The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Today’s college students not prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, Dell says

Tate lecture season ends with computer guru
 Todays college students not prepared for tomorrows jobs, Dell says
Today’s college students not prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, Dell says

Today’s college students not prepared for tomorrow’s jobs, Dell says

‘Our education system is not doing as well as we need it to,’ said Michael Dell, chairman, founder and former CEO of Dell Computers.

Dell took part in the final Tate Lecture of the year as he was interviewed by Alan Webber of Fast Magazine at McFarland Auditorium.

‘Generations ahead are in for a wake-up call when competing for the jobs of tomorrow against a global pool of employees,’ Dell said. ‘We need to focus more on instructing technologies of the future than the past.’

Dell said he thought places like England and India could well surpass the United States.

Dell acknowledged that institutions such as SMU were diligently working to prepare the future labor force for the technological future, but it was probably too little too late.

Dell attributes his company”s phenomenal growth with its ability to change.

‘We”ve gone through a lot of change. People are prepared for it,’ Dell said.

Dell said that his company has grown faster than any other company listed with the Fortune 500. Much of that growth can be attributed to the company”s ability to change.

‘Since we are in a constant state of change, then it is fairly easy for us to change directions to meet our customers; needs,’ Dell said. ‘Other companies are resistant to change. Companies and entities that are unwilling to change will cease to be productive.’

At the same time, Dell said companies must be careful not to let success overcome them.

‘We”ve seen where other companies” success becomes a trap,’ Dell said. ‘We have had similar problems on a smaller scale, but we recognized the problem and worked to overcome it. If you grow too fast, add too much, you can go spinning out of control.’

Dell Computer Company has a reported revenue of $41.4 billion. The company was started in Dell”s dormitory room at the University of Texas at Austin in May 1984.

Dell remembers the time and the impetus to start the business. During a family vacation to London during spring break, he noted the prices people were paying for technology.

‘People were willing to pay for technology, about $3,000 for a 286 k computer that had maybe $600 worth of parts in it, none labeled as having been made by the company whose name was on the front of the computer,’ Dell said. ‘I decided to eliminate the middle man, the distributors and go direct to the customers, making them the computer they wanted for considerably less money.’

Dell quit college to spend all of his time with the new venture. He started up what he calls ‘two in a box’ thinking with Kevin Rollins, the current CEO of Dell.

‘No idea is developed alone at our company,’ Dell said. ‘We set up priorities and focus, as a company, on the most important ones first. Anyone within the company will tell you that our key principles for focus are meeting the customers” expectations, a winning culture, customization and leadership.’

Dell stated that their research and development areas were structured like some sort of an eco-system working together. Any problem that cannot be resolved within the eco-system becomes a matter of focus.

‘We are presented with new ideas all the time,’ Dell said. ‘Our R & D”s job is to focus on what benefits the customers. CNBC did a video on Dell making computers in China. The computers made in China are for use in China and Japan. Why make them here and ship them all that way? Conversely, computers for the U.S. are made in the U.S.’

A woman in the audience complained of making a call to customer service and being routed to India, on Dell”s nickel for assistance. She stated that she was on the phone for more than an hour. If she could have had an American answer her call, she would have been satisfied after 15 minutes.

‘Why not have a U.S. customer service for the U.S.?’ she asked.

‘We had a similar comment from a man about his computer. He spoke to someone in Andalusa,’ Dell said. ‘Do you know where Andalusa is? It”s in the U.S. — Andalusa, Alabama. Well the Alabama dialect aside; they are still technically within the U.S.’

Dell explained that the company doesn”t discriminate against people born outside of the United States.

‘We base our choices on qualifications. But back to the question, all calls made in the U.S. are routed to U.S. customer support personnel, unless all lines are busy. Then they are routed to the first available technician so that our customers do not have so long to wait for assistance.’

Dell stated that making technology available to the world market is a constant goal.

‘The world market is where the money is,’ Dell said, adding that 97 percent of the world population is not in the United States but that 53 percent of the world”s wealth is here.

‘We (Dell) controls about 5 percent. We want to find a way to make it 10 percent, why not 15. Then we put that money into the community. When I go to other countries and see how their students and population are growing on our technology, then I come home, I can”t help being concerned.’

Dell has started grants for education, medical care for uninsured children, and other programs.

‘I believe that people need to take more responsibility for their actions,’ Dell said. ‘We have a problem with health care in the community. It”s easy to blame it on the community itself or the government. People rarely look within to see what needs to be fixed. That is a dangerous precedent in our country. In our business, if we fail, it”s because we messed up. It”s no one else”s fault. We need more self-responsibility for things in this world. We need to quit seeking to lay blame and fix the problems.’

Dell announced that in six to seven weeks, they would begin selling Dell laser printers. They expect $1 billion in revenue from printers and supplies the first year alone.Next year, Dell, who has been working with Intel, will have servers and routers available that will have two, four, six and eight microprocessors in a single slot. The same technology will be available for desktop computers, for a price.

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