The New York Times has just dug up one of the best kept secrets of Apple, the ‘Apple University’, which according to the details revealed by the publication, is company’s secretive internal training program established by Steve Jobs himself to educate employees about Apple’s business culture and its history. Courses are not required and getting new employees to enroll is “rarely a problem”, says the source.
The report highlights that contrary to similar internal programs by other companies, which are sometimes referred to as “indoctrination”, Apple’s version is “a topic of speculation and fascination in the tech world”. The highly secretive and rarely written about program was also referred to briefly in the Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs. On an internal website available only to Apple staff members, employees sign up for courses tailored to their positions and backgrounds.
Apple employees are discouraged from talking about the company in general, and the classes are no exception. No pictures of the classrooms have surfaced publicly. And a spokeswoman for Apple declined to make instructors available for interviews for this article. But three employees who have taken classes agreed to speak to The New York Times on the condition that they not be identified. They described a program that is an especially vivid reflection of Apple and the image it presents to the world. Like an Apple product, it is meticulously planned, with polished presentations and a gleaming veneer that masks a great deal of effort.
“Even the toilet paper in the bathrooms is really nice,” one of the employees said.
The program was devised by Joel Podolny, then the dean of Yale School of Management. Jobs selected him when the program was founded, in 2008, and he remains head of the effort. The classes are taught on Apple’s campus in a section of buildings called City Center and are as thoughtfully planned as an Apple product.
You can read the whole article with lots of interesting revelations about Apple University at this link.