Collaborating with the next generation at university by supporting ‘real life’ case studies

Hello everyone,

For SAP it’s very important to stay in close contact with the ‘next generation’ by cooperating with schools and universities.

This is of course also true for location St. Ingbert, where my office is located. This location is originally founded by a spin-off from the university of Saarbrücken. So it’s pretty obvious that for many years, we cooperate with the universities in the region in many different ways.

One initiative is for instance the DTIC.

Description of the activity

This blog post is about one of the activities we established together with the chair of economics from Prof. Dr. Thomas Korne at the HTW (Hochschule für Technik und Wirtschaft) Saar. Hereby, three students have the task to create a case study for a topic defined by SAP within one semester.

Means, there is one buddy at SAP who brings up an idea for a topic which is then defined together with Prof. Dr. Korne. The definition is captured in a project charter which refines the scope, goal and boundary conditions. And during the creation of the case study, the buddy is available for the students for discussions and refinements on the topic.

One important milestone is an interim presentation where the results so far are presented to the stakeholders at the HTW Saar and SAP, including interested colleagues from SAP from various departments. The goal of this interim presentation is to refine the scope and give guidance for additional areas of research.

The last and most important milestone is then the final presentation with the same audience.

I had the pleasure to support this activity as a buddy now twice. As I’m working in Transportation Management in the area of Supply Chain Management, I have chosen respective topics which I’m familiar with and where we expect precious inputs from the case study.

The topics so far are:

  • Strategic optimization of a supply chain through ongoing consideration and evaluation of its risks with iterative adjustment of the underlying set of rules.
  • Selection of the best possible mode of transport for delivery to a customer, taking into account all relevant factors and corresponding empirical values

Conclusion

After having this done two times now, I can honestly say that it was a great experience for me and that it was just a lot of fun as well! It’s really great to work together with three highly motivated students, seeing how they appreciate working on a case study with SAP.

And there can hardly be any better example for a win-win-cooperation (or partnership, how I tend to call it):

  • The university gets in close contact with SAP
  • Students learn a lot about how software is made. Even they don’t write coding, they do more or less the specification phase where implementation could start afterwards. So, they gain experiences in project management, scope management and how user-centric software is specified at a globally operating IT company.
  • Of course they also get a broader view on business processes of Supply Chain Management
  • Furthermore, they can definitely improve their CV by mentioning this case study
  • And eventually, we as SAP gain very precious inputs for our solution which we would may be never get by ourselves

Therefore, I appreciate having had the chance to support this twice, hoping that there’s a continuation of this great initiative!

And finally I like to thank Prof. Dr. Korne and his people at the chair, my colleagues at SAP who make such initiatives possible, and of course the students participating in the case studies!

I’m happy to read your comments and share your experiences!

Best regards,

Michael

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