This is the second in a series of snapshots profiling graduates from the SAP Academy for Early Talent.
After earning her degree in marketing, Thandi Majola had her first taste of ERP software during a graduate program in a consultancy position where she was also responsible for sales. Following four years of experience in sales and consulting, she didn’t hesitate responding to a posting on opportunities at the SAP Academy for Early Talent.
“Although I had been working in consumer goods, I had been exposed to SAP and its software. I immediately knew that the capabilities that come with technology, especially in Africa, where training is not as mature as in more developed parts of the world, that this was an opportunity I couldn’t say no to,” she said.
Majola hasn’t looked back since moving two years ago to Johannesburg where she’s an Education Sales Manager for SAP Africa, covering cloud and on premise learning solutions software including SAP SuccessFactors, SAP Jam, the SAP Learning Hub and SAP Services. More than anything, working at SAP allows her to see the strength of diversity, both for people and their companies. She has been particularly impressed by her experience at the Academy collaborating with colleagues from over 50 countries.
“I was initially cautious about what the experience would look like in practice when all these people from so many different cultures came together,” she said. “What I found was a lot of creativity and problem-solving from different perspectives actually come out of diversity.”
Fresh Eyes Bring Fresh Perspectives
Majola’s time at the Academy upended her assumptions about the value of experience. Initially, she thought her lack of experience in the technology industry, coupled with the limited work experience of others at the Academy would be a disadvantage, but quickly discovered otherwise.
“Having gone through the program I realized that a lack of experience is actually fresh eyes even as we interacted with tenured colleagues who would say ‘wow, I never thought of doing things that way,” she said. “For example, they hadn’t thought beyond standard product overview and demonstrations to incorporating multi-media aspects that would show how our technology can add value to the customer’s organization. If you open yourself up to new possibilities, lack of experience actually becomes a strength.”
Long-Term Career Goals
After graduating from the Academy, Majola’s first position was on SAP SuccessFactors, followed by her move to SAP Education. She has longer term career dreams potentially in HR. She is particularly proud of initiatives like Skills for Africa, an SAP-sponsored training program that certifies disadvantaged youth to become solution consultants.
“I’m drawn to the human capital management (HCM) space, and how technology can enable organizations to manage people and use talent,” she said. “I envision myself getting involved within the market unit in such areas as Skills for Africa to help address unemployment issues in this region with a development program for young people to receive those opportunities.”
The opportunity to learn is one of the most rewarding parts of Majola’s position at SAP, driven by an innovation-centric organization focused on growth. She especially values how SAP actively encourages learning through the sharing of ideas on collaborative platforms like SAP Jam.
The opportunity to learn is one of the most rewarding parts of Majola Thandi’s position at SAP
“There is never a dull moment as I’m constantly being stretched and challenged, growing my skills on so many platforms. It’s amazing how our technology makes it possible to not even have to rely on in-person, classroom training. As much as I’m willing to grow and learn as an individual, those opportunities are there for me at SAP supporting not just daily execution of tasks but the broader sense of closing skills gaps, accessing a tremendous amount of knowledge from places like our openSAP MOOCs,” she said.
Helping People Realize Their Dreams
Majola is passionate about how helping to solve the unemployment issue in Africa where young people may lack skills to take advantage of opportunities. “Having been in the HR and education space, and seeing how I can make, however seemingly small, a contribution to the economy through the work that I’m doing every day, is very important to me,” she said. “People who attend our training programs from customer organizations are looking to get promoted. They tell you about the challenges that they’ve faced and overcome, and how SAP is part of that, helping them realize their dreams.”
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