This profile was updated 29/08/2016. Let’s Talk Science appreciates the support of this volunteer in providing the most up-to-date information about their career and career path.
Principal Consultant for Sustainability at SAP
I was born/grew up in: Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany
I now live in: Mechanicsburg, PA, USA
I completed my training/education at: Purdue University, USA where I completed an MBA. I completed a BSc in Environmental and Resource Management at Brandenburg University of Technology, in Cottbus, Germany
Describe what you do at work.
What I do depends on whether I am working remotely from my home office or on-site with my customer. On-site, I spend most of my time interacting with people either individually or within workshops or meetings. When I am remote, I can have the same interactions but I rely on telephone and web conferences. In this time, I help customers design new business processes and corresponding software solutions. I also them implement these solutions. In summary, there are lots of meetings, interactions, and work on the computer. All of which I really enjoy.
I use a lot of STEM skills and knowledge in my work. For example, I use my chemistry knowledge when I am dealing with issues related to Industrial Hygiene or Waste Management. When I am addressing issues related to occupation health I use my knowledge of biology. I use math for project estimates and to construct financial models and computer science to understand the technology behind our solutions.
As an internal Coach, I help managers and individual contributors reach their full potential and increase their level of self-reliance. My favorite coaching topics are public speaking, personal development, career, life balance, and productivity.
When I was a student I enjoyed:
How does your job affect people’s lives?
The IT solutions we develop at SAP help create safer workplaces by helping manage risk and incidents more effectively. I hope that with my work I help prevent injuries or even fatalities from occurring. The coaching that I do helps people to break through, to grow, and to achieve their goals faster.
What motivates you in your career?
I enjoy meeting new people and helping them solve their business problems. I like the fact that, when I help them develop a solution to a problem they are experiencing, it will help them be more productive. I enjoy travelling to different place in the US as well as Europe. As I generally work from a home office this job provides incredible freedom. I feel like an entrepreneur within a big company. I feel that I am in charge of my own destiny.
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
Describe your career path to this career.
The key was getting into the software world of SAP. After my Bachelor in Environmental Studies, I decided to do an internship with an Energy company in Berlin, Germany. Germany is where I was born and raised. They were doing a huge SAP implementation and I got to co-lead the waste management work stream. After that I decided to go for an MBA which eventually brought me to the US. I applied at SAP America and with my prior experience and the MBA, I was all set to embark on a great career at SAP. And that is where I am now.
What activities do you like to do outside of work?
I enjoy playing with my kids, swimming, bicycling, running, sprint triathlons (400-800yards swim, 12-18miles bike, 5k run), meditating, learning, and playing guitar.
What advice or encouragement would you give others seeking a similar career?
As a consultant at SAP, you need to have or develop a variety of skills. You need to have excellent people skills. This means you have to be able to understand their needs, read their emotions/reactions, and managing difficult situations. You also need a good technical aptitude. This means you have to have a functional understanding of SAP software as well as the ability to learn and stay up-to-date. You need to develop your facilitation skills (i.e. be able to translate customer needs / requirements into a solution. You also need to be able to create solutions within the constraints of the software and be able to present your ideas, run meetings and work in a group during a workshop. Strong organizational and leadership skills are also needed as you need to keep track of what you have committed to do as well as be able to guide the project through tough times.