What is Apple University and Why More Companies Should Follow Suit?
In early 2014, Fortune/ CNN Money declared Apple as the world’s most admired company in their top 50 list in early 2014. In Mar 2014, Brand Finance declared Apple the most valuable billion dollar brand in the world. Apple is also currently the world’s top company in terms of market valuation. Under CEO Tim Cook, the company has been enjoying record sales in mobile device categories.
While those who knew him would say that now deceased Apple co-founder Steve Jobs was not big on things like succession planning, some would say that Cook’s feat would not be possible without a succession plan — one which analysts and ex-insiders say included a number of product ideas. The plan also included an internal educational initiative — known as Apple University — reputedly to enable the company executives to learn to function like him after his passing.
Apple is not the first company to have a corporate campus. Pixar, another company founded by Jobs (and sold in 2006 for $7.5B to Disney), has its own Pixar University. Much further back in time, GE (General Electric) had a corporate campus. IBM is well-known for encouraging learning amongst employees, as are other large companies. Why have a corporate campus for employees? The primary reason is talent retention. Apple has lost engineers and a number of top executives — many of whom worked directly with Steve Jobs.