Connecting Students to the SAP Ecosystem SAPHILA 2023 – “I Have a Future”
Mncedisi Kuzwayo, Durban University of Technology and SAP YPP Graduate: “Technology is best when it brings people together. The SAPHILA 2023 Conference was amazing. I must admit — it was very enlightening to be surrounded by so much wisdom, enthusiasm, and experienced people in the industry.”
Bringing students to SAPHILA 2023
We are always excited when we can connect students to the SAP Ecosystem. So when the opportunity arises, we like to grab it with both hands. Therefore, on an early chilly winters morning, on the 11th of July 2023 in South Africa, 20 ambitious students from the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits) and the University of Pretoria (UP) hopped on a coach bus at their respective campuses and travelled to Sun City, a resort about 140 km northwest of Johannesburg. Their destination? SAPHILA 2023, a biennial world-class information technology conference, hosted by the African SAP User Group (AFSUG) in collaboration with SAP.
A day full of learning about SAP and its ecosystem
Throughout the day, the students were enthralled by a series of captivating sessions featuring industry luminaries and thought leaders. The program included remarkable speakers such as Sven Denecken (SAP SE), Karen Theys, Lucky Gaokgorwe & Tlotlo Loselo (PwC), Koosh Panday (Accenture), Duke Mathebula (AFSUG Chairman).
I also shared insights about SAP University Alliances – our Cloud education strategy, our free learning and certification opportunities and our numerous foundational programs.
Additionally, the students had the privilege to choose specific main conference sessions, immersing themselves in the knowledge shared by Timo Elliott (SAP SE), Innocent M. Dlamini (Sincephethelo Motor Vehicles Fund) and to participate in a thought-provoking panel discussion featuring the insights of Aveena Mothilall (Engen Petroleum), Felix Chabeli (Stratforetech), Koosh Panday (Accenture), Gerhard Greyling (CEDA Development Finance Bank) and Werner Carstens (Capitec Bank).
But the SAPHILA 2023 experience was not limited to passive learning. During breaks, the students were challenged to explore the exhibition floor, to engage with exhibitors, and gain valuable insights into various ecosystems and potential career opportunities. With every interaction, they expanded their horizons and discovered the immense potential that lay within their grasp. By 5 p.m., the participants embarked on their return journey — their hearts filled with inspiration and their minds teeming with newfound knowledge. The resounding success of the event was evident not only in the electric atmosphere that enveloped the conference but also in the overwhelmingly positive feedback received from both the students and the young professionals.
To all students: You have a future!
For these early talents who are just embarking on their journey with SAP, the SAPHILA experience was a gateway to untapped possibilities. The opportunity to interact with a multitude of partners, customers, and practitioners provided them with unparalleled insights and networking opportunities. It was an occasion to forge lasting connections, cultivate their passions, and ignite the spark of their professional growth.
Mahomed Dambha, student from the University of Pretoria: “I was truly inspired by your extensive experience and expertise in the field of SAP. I genuinely admire the values and achievements embodied by professionals like yourself. And I was hoping that we could connect.”
SAPHILA was more than just a conference; it was a transformative experience that empowered students to believe in their potential and set their sights on prosperity. As we reflect on this remarkable event, we celebrate the collaborative spirit of our colleagues and partners that brought it to life and reaffirm our commitment to nurturing early talent, guiding them on their path to success.
This day was truly memorable – a big thank you to AFSUG (Amanda Gibbs and her team, speakers, members and sponsors), the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Pretoria. But most importantly, the students and young professionals – our Next Generation of thought leaders. The feedback from this group was incredible and I leave you with their voices as closing words. I hope you know that you have a future, and we hope it includes SAP!
Lerato Setsiba, student at the University of the Witwatersrand: “Thank you for the wonderful day at SAPHILA.” “Thank you for organizing and inviting students. I hope it becomes a regular practice to invite students and extend to other universities as well, not just UP and Wits.”
Naledi Molefe, student at the University of the Witwatersrand (Wits): “Favourite Holiday Winter Break since I started my academic Journey at University of the Witwatersrand. I would like to thank my lecturer Mitchell Hughes & De Wet Naude from SAP for bringing this incredible opportunity forward. I am also furthering my gratitude to SAP for allowing us to be a part of #saphila2023 EVENT. Valuable insights were shared by the most skilled population from the tech industry. I will forever be grateful for this experience.”
If you are interested in our activities at SAP University Alliances, learn more via sap.com/university-alliances and follow our community tag. Please also feel free to reach out to me or comment on the blog post below.