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George Vlahakis

Margaret Garrison
Kelley School of Business

Last modified: Thursday, September 5, 2002

Cisco Systems CEO donates $1 million to Kelley School to establish innovative internship program

John Chambers, one of the most successful chief executives in American business today, has donated $1 million to Indiana University's Kelley School of Business to establish a unique internship program that will provide MBA students with the rare opportunity to work alongside a CEO in all phases of a company's operations.

The Chambers internship program will provide for eight MBA students to work 10-12 weeks with a chief operating officer, chief information officer or CEO at an emerging company. The students will be involved in all phases of company operations and in projects that are innovative, entrepreneurial and of value to the company.

"Mr. Chambers is providing a program without precedent," said Dan R. Dalton, dean of the Kelley School. "We are deeply grateful for his generosity, which will establish an opportunity for many young men and women to pursue their dreams in an entrepreneurial setting."

The new program will enable students to work inside an entrepreneurial organization at its earliest stages of development and see closely how it develops from concepts. It also will afford them with more responsibilities and experiences than they would have at more traditional internships.

Chambers, president and CEO of Cisco Systems, earned a master of business administration degree in finance and management from IU in 1976. He also has a faculty chair at IU that is dedicated exclusively to the study of the Internet and related networking systems. The gift came to the university through the Chambers Family Charitable Trust at the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund.

To place students and encourage companies and organizations to participate in the program, interns' salaries will be subsidized from the earnings of an endowment, up to $2,000 a month. Host companies will match that amount. Students also will receive course credit and the prestige of being named a Chambers intern.

"With the increasing trend for MBAs to target a career niche, the Chambers Internship Program affords an attractive funding feature, which assists both the student and employer," said Dick McCracken, director of graduate career services in the Kelley School.

"The MBA student can target a high-tech or start-up business, using the prestige of the Chambers Internship to make a compelling case for a summer position," McCracken said. "It benefits the employer directly, as the summer wage is shared through the endowed gift. Employers benefit through adding premier MBA talent, taking advantage of shared risk."

Dalton added that the program should help the school encourage MBA graduates to stay in Indiana and work at many of the high-potential entrepreneurial companies that are increasingly valuable to the state's economy.

The Kelley School expects to offer eight Chambers Internship opportunities in its initial year. As Chambers Interns make positive impressions in the work place, the Kelley School will additionally benefit through new employer contacts with growth companies.

The interns must be first-year MBA students who are majoring in information systems, entrepreneurship or e-business. They will be selected on the basis of their business experience, demonstrated leadership, cross-functionality, entrepreneurial spirit and desire to work in the high-tech industry. A committee of faculty from the school's Johnson Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation and its departments of management and accounting and information systems will select the successful candidates.

Chambers is president and CEO of Cisco Systems, the worldwide leader of networking for the Internet. Since January 1995, when he assumed this position, Chambers has grown the company from $1.2 billion in annual revenues to its current run-rate of approximately $20 billion. In the last year alone, Cisco saved more than $1.7 billion due to productivity increases from Internet business solutions, and gained more market share than all of its competitors combined.

Chambers joined Cisco in 1991 as senior vice president, worldwide sales and operations. Prior to joining Cisco, Chambers spent eight years at Wang Laboratories and six years with IBM. Chambers also holds a law degree and bachelor of science/bachelor of arts degree in business from West Virginia University.

In 2000, Chambers' friends and colleagues contributed more than $1.2 million to establish an endowed chair in his honor at the Kelley School. It was one of the first endowed faculty chairs in the country to be dedicated exclusively to the study of the Internet and related networking systems.

The Kelley School of Business, through more than 80 years of innovation, continues to maintain its visibility as one of the country's premier business schools. Its undergraduate program is ranked among the top 10 in the country. Its MBA program has been cited in Business Week as one of the favorites of corporate recruiters looking for general managers, marketing talent and finance graduates.

Other definitive publications, including U.S. News & World Report, Money and Princeton Review, have recognized various Kelley programs as among the best. The school's doctoral program, which also contributes to overall teaching and research excellence, has sent more than 1,000 doctoral graduates to key positions in industry and academe.