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An Inspiring Story of a Young Talent’s Journey to TERP10 Certification

A month and a half into my internship with SAP’s University Alliance (SAP UA), I am constantly amazed by the passion, dedication, and drive of young talent.  This sense of awe was once again ignited last week when I spoke with Yan Liu, San Francisco State University’s first TERP10 certified student!

Yan moved to San Francisco in 2010 from Zhengzhou, China and decided to pursue an Information Systems degree from San Francisco State University (SFSU).  As his senior semester was coming to a close, and after taken courses recognized by SAP UA in order to receive SFSU’s SAP Recognition Award, he began seeking answers to that dreaded post-graduation question of “What’s Next?”

“When I look back now, everything was worth it!”

SFSU offers a variety of ISYS courses that are recognized by SAP UA as classes that provide students with a complementary set of SAP tools that will not only enhance their ISYS/Business learning experience, but to also expose students to real-world SAP solutions: solutions that are implemented in over 290,000 companies, including 87% of the Forbes Global 2000 companies.    During one of these courses, Professor Sayeed mentioned TERP10; a perplexing word that Yan filed away in his memory.

As he was set to graduate and once again faced that nagging question of “What’s next,” TERP10 popped in his head.  Seeking the guidance of Professor Jin, he asked her about TERP10 and told her that his dream would be to work for a tech company in the Silicon Valley.

Professor Jin explained TERP10 and encouraged him to take it as it would open doors for him throughout The Silicon Valley.  She eventually got him in contact with Simha Magal; ERP guru, professor, and author of multiple SAP ERP books.  Upon learning of Dr. Magal’s great success rate and that he was instructing a 2-week TERP10 Academy, Yan was excited to jump on this opportunity and yet hesitant because of the cost. This would be an expensive bet for a young college-graduate.

Again seeking the advice of Professor Jin, she reminded him of the importance of placing smart bets on himself and that the cost of this would be paid back in folds… and probably by his signing bonus!

Deciding to go for it, Yan placed a $5,000 bet on himself and in August, he flew to Michigan to attend Dr. Magal’s 2-week TERP10 Academy.

“It was hard to be away from my friends and family on my birthday, but I was not alone. I had my studying partners with me.”

While the course itself was just under $900, unlike the other 43 students, Yan was the only one that flew across the country to take this class and exam.  During the two weeks, he studied alongside his colleagues and plowed through over 900 pages of materials!  

On the morning of the exam, Yan woke up at 4:30 in the morning.  In his last preparatory exam he scored just above the minimum passing mark and he “had a strong feeling that [he] would fail and that there was no way that [he] could have memorize all that material in only two weeks.

“When I saw my score I was in complete Shock, I couldn’t believe it, I was so nervous!”

Yan completed the TERP10 exam, a 3-hr exam, in 40 minutes and only missed one out of the 80 questions!

Hearing Yan recount this adventure makes my hair stand on end.  At only 25 he saw the value in investing in himself and set himself up for success.  And while he started this journey as a 25-year-old, he passed the exam as a 26-year-old. Yes- while in Michigan preparing for the TERP10 Exam, he celebrated his birthday on August 20th.  Furthermore, not only was Yan away from his friends and family on his birthday, but on his birthday he was also struggling with one of the most dreaded sections of the TERP10 exam: FICO in Production. 

Would I have had the same faith in myself to make a $5,000 bet on myself at 25?  Would I today in my 30s? I want to say “yes,” but I honestly don’t know.  What I do know is that I find inspiration in Yan’s story, and I hope others do as well.

When I asked him again that once dreaded question of “What’s next,” this time he responds without skipping a beat:

My biggest priority is to work in The Silicon Valley.  Every day in class, a different company would present to us on their company and who they were looking to hire.  I want to either work for SAP or a company that is using SAP!”

Yan, may success continue to follow you where you go!!

Yan Liu contact information:

Personal email:

SFSU email:


Yan Liu and Dr. Simha Magal.

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