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SAP-ping the competition in the job market

With more and more new graduates competing for fewer jobs, college students need not just theoretical knowledge but industry skills, too, to be more competitive.

The SAP University Alliances program (UAP) hopes to address this need. Through the program, member schools gain access to the software Enterprise Resource Planning.

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The software supports business, engineering and information technology programs, enabling students to put classroom theory into practice through demonstrations, problem solving exercises, case studies and research programs.

SAP also provides trainers from Australia to teach local professors the tools and resources necessary to give students in-depth, hands-on experience.

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Exposure to SAP solutions lets students see how technology can optimize key processes in business. These processes include accounting and controlling, human capital management, project planning, plant and materials management, and sales and distribution, among others.

Students, who graduated with SAP knowledge, said they became more attractive in the job market. Some were hired even before they graduated.

Easy job hunting

Jerome Rustia, a logistics management graduate of the Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP), said his SAP training made the job hunt easier. He is now an associate product manager at Iontech, Inc., one of the largest distributors of information technology (IT) products in the country.

“The company chose me over several other candidates,” Rustia said. “I attribute this to the fact that I have a background in SAP…. When I joined the company, I was surprised to be supervising more senior people.”

But learning the software is not a walk in the park.

Andrew Eliquen, an IT graduate of Mapua Institute of Technology (MIT), said it was difficult to learn the software at first. “There’s so much to learn … but with the right attitude, you’ll get it.”

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Eliquen, a technology consultant at HP Development Company, L.P., said, “What makes the program worthwhile is that it makes graduates more employable.”

UAP member schools like TIP and MIT integrate SAP into the college curriculum, offering it as a free elective or as a stand-alone course.

“When I learned that SAP was integrated in the course, I knew that this would be helpful and this would be advantageous for me,” said Guia de la Cruz, also a logistics management graduate of TIP. She now works at logistics company 2GO as an inventory management coordinator for its client Mead Johnson.

“The education I received has taught me the fundamentals I need to see the bigger picture,” said Marie Virginne Guanio, a computer science graduate of MIT and also a technology consultant at Hewlett-Packard (HP).

Member schools pay a hosting fee, about 3,000 Australian dollars a year for 400 seats, to Queensland University of Technology in Australia. A minimum charge is added for additional seats.

Other SAP UAP member schools are AMA Computer University, Asia Pacific College, Far Eastern University-East Asia College, International Electronics and Technology Institute, University of the Cordillera, University of Santo Tomas, Angeles University Foundation and Holy Angel University.

Skilled pool

Employers have also learned to tap into the pool of highly skilled graduates SAP UAP produces.

IT leader HP partnered with MIT to address the company’s constant need for highly skilled professionals. MIT students doing their on-the-job training at HP are made to use the SAP NetWeaver platform.

“Above average or good ones (students) are immediately offered employment,” said Eduardo Akiate III, delivery manager for the SAP NetWeaver platform at HP.

“This works to HP’s benefit because we are assured that we have a ready pool of talent given the high turnover and scarcity of competent IT professionals … you have fresh graduates who already have advance skills that the employing company can readily utilize,” Akiate added.

SAP, which provides enterprise solution software to help companies in different industries improve their operations, currently has 700 customers in 30 industries such as mining, utilities, fast food, etc.

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TAGS: IT, SAP, SAP University Alliances program, technology
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