Advice for Students Interested in a Career in SAP
Fire Fighter, a frequent contributor to SCN and QM consultant extraordinaire, recently asked if I had any advice for his son, who is an undergraduate nearing his final year and is interested in perhaps following in his father’s footsteps. We see so many questions from folks who have already graduated with their Bachelor’s or even their Master’s and are having a hard time finding work, I decided to seize the opportunity and write up the advice I hope to give to my son in a few years.
If my son was either in an undergraduate or master’s level program, but still more than a year away, this would be my advice:
- Find the school’s internship program and get the list of which companies work with the University. Also check the Career Center if that’s a separate office.
- Research local companies that have SAP. I’m writing up a post for SCN on this topic. Maybe I published it already, I can’t remember. Basically, go to the ASUG web site and scrape all the companies out of the registration page and cross reference with companies that have known local headquarters. (There’s a wikipedia page for most major cities that lists companies based in that city.) You can also check Monster and Dice for companies advertising for SAP openings.
- If none of the companies from step 2 are on the list from step 1, then work with the internship program to contact companies from step 2 to see if they’d be interested in joining the program. I would encourage my son to make the calls, rather than the internship program. This shows tremendous initiative and will be very attractive to companies. He could pass anyone interested to the internship program and act as a liaison until the process is complete. He’d probably then end up on the top of the list for choice internships!
- If your univeristy or if you live near a major SAP America city, absolutely check http://www.careersatsap.com/. SAP hires tons of interns. Even if there are no internships directly related to your area of specific interest, it could be helpful to contact some of those opportunities because the person hiring, for example, the User Experience Research intern may know of other internships available or soon to available. (Sometimes the easiest job to get is the one that is never advertised!)
- I would advise him not to fixate on trying to learn the SAP Functional or Technical skills necessary to be a consultant, just yet. As an entry level worker, the most important thing is to get a foot in the door and get the opportunity to prove a strong work ethic. The connections/relationships made while interning will open up opportunities for work that is more directly appealing post graduation. If you read through the replies to the “How did you get your start in SAP?” post, a surprising number of folks were able to get started on SAP while still in Undergraduate school by either working part-time or getting an internship. Job came first, training came later. Yes, you’ll want to learn those skills, just don’t think that you have to wait until after you’re certified. Find entry level jobs that do not assume prior knowledge/experience with SAP and apply for those.