“Having that ability to integrate that into the MBA program is phenomenal,” said the president of the school’s MBA Student Society.
Having all your course materials pre-loaded into a mobile device — it will just make life that much easier, he added.
The 26-year-old was part of the working world before attending Laurier and said he knows the importance of being connected.
“Coming out of the MBA program, absolutely everyone is going to be in some sort of position where you need to be comfortable with mobile technology,” he said.
Ginny Dybenko is the dean of Laurier’s School of Business and Economics and it was her decision to give the idea a trial run.
A delegate from Mexico’s Tecnologicó de Monterrey came for a visit and told her the tech school was already experimenting with BlackBerrys in the classroom.
“So I said, ‘My gosh, we’re right here in the city, we have to do that,’” Dybenko said.
As part of the community where BlackBerry’s creator Research In Motion (RIM) grew up, the career businesswoman felt it would only make sense for a Waterloo school to be the first in the country adding the device to its programs.
Students will initially be able to access about 30 per cent of course material through their BlackBerrys; next, the school hopes to use the mobile devices to simplify administrative tasks such as course registration; and finally, Dybenko said she hopes to see some of the students developing applications relevant to the program.
In its pilot year, the smartphones will be free, Dybenko said.