For some students, summer is a time to kick back and relax. But for others, summer 2017 was an opportunity to build networks, make a positive impact in local communities and learn more about the business world. In the third of this series, we speak with fourth year Combined Business and Computer Science major Matthew Harnett about how he chose to spend his summer away from the classroom, and how his experience is shaping his future in business.
1) How did you spend your summer break?
I spent my summer break working as a Product Support Engineer at SAP in Vancouver. SAP provides various software products and services to help organizations manage their business and people. My eight-person team supported the Transportation Management product, which included features such as supply chain management, routing optimization, load planning and freight carrier tendering. I had a blast working there, especially since SAP Vancouver is home to one of the largest intern programs within SAP and in Canada.
2) How did your UBC Sauder education prepare you for this role and help you succeed?
Given that SAP provides software solutions to businesses, my Business and Computer Science degree has been incredibly relevant for my role. UBC Sauder's courses in Business Technology Management and Logistics gave me a strong foundation of knowledge to understand how businesses effectively use software to create cost-effective solutions to complex supply chain scenarios. The computer science classes I took gave me the technical skills to debug code, determine the root causes of different software issues as well as understand the ins and outs of SAP’s products on a technical level. This has helped me communicate with developers and formulate solutions to help customers maintain their system’s reliability so they can continue to successfully manage their business.
3) How do you think this experience will help you with your career aspirations?
My current career goal is to work as a developer before I transition into product/project management. My time at SAP allowed me to experience what it was like to work for a big global tech company as well as develop my communication skills with customers and my technical skills with debugging code. In addition, I had the opportunity to interview many of my colleagues in various positions at SAP, ranging from partner sales, pre-sales, development and project management. I learned about their roles and educated myself on various career paths others have taken.
4) Besides school and work, tell us one interesting thing you did this summer.
Outside of work, I spent my time off taking advantage of the beautiful summer weather and extended daylight hours by going to the beach, hiking and biking. If you haven't spent a summer in Vancouver yet, I highly recommend it!