Regional Account Manager, SAP Concur
At SAP, we believe that when you bring everything you are, you can become everything you want.
What I found in my first couple of weeks working at SAP, corrected my false impression that no one ever associates SAP with a start-up culture, but it really does have that culture.
In an interesting way, Priscilla Sriram’s self-confessed radius of interest didn’t include SAP. Yes, she was looking for a job. Yes, she thought SAP would be a great company to work for. But commuting time was a major factor for her. She actually figured it might affect her decision. Well, almost.
"I used to walk to work at my previous job, a convenience which I enjoyed," she says. "When applying for roles, part of the research I did was to look up the location of the company as well to determine how long the commute would be.
Funnily, when I did an internet search for SAP Concur, the old address popped up, so I thought that they were in Tanjong Pagar which is not too far from where I live, and that made it an added bonus for me. When I was called for my interview in the office, I remember telling the recruiter ‘Yes, I know where your office is, Tanjong Pagar right?" And then he told me that that was the old address and the location had changed to the SAP office in Mapletree Business City, near Labrador Park.
"I remember laughing to myself in my head thinking how I had got it wrong, but then I also thought, this was SAP and I was lucky enough to be called in for an interview. In the new overall scheme of things, the commute was a tiny factor compared to potentially working for SAP. More importantly, the role sounded really interesting.
I came from the start-up world, and so I used to view companies like SAP as big, mammoth corporations that were boring and process-oriented. At my previous company, it was very casual and people came to work in shorts and T-shirts. But now I was being offered a chance to work at SAP. A lot of colleagues from my previous company told me I would hate working for SAP and that I would be nothing more than a cog in the system and that I wouldn’t have any opportunities for creative thinking.
Despite all of what I thought and heard, I took the job because something just felt right. And guess where I was on my first day at SAP Concur? I was much further away than Mapletree Business Centre - I was in Seattle, at Ignite. My first impression was, I haven’t even started, and these guys want to send me halfway across the world for something as big as Ignite. It was a great feeling because it made me feel that they were clearly invested in me from the get-go. It was an interesting first day, needless to say, so memorable. I was able to meet so many people not just from APJ but from all around the world. What I found in my first couple of weeks also corrected my false impression that no one ever associates SAP with a start-up culture, but it really does have that culture.
I really enjoy my role as a regional account manager. Every account manager typically has 20 or 30 clients that they service, and the clients are always from their own market unit; for example, account managers in Australia handle Australian clients. But my role was built as an experiment and I hold the smaller revenue companies, and I get to work with clients from different countries. And instead of just a few accounts, I would hold many. That was something that really took me by surprise as I put into my thought process, my creative thinking, my experience as a part of SAP’s vision, and that I would eventually be able to take on hundreds of clients in the region.
For the first three months or so while I was onboarding, I was given the time to understand the landscape of our services and our products, and to build my role and framework on that understanding. At first, I was a bit skeptical about whether they actually would let me roll it out, but it soon became clear that they were serious about it, they wanted me to build it, and they were going to let me do it. With some guidance of course, so it’s not like you’re free to roam wild.
For someone who came to the interview with the mindset that I did, the thing that convinced me about SAP was my interview with Ivy Rayner, my manager. I was very impressed by her. Ivy is the head of client development, and in my previous company I didn’t get enough direction about my job scope and my role, but when I spoke to Ivy it was very clear that she knew exactly what she was talking about. She knew what the face of client development was, what the future was, how to think, how to be proactive, she knew all of that and from the get-go I realized I could learn a lot from her.
I used to be a Kumon teacher. I taught mathematics and English, starting right after I finished school in Malaysia. Then I studied advertising and marketing and then while I worked full-time in advertising, I continued to teach. I had a day job in advertising and then I would go to my night job which was teaching and that would be from 6pm to 10pm, three times a week. Then I left advertising and I decided to focus on teaching. I took on a full-time role at the Kumon centre and then I opened my own, two or three years before I moved to Singapore to get married. Moving here meant leaving my friends, family, my business, everything. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make.
I moved to Singapore in January 2013 and got married two years later. It was the first time I’d lived away from home. When I was living with my parents in Kuala Lumpur, in all honesty I was quite pampered. Moving to Singapore meant I had to my own laundry, cook my own food, stuff like that! I remember having to search the internet for best practices doing laundry and the different settings between cotton and synthetics. But the move to Singapore was good, and I have no regrets. Had I not left everything behind, I wouldn’t have had the progression of circumstances that led me to SAP."
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