The open manner of Stefan was very fascinating. He had no inhibitions and took the time to answer all the questions. The mix of personal experiences and professional advice was inspiring.
Claudia Articek, student at Media University Stuttgart
On Monday, March 16th, SAP University Alliances gave 16 students the opportunity to join a roundtable discussion with the SAP Chief Human Resources Officer Stefan Ries. I want to give you some impressions I had about this event.
Within the scope of CeBIT 2015 Ann Rosenberg, VP and Head of Global SAP University Alliances, welcomed Stefan. Besides her, Lars Lamade, Head of Scale, Quality and Support & COO Customer & Events, as well as Uwe Gensheimer, team captain of the Rhein-Neckar-Löwen, also joined Stefan and his interesting talk about his life and career development.
Stefan told us that he was born and raised in Constance. He studied economics in Coblenz and took the chance to enjoy some study time in Switzerland. After his studies, Stefan worked for Microsoft in Munich as an HR manager. There he worked within a highly international environment and diverse teams, being responsible for Austria, Switzerland and Eastern Europe countries. In 1994, Stefan moved to Compag Computer Germany and took over the management of human resources for Europe, Middle East and Africa. For him it was a really great time while he learned a lot for life.
Afterwards he took a break for 8 months, enjoying time with the family and traveling especially to Italy where he had the unique chance to get access to books written by Galileo Galilei for one week. Stefan was alone with thousands of books and started a fascinating journey through the books. The most interesting part for him was the narrow ridge between geniality and craziness. On the one page Galilei wrote very precise and accurate on the other side he draw little pictures, you saw the rims of a wine bottle and the handwriting obviously shows that he was drunk while writing and drawing. He let his mind free and innovated in a crazy way. The same is true for SAP employees. For Stefan as a member of the global managing board at SAP, the most important thing is to give his employees the space to innovate and go crazy while working, to use exactly this narrow ridge to develop the most amazing things.
To support this innovation process he and SAP attach importance to a diverse working culture. Appreciating the difference of people, their unique background and personality is a key success factor of SAP through meeting the customers’ needs more easily.
Having locations all over the world helps SAP to generate the great ideas they continuously develop further on. Most of the departments are placed in almost every country to guarantee the best service for all the customers.
After this interesting insight into his life and views, Stefan also gave us some career advice. He told all the students, to just be oneself and follow your own interests. It is important to find the own time to start the career. Only you can find out if you want to work after your bachelor or continue with a master. There is not this one-way of studying, everyone has to follow. On the contrary, it is exactly these special differences, which will give you the chance to grow and become an employee at SAP.