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Yale MBA dean to found Apple University

Apple will have a new program early next year called Apple University, and while it's not clear what that will entail, Yale's Joel Podolny has been tapped as its leader.

Joel Podolny will leave his position as dean of Yale's business school to join Apple in early 2009.

Apple has hired the dean of Yale's School of Management to head up a new program called Apple University.

It's not clear exactly what Joel Podolny will be working on at Apple, but a note from Yale President Richard Levin to students announcing Podolny's departure said he would be leading "educational initiatives at Apple." He'll join the company in early 2009, but Apple representatives are not commenting on what he'll have on his plate, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Apple University could encompass several things: increased marketing and distribution to college students and universities, already a bastion of Apple's customers; an expansion of a current project known as iTunesU, or an internal training program for Apple employees similar to McDonalds' famed Hamburger University. The WSJ notes that Pixar--founded by Apple CEO Steve Jobs--has a similar program in place for animators called Pixar University.

Podolny won't need any introduction to the Apple world, telling Yale students in his farewell e-mail that he's been a Mac user since the days of the Apple II. "These events are part of the fabric of my life, and I am excited to know that I will be joining an organization for which I have so much respect and enthusiasm, a company whose reputation for innovation and excellence is second to none," he wrote.