Student-run coffee shops are a common sight on college campuses, but Creighton University is getting a student-run business no one else has: an authorized Apple reseller. Currently dubbed “iJay” after the Nebraska school’s bluejay mascot, the store represents a partnership between Apple and Creighton’s College of Business, and will open next week with students behind the counter.
Students will have opportunities to be involved in several capacities: Some will work in the 1,000-square-foot store as paid employees, some will enroll in a class that makes higher-level managerial decisions for the store with faculty guidance, and others will work towards Apple certification to repair Apple products and train students and faculty how to use them.
Those students enrolled in the store’s accompanying class will participate in a practicum course with a focus on analysis and decision making. The class will be supervised by Creighton faculty, but the goals will be the same as those of any business: to make standard operating decisions that generate cash flow.
“At Creighton, we have med students with a medical clinic, pharmacy students with a pharmacy clinic, and law students with a law clinic. So to some extent, this is kind of a clinic experience for business students,” says Anthony Hendrickson, dean of the College of Business.
Professor Tim McMahon, who was instrumental in getting the store up and running, says he first started working on the “iJay” store in January. “We submitted a proposal, and Apple liked it,” McMahon says. “We then went through a pretty rigorous process, both at our university as well as the Apple company itself.” It was hard work, but McMahon says students have a lot to gain. “We are a business college, and it [Apple] is one of those most successful businesses in the world.”
The store won’t be connected to Creighton’s bookstore and will operate as a part of Creighton’s 501c3 nonprofit. It’s also not a traditional Apple Store. But the company is working closely with the school on everything from products, to displays, to training and store layout. “We’ll have all the functions and features [of an Apple Store],” McMahon says of the new store. “Ours is not a ‘genius bar,’ but every one of our employees will be Apple-trained and -certified.”
Alexander Price, a rising senior and marketing major, says he can’t wait to work in the new store. “How often do students get to work for one of the biggest companies in the world right in the heart of their small campus?”
Apple declined to comment on whether or not there are plans to open similar student-run stores at other schools.