It wasn’t a trip down memory lane that brought Diane Schwarz to her alma mater, the University of Notre Dame, last week. The global CIO of Textron, a $14 billion maker of anything from helicopter engines to golf carts was looking toward the future – specifically, to cultivate potential hires in computer science and other crucial areas.
Schwarz spent three days in South Bend, Indiana, for the school’s career fair, explaining to students that Textron is a desirable place to work. “When it’s college recruiting time, it’s all hands on deck and we’re going out and building relationships with universities to fill our pipelines,” says Schwarz, who became the company’s global CIO in 2013, told CIO.com. “I have to be out there convincing computer science majors why working for corporate IT is going to be just as fulfilling as working out in Silicon Valley,” Schwarz says.
Schwarz’ challenge is great in an era where Facebook, Google as well as smaller Internet companies such as Box, Uber and Airbnb are commanding the attention of students, particularly those in the highly coveted STEM fields. These companies offer graduates the potential to work on anything from driverless cars to bleeding-edge predictive analytics projects. The allure of innovation, relatively free from the bureaucracy of corporate IT departments, has made it difficult for global companies to recruit employees. That’s why it’s imperative for more traditional companies such as 92-year-old Textron to target prospective talent early at U.S. universities and colleges.