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Landing consulting jobs after getting an MBA

I am a fresh MBA (Marketing, e-Commerce) with sound technical skills in C, C++, VB 6.0, Oracle 8.0, OOPS , and functional concepts on ERP, SCM & e-Logistics, and CRM. I have done these through IBM education in collaboration with my MBA degree. I am keen to see myself as SAP consultant. Hence I am taking the training on ABAP 4.0 at an organisation. Could you please let me know what the chances are for a fresh guy landing a decent SAP career after completion of the training? Is work experience very essential to fetch a job in this field? I have no experience rather than a few project works.

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I have commented on landing SAP jobs after graduation before, so look through the archives if you want some more perspective on this. Back a few years ago, young graduates like you with a nice ERP education could get hired with large consulting firms, and placed as junior consultants on large projects. Nowadays, that major avenue of gaining experience is closed. The consulting firms are much leaner, and the consultants they put on SAP projects are much more experienced now. Your age still helps you - firms are more likely to hire you and train you than if you were 45 and trying to break into SAP for the first time. Those trying to do mid-life career moves will back me up here: being young is the best time to be inexperienced. :) That's true for this reason, if no other: companies feel they can pay recent college grads a lot less than they would a mid-level executive. My advice to college graduates like yourself is to be open to the opportunities that present themselves. Don't have your heart so set on SAP that you overlook other chances. It's sounds like you're interested in being a techno-fuctional software consultant of some kind, so there are a lot of options out there for you. And remember that in the SAP projects of the future, Java and web-based programming tools will be just as important as ABAP. If you happen to get a non-SAP position where you are able to develop Java and J2EE/.NET development experience, that might not be so bad either. I've said it a number of times: sometimes the best way to break into SAP is to anticipate where SAP is headed. Another thing to keep in mind is that SAP is entrenched in Fortune 100 settings, so don't get discouraged if you can't break into SAP right away. SAP will still be around a couple of years from now. The best way to get in a crowded field is to be more imaginative than those around you and work twice as hard as everybody else. Maintain an approach of constant self-education, continue to invest in your own training, and you should do well in your career pursuits, inside AND outside of SAP. Good luck!

This was first published in April 2003

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