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Cristian Mihalache

EMEA Supply Chain Buyer Integrator at SAP Ariba

Cristian's story

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Cristian Mihalache
EMEA Supply Chain Buyer Integrator at SAP Ariba

My journey began in 2014 with a phone call from a friend asking if I would be interested in joining them in Prague, to work for Ariba, newly acquired by SAP. This was the beginning of a lot of firsts for me, my first online interview and my first relocation to a foreign country. I packed everything I needed in a small car and drove a whole day from my home town of Bucharest to Prague to start my adventure.

Back then, the SAP Ariba office in Prague was quite small but filled with a team of expats like me, who liked to work hard and party harder. I made a lot of friends during that time and as the team grew, so did my circle of friends from all around the world. In my role I went through a steep learning curve because we were understaffed. Our customers started to want more from SAP Ariba, and SAP Ariba started to answer those questions. I was part of the Seller Integration team, which had teams for Europe and North America, and I started to take care of projects for Australia, together with my manager at the time.

One morning, after a project call, my manager confirmed there will be a new team created in Australia. I remember saying “wow, it would be great to work in Australia”. And my manager listened. So, 6 months after that morning call, I was packing my bags, and on a plane to Australia to start a team. Another first for me; before then I had never been on an airplane.

I learned so much during my time in Australia. My new manager trusted me to help her build the Network Integration team to cover the entire APJ region, so after about 6 months in Australia I became the APJ Seller Integration manger. Another first for me, and luckily my manager was there to guide me build an amazing team. And not only that, I learned from her what being a true leader means. There were difficult times as well, as SAP Ariba was heading towards being the complex solution it is today, and as a manager I had the opportunity to work with our product managers to help build and improve that solution. But there were fun times too, like working with a charity foundation during our APJ team annual summit in Nha Trang, Vietnam. During my four years in Australia I travelled to amazing places I never thought I’d see, while at work I constantly learned new things and improved my work experience as well as expanding my cultural horizon.

Just before the pandemic started, I decided to come back to Europe. I am now part of the EMEA Supply Chain Collaboration Buyer Integration team, with a single personal goal in mind, that remained the same since I left Bucharest in that tiny car – to constantly learn and expand my knowledge with an open mind. Reading back this story and remembering these 7 years, I consider myself very lucky to have been part of such a journey, together with my colleagues at SAP Ariba.

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