Do you love Apple products?  Do you love the crisp, clean look of the packaging that contains your new iPad or MacBook?  You should like it, because it was done on purpose.

Written before Steve Jobs died, Adam Lashinsky’s book “Inside Apple” discusses how Steve Jobs and Apple Inc. methodically, and often painfully, approached the design of their new products. Furthermore, Lashinsky wisely captures how much time Steve Jobs and his staff spent on the design and presentation of the packaging that contained the newly developed products.  The process of opening the packaging and the ease of use were some of the critical components that have inevitably helped Apple’s products become so successful today.

If someone has an interest in learning about the design of packaging, or the science and technology of packaging, they should turn to Michigan State University’s School of Packaging and the Center for Packaging Innovation and Sustainability.  The program, established in the 1950’s, has become a leader throughout the world and currently has about 500 undergraduate and 90 graduate students in the School of Packaging.

The School of Packaging offers the following degrees:

There is no doubt this is a unique program, and one that is critical to the success of many products.  There is no doubt Steve Jobs took packaging seriously, and I think Michigan State University’s School of Packaging does as well.  To check out their video, click below.

Intelligence Studies

For my first entry, I’ve selected a program because it is a one-of-a-kind program. Furthermore, it’s one of the few programs I’ve encountered that will be relevant well into the future.

Mercyhurst University’s Department of Intelligence Studies is the brainchild of Robert J. Heibel, the Executive Director of the Mercyhurst University’s Institute of Intelligence Studies (MCIIS).  It was Mr. Heibel’s vision and perseverance that allowed Mercyhurst’s unique program to become a leader in preparing undergraduate and graduate students for employment as intelligence analysts.

When I worked in Mercyhurst’s Undergraduate Admissions Office, we’d often tell students and parents this was not the program for students who were afraid to learn.  It’s not a program for students interested in bursting through a door, with guns ready to fire, prepared to kill any “bad” person in the room.  Instead, the undergraduate and graduate programs maintain a curriculum designed to prepare students who enjoy learning and thinking critically about the world around them.

According to the Intelligence Studies website, a successful candidate will posses:

  • Reading competency in a foreign language.
  • Analytical skills that are applicable to the national security, law enforcement, and business communities.
  • A broad understanding of world and American history and politics.
  • The ability to produce written and oral reports and assessments based on research, correlation, and analysis.
  • A familiarity with computer operations, database management, and analytical software.
  • General understanding of statistics, finance, and general techniques.

The Intelligence Studies curriculum is very appealing to many students, and the anticipated curriculum is unique.