For Sven Aelterman, information technology director for Troy University’s Sorrell College of Business, the amount of business in Sorrell Solutions, LLC is just about right.
Currently, the non-profit company has just one client, Works!, an umbrella organization of medical providers running immunization clinics in schools.
“Sorrell Solutions provides business services,” Aelterman said. “That’s broad, but our goal is involve students in real-world projects.”
For the real world, that initial project means tracking immunizations on a large scale. With the aid of a series of students, Aelterman developed and maintains that tracking solution on the Microsoft Azure cloud. Azure allows Sorrell Solutions to concentrate on the development and maintenance of the specific solution itself.
Utilizing the School’s collaborative classroom brings the business to TROY students, where students can overcome being bound to the campus.
“So many students simply cannot travel to take part in an internship, yet they still need the real-world experience, so the LLC gives them a platform to gain the real-world, updated skills they need when they enter the workforce,” said Aelterman.
Student engagement is really what the initiative is about. Aelterman says there’s no specific qualification for students to be employed by Sorrell Solutions – they can come from undergraduate studies, workship students or graduate assistants.
“A key pillar of the GEEKS program is engagement. The LLC provides that link from the classroom to the working world,” he said. GEEKS is a Sorrell College of Business campaign to produce students who are globally aware, engaged with the business community, who are ethical decision makers, are knowledgeable to compete and who are, ultimately, successful.
Current graduate assistant Anes Madani agrees. The Algerian-born computer science master’s student said, at first, he was just concerned with just finding a paying job on campus.
“As I got into it, it was interesting – especially working with the Microsoft products not found in Algeria,” he said. “I think it gives me skills to get a job when I complete my degree.
Building those skills will continue for students. Aelterman sees growth beyond a single client in the near future, as word of the College’s export industry continues to circulate.
“We’re not marketing it any – it’s been word-of-mouth up to this point,” he said, noting Works! was steered toward the Sorrell College by trustee’s president pro-tem Gerald Dial, and the possibility of a legal services project was delivered via an alumnus who attended a Global Azure Bootcamp program Aelterman headed up on the Troy Campus. Yet another potential project is on the table with a contractor working on a U.S. Air Force project.
“The business is a good fit for our students, and I feel like the process is at the point to take on additional clients,” Aelterman said. “We’re not in it to make money, but to help businesses overcome obstacles to their own success.”
Funds raised through the company pay expenses – including student salaries – and any left-over goes to support scholarships.