Dell CFO Meets with Ross School Students
James Schneider: "Donít take a job unless you would be willing to buy the companyís stock."
ANN ARBOR, Mich.—Dell Inc., as a young company, is not bound by old habits. It is able to move quickly, James Schneider, senior vice president and CFO, recently told 20 University of Michigan business and engineering students.
Dellís agility also is linked to the care it takes in hiring. Schneider personally looks for employees who are smart and ask questions, are willing to take on different roles and are assertive. "If youíre passive, youíll get lost in the shuffle," he predicted.
The lunch for Dell representatives and students at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business was part of a day-long visit that included meetings with faculty, a tour of the John R. and Georgene M. Tozzi Electronic Business and Finance Center and a presentation by Dell to prospective interns and employees.
Dell recruits a large number of interns and graduates from the Ross School and the College of Engineering and is a strong supporter of the Tauber Manufacturing Institute and the schoolís Multidisciplinary Action Projects. The University also is a big Dell customer; it bought more than $17 million of Dell equipment in FY 2005.
When Schneider hires experienced people, one in four is hired for a different job than the one for which the person interviewed. Schneider said he wants to be able to envision each new hire in a progressively more responsible job. Although he knows not every new hire will stay with Dell, his goal is to provide experiences that help people build their resumes, said Schneider, who oversees all controller functions, corporate planning, tax, treasury operations, investor relations, corporate development, real estate, risk management and development of internal audits.
"Donít take a job unless you would be willing to buy the companyís stock," he advises and, he added, "You have to be able to deal with ambiguity. Things change all the time."
Talking about globalization, Schneider said 60 percent of Dellís customers are in the United States ó an information technology market that is dwarfed by the world market, he noted. Ideally, Dell will continue to expand internationally so the domestic market represents only about 35 percent of the firmís customer base, Schneider said.
Because of his work schedule, Schneider usually visits only one college campus each year. Among the Dell executives who accompanied Schneider to Ann Arbor were Ross School alumni B. J. Furse, MBA í98, Christopher Kleiman, MBA í96, and William Muir, MBA í97.
For more information, contact:
Mary Jo Frank