August 11, 2014
One of the best-kept secrets of Apple, which has a strong reputation for secrecy, is its internal training program, known as Apple University. But The New York Times has a new scoop-filled article out that sheds some light on this rarely written about aspect of the rather enigmatic company. For its profile of Apple University, The New York Times managed to get three unidentified Apple employees to speak about the program. "They described a program that is an especially vivid reflection of Apple and the image it presents to the world," the publication reports. "Like an Apple product, it is meticulously planned, with polished presentations and a gleaming veneer that masks a great deal of effort." Apple University was established by Steve Jobs in 2008 to help inculcate Apple's sense of culture and strategy into employees. It was devised by Joel Podolny, then the dean of Yale School of Management, who remains head of the program and also serves as chief of human resources at Apple. The program is said to run year round, with classes taught by a full-time faculty at the so-called City Center on Apple's campus. Although the courses in the program are not compulsory, new employees are apparently eager to enroll. Signing up for courses is done through an internal website, which takes enrollees' positions and backgrounds into consideration. Courses include "What Makes Apple, Apple," which highlights the ways in which Apple's design philosophy differs from any other company's, and "The Best Things," which seeks to "remind employees to surround themselves with the best things, like talented peers and high-quality materials, so that they can do their best work." Another notable course is "Communicating at Apple," which "focuses on clear communication, not just for making products intuitive, but also for sharing ideas with peers and marketing products." In a class in this course, the instructor famously (at least among those who took it) brought up Picasso's series of 11 lithographs of a bull to point out that "Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art." Read the entire article on The New York Times for a fascinating sneak peek at Apple University.