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From the Classroom to a Corporation (Part 1)

Short Background:


I’m going to be a senior at Grand Valley State University this coming fall, going for a BBA in Management Information Systems (MIS).  At Grand Valley, we use SAP to further our learning of business processes within the classroom.  This means I don’t have the technical programming background that other people reading this might have, but I’m always willing to learn!  This summer I have been given a great opportunity interning as an SAP Business Analyst at Perrigo.


Class Room:


Each business major going through Grand Valleys Curriculum is required to take the introductory MIS class.  This class introduces SAP and we learn how some of the business processes can be tied directly to an ERP system.  After the introductory class, there is another business process course covering 5-6 modules in SAP ERP.  Then the diehard SAP students (like me) take a configuration and ABAP course. (Grand Valley’s, ERP Curriculum Courses that use SAP)  Throughout these courses, I have learned many valuable skills that have translated over to the “real world”.  Solving SAP errors has been one of the most important skills I have learned while at school.  Even though the errors encountered in the class room aren’t typically seen at a large company, it still gave me the opportunity to work through the problems.  The faculty at Grand Valley won’t just give students the answers when they encounter the problem.  Instead, they direct students to our portal site (, where we have forums set up just like the forums on SDN.   If students are still facing issues within SAP, they will then be direct to SDN or other SAP support sites. 

Another valuable skill learned in the classroom was learning the impact of each business process.  Having the overview on which processes effect their respective functional area has been a huge benefit in my transition at Perrigo.  Since I’m still an Intern, (fresher) I have been thrown all over the place working with many different people on many different projects.  I have been able to catch on much quicker with my knowledge of the processes from the classroom.




First, I learned everything is much more complicated in the “real world” than it is in the class room.  When I was helping create a new fictional bicycle company, (“I hear and I forget, I see and I remember, I do and I understand.”) I didn’t have to think of the hundreds of scenarios that could create problems.  I’m still learning how to think of all the possible scenarios that could arise while working on new projects.

I have also learned that people are such a great resource to learn from!  As an Intern, I’m given the time to meet with others in the company to ask questions and learn from them.  I believe this has made my transition much easier by getting to know people in the organization and learning from them at the same time. 




  • Get an internship that will allow you to see the corporate life. (Check out Otto’s blog, The specified item was not found.) I have had an awesome experience with a few different internships. At the very least, you will learn whether or not you will want to do this after college graduation.


  • Soak up information like a sponge! When I first started, I felt a little overwhelmed with all this new information at once. I started to document everything people had shown me how to do and this quickly relieved that overwhelming feeling.


*Special thanks to Otto Gold for encouraging me and helping with the ideas for this blog.

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      Author's profile photo Tammy Powlas
      Tammy Powlas
      Especially in the Accounting side; my great wish is that SAP becomes a part of all the accounting course work.  That way, when auditors come on site they understand what SAP is and how it works.

      I enjoyed reading your blog - good luck with the internship.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thank you for the comment Tammy.

      I completely agree! We had a scholarship competition at Grand Valley to promote our ideas to add more SAP courses in our business curriculum.  I chose one of our accounting courses because I think any accounting student would greatly benefit from seeing how ERP systems use accounting.  Like you said, this would help auditors going to companies have the basic knowledge of SAP before they get there.


      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      I'm glad you are part of the team.  (Even though I haven't met you yet. I'll go looking for you today.)


      Author's profile photo Bradley Rhein
      Bradley Rhein
      Great job on the blog Kevin, look forward to seeing more comments.
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member
      Thanks Michelle and Brad!
      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      I admit I am very new to SAP development & I would like to get your advice on how can I start out a career in SAP. I am actually an IT professional who has over 20 years plus in IT fields; from application 7 years, to computer networks & communication 5 years to operations and user support 6 years and and holding IT management for 5 years and still holding on to it. I have a bachelor degree in computer science and an MBA and planning for MHRM next.

      I would like to learn SAP and wondering what school, courses, eLearning shall start out with???