Maverick Software 2

Tristan Pizel (left) and Nicholas Lasichan work on a piece of software at Maverick Software.

Minnesota State University student Adam Schultz wanted a part-time job during the school year to help pay the bills.

A senior, Schultz also wanted some real-world experience to strengthen his resume before graduation.

A full-time summer internship in his field — management information systems — would be a plus, particularly if it was a paid gig.

Schultz ended up getting all of those things through a 13-year-old partnership between MSU’s Department of Computer Information Science and worldwide corporation Thomas Reuters.

And then ... .

“I recently was offered a job at TR,” he said. “It’s something that probably happens to half the students.”

Schultz was referring to half of the students in the “Project Maverick” program, the connection between MSU and Thomson Reuters created by Maverick Software Consulting.

A Marshall native, Schultz is happy to have a job lined up well in advance of graduation — particularly since the Thomson Reuters’ campus in Eagan will allow him to live in the Twin Cities and work with people and a company he’s already familiar with.

Schultz isn’t alone in his opinion of the partnership, which is why MSU has signed a five-year $2.88 million contract extension with Maverick Software Consulting.

Founded by MSU alumnus Chuck Sherwood, the company was created in 2006 to serve as a bridge between the public university and the private Thomson Reuters, a multinational corporation that operates a global news service and also provides specialized information to law firms, tax advisers and corporate clients.

Maverick Software now operates similar programs at four-year universities with computer science degrees across the Upper Midwest. Other corporations are involved at other universities, but Thomson Reuters has an exclusive contract at MSU and other large institutions such as the University of Minnesota and Iowa State.

“They were our first, have always been our biggest and have always been our best client,” Sherwood said of Thomson Reuters.

Currently, 16 MSU students are in the program, typically working 20 hours a week testing software under development by Thomson Reuters. When winter break arrives, they can boost their hours to 40 a week. Full-time summer internships are available, either in Eagan or at the work site on the MSU campus. And the starting wage is $13 an hour.

“They’re paid one of the highest wages on campus,” Sherwood said. “That’s not the big thing. The big thing is the experience.”

A total of 142 MSU students have been involved in the partnership during its first 13 years and all 142 got jobs in their field after graduation — 72 with Thomson Reuters.

Many are offered starting salaries in the range of $70,000, said Michael Wells, a professor in MSU’s computer information science department. And they likely went into those full-time jobs with less college debt than many of their counterparts.

Students who work the full schedule in the program earn enough money to cover tuition and room and board, Wells said.

Thomson Reuters benefits, as well, said Katie Pevan, technology director for the company.

“We get to see them and how they work,” Pevan said. “... It’s a good first look for us in how they will work with our employees. And when we have approval to hire more people, we look at this source as a unique pipeline for new employees.”

The size of the program is based on Thomson Reuters’ needs, which ebb and flow with the economy. The number of slots available has ranged from 10 to 24.

Schultz said MSU students who have done well in the required introductory computer programming classes, can communicate well and are willing to work have a strong chance to earn a slot in the program. And he knows personally where that can lead.

“It’s a great place to learn and make friends and land a job,” he said.

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