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I eagerly waited for the 12th of May, when we would be flying to Orlando, USA to be a part of SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference, a trip sponsored by the SAP University Alliances group! As the journey began, I couldn’t help but reminisce about the event that led up to the trip. Thoughts about how we formed our team to take part in the SAP BizTech India competition, how we ideated and came up with a business idea and finally presented it in front of the 2000+ audience at SAP techniversity and ended up finishing as first runners up which won us this amazing opportunity to be a part of SAP’s most prestigious conference brought smiles and thoughts of the amazing experience and learning that lay ahead.

When we finally reached the Orlando airport, we went straight to the registration desk where we were given our registration badges and drove off to the Rosen centre where SAP UA had booked our accommodation. The next day we headed out the conference venue smartly dressed in our SAP University Alliances tshirts and our badges which also said we were attending the conference as a part of the UA team. Impressed by the huge scale of the conference, we hurried to catch our seats with the rest of the UA team at the introductory keynote.  We met and greeted Colleen Raftery from the UA team at USA, who was so friendly and so graciously helped in making everything so comfortable for us. We spent the rest of the day visiting the stalls learning about various SAP implementations and explaining to everyone who seemed very curious about the UA division of SAP and how they helped us be a part of SAPPHIRE NOW. The stall on Design Thinking was particularly useful and taught us new ways to come up with ideas and implement them.

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SAPPHIRE provided us with a great platform to interact with students and professors from various countries. The conference gave us the opportunity to meet the students from China  and Germany who were a part of the UA team at the conference. The project on the Database of Dreams by students from Germany inspired us and showed us the power of SAP HANA. Talking to the professor from Canada who developed a game on ERP systems broadened our horizons. Meeting Mr Joe King, who is now a part of the SAP HANA learning, whom we had last met at the SAP Dashboard design contest in India in 2011 and talking to him brought back memories. We also got a great opportunity to be a part of the video and express our thoughts and share our stories on being women in technology. Watching ourselves in a video on Youtube at the end of it was indeed a strange experience!

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On the last day of the conference, after the inspiring keynote by Hasso Plattner and Vishal Sikka, the UA team had a tour of the conference floor by Mike Trovalli. He explained to us the thinking behind the set up and the layouts in the conference and how they brought it all together. This tour was followed by a round table meet with Ann Rosenberg and the head of Sales and marketing of SAP where we were introduced to the grand schemes and plan the UA team has in store. It was wonderful being able to interact with people in such high positions and have our ideas acknowledged by them. A lot of pictures and more interactions later, the conference finally drew to an end. We later joined the sea of people heading out to the concluding conference for an evening filled with melodious country music and yummy food.

We also made the most of our Orlando experience by visiting the nearby theme parks and attractions. The trip had everything to it- fun, adventure, learning and meeting new people! It was an experience of a lifetime and I take back memories of the conference, the hoards of newly inspired ideas and connections and friends that were made during the conference. A deeply heartfelt thank you to SAP UA for giving all of us such an amazing experience to cherish!

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