San Francisco Advantage

USF and Salesforce: An Academic Alliance

New graduate and undergraduate program educating students about cloud computing through CRM

by School of Management

Salesforce and University of San Francisco (USF) School of Management (SOM) are working together to give students the opportunity to graduate with in-demand skills. Dean Elizabeth Davis spoke at Dreamforce on September 15, 2015 about the newly formed Academic Alliance with Salesforce, the number one customer relationship management (CRM) app.

Through this partnership, a graduate and undergraduate program have been created to educate individuals on a domestic and global level about cloud computing through CRM.

“Our mission is really to produce this next generation of business and organizational leaders who are really committed to being socially responsible, develop an entrepreneurial mindset and to develop a skill set to be very data driven,” Davis said during her speech.

The graduate program includes graduate students and alumni, who recently participated in a pilot program that prepared them on social media and marketing aspects. Since it was so successful, USF has been asked to replicate this program in several other major cities.

“We have about 2,300 undergrads in the business school, so what we’ve developed with the Academic Alliance is a winter session that will certify roughly 100 of our undergraduates in the admin section,” said Davis. This program will go live this January and students will be able to sign up upon their registration date.

According to Salesforce, last year over 100,000 jobs demanding Salesforce skills were made. Because of this astronomical number, USF’s goal is to educate and prepare students to gain the right skillsets that workplaces are asking for. Davis thinks, without doing this, there will be an even bigger gap in the workplace.

From my perspective as a dean, one of the things that is essential is to prepare this generation to walk right through the door and be able to function in the workplace, so this kind of program and this kind of academic alliance is really only the beginning,” said Davis.

Similarly, Salesforce’s end goal is to allow universities to educate their students on the exact programs that they educate their customers, partners and employees on to ensure leaders of the next generation standout.

“What excited me about the Academic Alliance program at USF is we’re going to be able to teach our students before they graduate, key skills that make them marketable in the industry, and that is going to lead to better internships for them as well as higher employment potential,” said Opinder Bawa, Vice President & CIO, USF.

With USF having access to the same training elements Salesforce uses for their customers and partners success, students can feel more empowered to find jobs and opportunities in cloud computing. This is important for generations to come because in 2025, 60% of all computing will be in the cloud.

Staying relevant, Davis said, is very important for educators in order to create opportunities that include experiential learning and hands on work for students through the theory of practice.

“One of the reasons we were so interested is this is on the front edge of that [analytics] wave and this kind of certification really will give our students the deep analytics preparation that’s going to be required,” said Davis.

She believes the USF SOM stands out amongst the rest because the group of leaders for this next generation are able to transform data into knowledge and knowledge action in order to change the world from here.

This partnership has created an opportunity for students to work with a thriving company such as Salesforce who share the same philosophies USF has.

“How exciting could it be to arrive in San Francisco as the new Dean of the School of Management and to pair the oldest university in San Francisco with the youngest standard setter and the largest employer, both engaged in building this academic alliance producing business leaders for the next generation,” Davis said. “It doesn’t get much more exciting than that."

By Brandi Licciardo