Inside the newest building on campus sits an electronic haven stocked with the advancements of the 21st century and staffed by students with a passion for technology.

While the rest of the university community relies on University Information Services, the McDonough School of Business Technology Center provides technology solutions for business school undergraduate students and MBA students.

SB Chief Technology Officer John Carpenter said the business school needs to have its own technology center in order to retain an edge over its peers.

“There are a lot of things that the school of business has to do to compete with other business schools across the nation and in the world, and some of those things are technology,” Carpenter said. “It’s the same thing for the Medical Center. It’s the same thing for the Law [Center].”

Carpenter has the final say on all technology matters in the business school. MSB students, faculty and staff know him as Carp, even though his gruff demeanor and abrupt email replies seem to belie the familiarity his nickname creates.

A former Navy pilot who specialized in Navy Technical Intelligence, Carpenter describes himself as “real old,” though he says the undergraduate student staff keeps him abreast of changing uses for technology since his arrival 17 years ago.

The MSB had a tech center before the rest of the university did, according to Carpenter. In its early years, it provided networking for the university and email for all faculty and staff. At the time Carpenter was hired, the MSBTC specialized in technology for business school students that no one else could provide, a condition that still exists today.

Despite his high praise for the tech center’s capabilities, Carpenter hesitated to comment on where technology for the MSBTC is headed. He gave examples, however, of projects that are under consideration.

One such venture is the rollout of Dropbox, an online service that automatically syncs a user’s files across computers, which students could use to work on projects or share group class work. He noted, though, that the Dropbox project was in the earliest of stages and could end up going nowhere. The idea for the project came about after chats with a student staff member.

Undergraduate students who work at MBSTC hail from every school except the School of Nursing and Health Studies and span a variety of majors. Each academic year, a round of new staff is hired. New hires get basic training and then specialize in one of four areas: technology and desk services, audio/visual services, web development or training other staff. Most students specialize in technology and A/V, according to Talia Hamlin (COL ’11), who has worked in the MSBTC since her freshman year.

Hamlin, far from being a computer science geek, majors in anthropology. After a few years on the job, Hamlin is comfortable at the tech center – she casually chats with Carp, she has seen full-time staff members come and go, and most significantly, she saw the transition from the MSBTC’s old homes in the Car Barn and Riverside classrooms to their sleek new Rafik B. Hariri Building headquarters.

“It’s changed so much since I started here and gotten so much more professional,” Hamlin said, noting the uniform blue shirts staff members are now required to wear.

The professional polo does not stop Hamlin from nonchalantly greeting full-time staff members, however.

The lighthearted atmosphere does not interfere with customer service and any time a lost-looking or frustrated MSB student approaches the tech center window, the conversation halts and a student staffer tackles the problem.

Joining Hamlin on one shift were MSBTC staff Ishita Kohli (SFS ’13) and Michael Crouch (MSB ’13).

All three are international students. Hamlin is from Madrid, Spain, Kohli comes from Dubai and India, and Crouch hails from South Africa. They laughed when they realized they all were international students working together and admitted that it was not the norm.

They were not sure what drew all of them to work at the tech center.

“Maybe international students like technology,” Talia said.

“Or maybe we need the money,” Kohli added.

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