Over the last year or so, several of our students at Grand Valley State University’s ERP program had the opportunity to interact with several SAP mentors.  These interactions are tremendous opportunities for students to learn about SAP, and about life, from some wonderful people.  Here are some observations from our students:

Marissa Mushna met Karin Tillotson at SAP SAPPHIRENOW.  She was impressed with Karin’s drive to get more women involved in Women in Technology. Marissa was also fortunate enough to participate at SAP Teched in Las Vegas where Karin invited her to participate in a Women in Technology event.  Marissa says that meeting Karin has changed her perspective on Women in Technology. Before meeting her she thought there were less women in this field because they just weren’t interested in this type of career. After meeting her, Marissa started asking questions such as: Why aren’t women interested in this as a career? What can we do to change that? How can we approach young women into being interested in technology careers?  Marissa is an SAP UA and Grand Valley alum working at General Motors.  Marissa’s interactions with Karin and other SAP mentors has inspired her to attend the WIT events at General Motors.  She is involved in campus recruiting to show college students that girls do have important roles in the technology space.

Kajal Magal had the opportunity to have lunch with several SAP mentors during SAP TechEd.  One in particular, Marilyn Pratt, made a lasting impression.  Marilyn explained that working in technology allows one to work in many different area. She also shared that her experiences at SAP aligned with her goal to make a social impact. She emphasized the importance of seizing opportunities and making an effort to get to know your peers. Great advice for someone just starting her career.

Megan Laughlin met Eric Vallo at Tech Ed as well.  This interaction resulted in Eric hiring Megan first as an intern and then full time as an Associate BI Developer for EV Technologies where her interaction with SAP mentors continues. Megan says that working with SAP Mentors has taught her a lot, and has boosted her confidence in her abilities.  I think Eric is very pleased with Meagan’s work for EV technologies. So pleased, in fact, that he visited Grand Valley a few months ago to talk to our students and to recruit more of them.  Thanks, Megan for representing Grand Valley so well.

Not all interactions are in person.  Last semester Kumud Singh spoke to our students via Skype – it was the middle of the night for her!  She provided a candid and informative narrative about her experience as a new employee.   Some of the key points that students recall are:

  1. You can’t just be focused on just your work. If you don’t reach out and embrace the work culture and socialize, you won’t be able to learn as much. You learn from your own work as well as sharing with others and listening from others.
  2. Picking the right employer can be crucial to your future. The first job you get can determine how the rest of your career might go. So, it is absolutely crucial to make sure you fit well within the company.
  3. Documenting your work can help you to learn, record, reflect, and share information with others. Documentation is often overlooked, however, it can be of great use to you in the future

These are just some of the ways SAP Mentors are making a difference.  Over the years that I have been privileged to be part of the SAP Mentor program, I have witnessed countless instances where mentors were very giving of their time and wisdom to students; not just students, for that matter!

Kumud’s talk to our students led me ask how we could share this expertise with the broader SAP University Alliances community.  Regrettably, I did not record the talk!  My bad. However, my colleagues Meagan Knoll and Tom McGinnis have a plan.  We will invite SAP mentors to talk to our students (in person or online); we will invite students from other universities to dial in; and we will record (with permission) and make the recording available to anyone who wishes to learn.  I have already recruited a few SAP mentors at SAP SAPPHIRENOW 2016: Julien Delvat and Paul Achmann have graciously volunteered. We will schedule them for September or October 2016. I will be contacting other SAP Mentors to “volunteer” them! If you are especially eager to share your knowledge with students in the SAP University Alliances program, please let me know.

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  1. Karin Tillotson

    Hi Simha,

    Meeting Marissa and the other students at SAPPHIRENOW and TechEd was very inspiring to me as well!  Am so excited to hear about their next steps.

    I just wanted to do a quick correction if people are searching for me, to search for Karin Tillotson (not Karen).

    Best Regards,

    Karin

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  2. Jason Cao

    Hi Simha,

    Thank you for summarizing the impact SAP mentors are having on university students in the SAP University Alliances program. Those are important career advice indeed from Karin Tillotson, Eric Vallo, Marilyn Pratt, and Kumud Singh. I’m glad to hear you are planning to connect more SAP mentors to students.

    I recently learned that Tobias Hofmann helped organize a Hackathon event in Rio de Janeiro with the SAP University Alliances Latin America team (with fellow mentor Marlo Simon supporting as DT coach). Teams of university students came together for 2 days to take part in an IoT challenge that resulted in working apps to support the challenges of a SAP customer in Brazil. SAP mentors are really making a difference! 🙂

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