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Hunter Lin

Global Functional Manager, Digital Business Services

At SAP, there are plenty of avenues to change, learn and grow. I have never thought of leaving SAP in the 16 years that I have been here.

Hunter Lin

At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.

I was born in a small village in Jiangsu province of China, located approximately 350 kilometers from Shanghai. China may be a tech powerhouse today, but in the 1980s, computer science was still a relatively emerging field. What I saw was a path to a better future and after receiving my Master’s in Computer Science and Engineering from Dalian University of Technology, I sought a career that could improve my quality of life, provide for my parents, as well as develop my skills and knowledge.

My career has been one of life-long learning. In my first job at an industrial solutions firm, I had the opportunity to learn Japanese and relocate to Japan as a software engineer and project manager. After a few years, I learned that SAP was looking for Japanese-speaking support consultants and I proudly became the first one hired in our China office. It taught me the value of picking up additional skills outside of your main field of work. They can help open doors in the future and bestow you experiences that will enrich your life, personally and professionally.

As a Global Functional Manager based in Shanghai, my work involves supporting teams and engineers in eight support centers across the globe. We are the backbone that solves customer issues and delivers the best experience for our users. Collaboration is key to connect teams made up of diverse cultures and backgrounds. One moment, I could be on a call with a team member in India; the next, I could be talking to someone in Germany. I’ve also been to many of those locations since I took the current role and enjoyed the time spent together with those colleagues. For global teams to work well together, there needs to be a great level of trust, empathy and respect between everyone.

People managers at SAP have big responsibilities. You have to lead people through good times and bad. When I was first made a people manager 12 years ago, my scores on the Employee Engagement Index (a survey taken by employees) were poor. At SAP, this survey is taken very seriously, because the employee experience is one of the most important things we measure every year. But my managers did not give up on me. They provided training and mentorship, feedback and support, and inspired me to do better. Now I feel comfortable in engaging people, and I’m also actively sharing with other managers and leaders what I’ve learned.

To be a good manager, you must first understand the needs of the individual. You will find that some don’t know what they want and it’s your job to provide guidance and leadership. Secondly, you must inspire them, whether it’s in helping them define their vision of success, exposing them to new opportunities or exchanging ideas. The values that I live by are integrity, conscientiousness, honesty and teamwork, and I will always do my best to uphold them in whatever I do.

I have never thought of leaving SAP in the 16 years that I have been here. My work in product support has continuously evolved over the years. Our business and technologies develop and progress at such a rapid pace that it is impossible to keep still. Philosophically, I believe that if you are seeking a change, you must first look inside yourself and address the issues that are bothering you. Leaving a  company may seem like an easy solution, but at a company like SAP, there are plenty of avenues to change, learn and grow. I believe that what I was pursuing in the early stages of my career have come to fruition. I also recognize that I have a fortunate life and make it a point to give back to society by supporting charities.

My advice to young people starting out in their career is to set a long-term plan. Think about what you want to achieve in five to 10 years. You may not get your answers in a day, week or month, but think about it anyway. Focus on the skills and competencies you would like to learn and find a great company that will support you every step of the way – like SAP.    

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