As a member of Grand Valley State University’s Enterprise Systems Student Union, I have had many amazing opportunities and learning experiences pushed my way. This year, when I was asked to attend SAPPHIRENOW in Orlando, I knew immediately that this experience would change my life professionally. SAP University Alliances generously sponsored me and a friend from ESSU to attend the conference and it was a week I will never forget!

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Kicking off the conference was SAP’s CEO Bill McDermott on Tuesday morning. He set the tone for the conference immediately, and swayed the hundred thousands of attendees (including online)  by preaching about customer empathy for the new SAP S/4HANA platform. To see such a great company have an even better CEO who is genuinely focused on the consumer and their needs for this essential software was inspiring. What was great about the conference is the fact that we had time to explore the vendors all over the showroom floor–we were interested to hear what they had to say! I met so many amazing companies who use SAP to exponentially further their company for success.

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It was also a great pleasure to work with University Alliances and the other students that were sponsored to attend the conference. Meeting young professionals that are around the same age and in college as well was very beneficial. I now have many future networking and connection opportunities when I graduate because of University Alliances!

Not only did I meet young professionals, but I also met professionals who I networked with and in turn was invited to attend events after the conference in Orlando. We attended an IBM event at Lafayette’s, an Hewlett Packard event and more! These events were a perfect opportunity to meet even more people than just the initial connection that we made earlier in the day. We received advice on our business cards, LinkedIn profiles and much more which was very useful to further ourselves professionally.

Over the course of three days, I grew tremendously. I gained a great new friendship and many connections and advice to carry me through the rest of my college years. And for that, I am forever grateful to SAP and University Alliances for this amazing opportunity!

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