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Ziyi's Story

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

SAP is a big family where we share and learn from one another. It is a place of mentorship and community. 

Ziyi Jiang

When I started my internship at SAP Labs China in 2014, I didn’t know what to expect. All I knew was that I wanted to get real-world experience at a leading tech company. As a Computer Science and Technology graduate from Fudan University, I was interested in memory databases and applied to be an SAP HANA Application Developer intern. SAP HANA is SAP’s business data platform that processes transactions and analytics, and I was excited to experience its speed and power.

Internships are valuable for students to get work experience, explore their career options and expand their network. However, internship experiences can also vary widely depending on the company and your manager. Fortunately, I was assigned to a very nice, responsible and talented mentor who took my learning and development seriously.

My mentor at SAP was very hardworking and very dedicated to his work. You would often find him working late into the night. Yet, despite his busy schedule, I could ask him anything. There was no problem too small. Whenever I had question, he would put a time into our diaries to meet. And when we did, he would say, “Let’s sit down and see what the problem is together.”

I appreciated how he broke down a problem that made it easy for me to understand. He didn’t only focus on the ‘what’, but also the ‘why’ and the ‘how’. He would explain the solution to me in detail, explain why we used this solution and how he came up with his approach.

He wanted his team to be rigorous in our work, so he would always push us to document our problems and solutions. Despite having little experience, I was asked to take on tough tasks and my mentor would encourage me to think independently and devise my own plan to tackle challenges. I found myself growing very quickly under his guidance.

After graduating with a master’s degree in 2015, I returned to SAP. What helped my first years at Labs China was being part of the SAP Early Talent Community, an employee initiative where fresh graduates can explore their passions and demonstrate their abilities through boot camps, knowledge sharing sessions, and more. I was deeply impressed by the job shadowing program where I was able to find a role model who inspires me. SAP invests a lot of effort into employee communities and everyone benefits from it.

My work involves developing software and at the beginning of my career I was most comfortable when I faced computers and code. One of my personal challenges was presenting in front of a group of people, which was put to the test when I first joined the company. I was part of a two-day workshop with invited leaders and placed in a group where my team members were senior executives, holding SVP or C-level positions. For most of the workshop I listened in, took notes and supported with my coding knowledge. However, by luck of the draw I had to deliver the final presentation of my team’s ideas. I was not prepared and filled within credible nervousness. I wasn’t even confident of speaking in a loud voice.I told myself, "this is challenging, however if you overcome it, you will never be nervous again. Everything at the beginning is always difficult."

When it was finally my turn to present, I avoided eye contact, and focused on delivering our ideas as well as I could. Gradually, I started to relax, and the presentation went relatively smoothly, to my relief.

After the workshop, my mentor and manager asked if I had volunteered to present. “Of course not,” I said. My presentation went well, and they’d assumed that I raised my hand to do it. Their comments gave me a confidence boost and I realized that public speaking wasn’t as scary as I thought. Today this is one of my most treasured memories. I am no longer afraid of public speaking. I’ve conducted many product demos for SAP executives and customers and even got to present to German Chancellor Angela Merkel, which was a huge honor.

SAP is a big company, but I don’t think of SAP as just a place to work. It is a big family where we share and learn from one another. It is a place of mentorship and community. And ultimately, it is a platform for people to discover their potential, demonstrate their talents and learn more about themselves.

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