Corporate partnerships help start careers
Continuing an increasing trend of interaction between academic programs at MSU and outside companies, the game design and development specialization — which recently was ranked as one of the best programs in the country by the Princeton Review for the second consecutive time — has added a new corporate partner.
Pixo Entertainment, a video game development company based in Southfield, Mich., recently was announced as the specialization’s third partner.
Associate professor of game design Brian Winn said Pixo Entertainment will act as a client and work with students in the last course of the specialization to complete a project sponsored and designed by the company.
“Any resources we need to achieve the product are provided by the client,” Winn said. “It has definitely led toward jobs and internships with the companies that have been involved.”
Pixo Entertainment Chief Executive Officer Sean Hurwitz said he wanted to partner with the program at MSU because of prior successes working with Winn’s students. The company now employs two MSU alumni full time and plans to continue to foster a relationship with MSU students by bringing staff members to campus and giving them feedback, he said.
“We’re looking to grow our company and really grow the industry here in Michigan,” Hurwitz said. “So when (students are) graduating they can go somewhere in state to work on games and development.”
Bringing outside companies in to work with specific programs or majors is not exclusive to the game design and development specialization.
Vivian Leung, interim director of development for the Eli Broad College of Business, said there are numerous corporate partners in virtually every program within the college, including Proctor & Gamble, which has a research partnership with the supply chain management department.
“We have so many, I wouldn’t even know where to start,” Leung said.
Companies provide support ranging from sponsoring tailgates before football games to presenting as part of the curriculum in classes, she said. Leung said the sales communication specialization, which is a joint program with the College of Communication Arts and Sciences, primarily was created because of the demand from companies and employers that work with the business college and wanted students with a specific set of skills.
“(Employers) continue to come back. They continue to work with us to try and find ways to hire more students,” she said. “It’s really a great thing we have to be able to have these corporate relationships.”
The College of Engineering also has corporations sponsor various projects and endeavors within its programs, such as two floors in East Wilson Hall that are sponsored by General Electric Co. and Consumers Energy beginning last semester as a part of the Engineering Residential Experience.
Computer science junior Dan Sosnowski, who is in the game design and development specialization, said the real-life experience these partners provide to students is very beneficial when it comes to finding a job. He said he knows of other students that have been offered internships by some of the program’s corporate partners.
“As a programmer, (employers) might look at my grades and the classes I’ve taken to get a general idea,” Sosnowski said. “But, really, it comes down to what’s in your portfolio and whether you can prove you have the skills.”