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     On February 6th, 2015, thirty-three high school students from schools within Kent County (East Kentwood High School, Innovation Center High School, Kenowa Hills High School, and West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science) participated in The SAP Young Thinkers Event hosted by General Motors, SAP, Seidman College of Business and GVSU’s Enterprise Systems Student Union (ESSU).

     The SAP® Young Thinkers Program is a series of hands-on workshops to equip high school students with analytical and creative thinking skills. This experiential learning program aims to help youths understand the extraordinary revolution brought about by ERP systems today and its impact on societies, businesses and everyday life.  The event at GVSU taught the high school students how to play The ERPSim Game which is a water bottle distribution game.  This experience was intended for the high schools students to learn about Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) Systems, reporting and business decisions that businesses use today. GVSU’s ERP Program (www.gvsu.edu/erp) utilizes SAP software which is run by 250,000 companies in over 130 Countries.

     The ESSU Mentors each had a group of 3-4 high school students where they guided the students through the game. Each group contained a Communications Coordinator, an Inventory Specialist, a Purchasing Agent and a Marketing Specialist. Each high school student was given a role to play in the simulation where they learned analytical and creative thinking skills through this hands-on workshop. The ERPSIM Game consisted of three rounds of water bottle distribution to different regions.

Aside for learning about ERP systems in a fun and competitive environment, the purpose of this event was to recruit future students into GVSU’s Seidman ERP Program as well as giving students an idea of what the student group ESSU entails. The Enterprise Systems Student Union (ESSU) (www.gvsu.edu/erp/essu) is the first student organization, open to all majors, at GVSU created specifically for students interested in Enterprise Systems/ERP.  The purpose of this organization is to provide a better understanding of enterprise systems and to provide a link between the university and companies who utilize enterprise systems.  The organization hosts the ERP speaker series, provides networking opportunities with companies, conducts resume workshops and practice interviews, and provides tutoring to management information systems students.

     The SAP® Young Thinkers Program wouldn’t have possible without the support from our sponsors General Motors and SAP.  Along with the gigantic efforts of the Kent County ISD, the Seidman College of Business and the participating schools.  The event was facilitated by GVSU’s own MIS faculty that consisted of Meagan (Luttenton) Knoll, Affiliate Faculty of Management (Management Information Systems), Dr. Simha Magal, Director of the Seidman ERP Program, Professor of Management (Management Information Systems), and Dr. Thomas McGinnis, Assistant Professor of Management of Management (Management Information Systems). The ESSU Mentors consisted of the clubs E-Board and Members.

     Another huge thank you East Kentwood High School, Innovation Center High School, Kenowa Hills High School, and West Michigan Academy of Environmental Science for letting these high school students participate in The Young Thinkers Program.

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  1. Ali Ahmed

    Sounds like a lot of fun. I am an ERPsim instructor myself. I bet with good coaching these kids could play more advanced topics, but to stop at distribution game is wise indeed. I’ve seen university students blank out on me during these intensive sessions. Kudos to you on a great achievement.

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