Livia Boss entered the CRMBA program with a BA in Art (Digital Photography) and several years of work experience in graphic/web design and programming. She decided to pursue an MBA and develop her business acumen. Livia participated in the Sapphire (SAP) Conference, a three day strategy, networking, and education conference focused on applications, platform, and services that transform corporate organizations, that took place in Orlando, Florida. She gives advice on the benefits of stepping up and getting involved in a conference.
“Through the first year MBA Leveraging Technology course, I was introduced to the world of SAP. I have to admit that I didn’t really understand what SAP was until I attended the SAP SAPPHIRE NOW conference in May 2015. That conference was the “aha” moment for me. I already knew the basics about SAP, but I had to experience the scope of the conference to understand that SAP impacts almost every aspect of our lives whether we know it or not. I learned that big data isn’t so much about fancy technology, but about creating the ultimate tools for big picture thinking.
I decided to learn more about SAP over the summer by completing an independent study and becoming a member of the Americas’ SAP User Group. Through that membership I received a call for applicants for the Development Wars competition at the SAP Analytics & Business Objects Conference to be held in September, 2015. Despite a very basic understanding of SAP data visualization tools I replied to the email and, as it turns out, was the only student who had. I was put on a team with professional consultants from across North America and worked with them to create an SAP dashboard for charity. We presented our dashboard in front of the whole conference. It was an amazingly terrifying and rewarding experience.
Conferences are an incredibly useful way to gain a richer understanding of an industry. You have the ability to network with people who know what is really going on and you learn real-world tidbits that academia can’t teach you. Are conferences scary and overwhelming? Yes, of course they are. It is very difficult for a student to walk into that world and work up the nerve to have a casual conversation with the CIO of Walmart for example, but from personal experience I can tell you that it can be done. My advice to students is that you have to learn to accept that feeling of panic and uncertainty and to go ahead and try anyway. Go to conferences, talk to intimidating people, and get out there. You will be amazed at how much it will change your perspective.”
Interested in participating in a conference? Check the MCS blog for information on upcoming conferences.