Country Of Origin: Morocco
Degree: MSc ITMOC, 2016
Pre-sales Associate, SAP
There are various reasons for which I opted for LUMS. First, its worldly recognised reputation and impressive ranking were both a reassurance and guarantee, to me, of the values its curricula and diplomas maintain. Second, its facilities (study zones, academic support teams etc.) along with its careers team and diverse environment, made me look forward to the personal and professional development platform they provide us with. Lastly, the way I felt valued during the interview process, and the financial support I was offered, did spur my decision to join LUMS.
Having initially earned a bachelor in computer science with a minor in business administration, I had always been keen to dig into the relationship between business and technology. Leaving software development aside, I had a year of experience in Human Resources Technology, which only confirmed to me the prevalence of IT in managerial settings, and how it became key to organisations. This led me in turn to MSc Information Technology, Management & Organisational Change, which was the only specific programme I could find, offering a blend of IT and Management with an external exposure to the corporate world.
MSc ITMOC was the only programme matching my interests at 100%. All the reasons for which I had chosen it started to materialise as soon as I joined, going beyond my initial expectations and helping me hence enjoy the programme to its fullest. The first aspect I was delighted with is the programme structure. It offers the right balance of theory and practice, as we not only critically discuss literature, but also engage with business practitioners through workshops and seminars. Second, the polyvalence granted through a free selection of electives from various departments helps us add a personal touch to our degree. Lastly, the incorporation of reflection sessions –spurring us to be mindful of our personal development - is unique and priceless.
I can certainly not be greedy at qualifying one single Lancaster moment as ‘the’ best. Not only was my experience memorable, unique and life-changing in full, but it included numerous events that made it particularly special. I will be sharing two main ones -which will give a glimpse of the social/diversity aspects and learning opportunities I benefited from at LUMS. Firstly, MSc ITMOC as a programme valued social activities and gatherings. They were considered as a true source of ‘informal’ learning (i.e. learning outside the classroom). Enacting with a diverse cohort over dinner and refreshments was an unconscious exercise of listening, speaking and interacting in international settings.
Our very first week with MSc ITMOC included the ‘Student and Faculty Welcome Dinner’, which was indeed such a convivial get-together in which we were encouraged to interact and bond. We not only enjoyed nice food (and dessert), but were also put into student/faculty teams, competing against each other in a quiz. It was maybe meant to be an English-culture immersion activity? All I can look back to now though, is how fun it was to get to know each other in a relaxed setting, enacting among 22 nationalities, and engaging in conversations with like-minded individuals. MSc ITMOC brought us together beautifully.
Second, the MSc ITMOC programme promised an external exposure -which was indeed delivered throughout the programme. Various guest speakers, conferences and research internships contributed to bringing this promise to life. My favourite learning experience among these was the research internship I had the chance to conduct with SAP -together with two other classmates. We were given the opportunity to research the Internet of Things (IoT) and its impact on both customer business processes and SAP solutions/services. Being trusted with the planning and execution of research activities, we were piloting the project -agreeing as a team on practitioners to approach, literature to consult and content to deliver, while working in parallel on our individual dissertations.
Our SAP and MSc ITMOC supervisors were so supportive, encouraging and dedicated that we felt empowered throughout this journey -doing our best to even over-deliver. We connected with solution experts from SAP, as well as external stakeholders (e.g. practitioners met in MSc ITMOC workshops, known from previous employers or IoT conferences), to construct both an internal and external/client perspective on the topic. We were stunned at how all these professionals were more than happy to help, taking the time to answer our questions and deep dive in interesting discussions with us. As an outcome of this research, we delivered a whitepaper to SAP and were invited to their premises in London to present our findings. How our work was valued and collaboration appreciated triggered a great feeling of contentment. It was all surely rewarding.
MSc ITMOC has helped me both confirm my interests and refine my job preferences. Going for either technology consulting or a business analyst position in a multinational is all I was aiming for as a student. I could only look forward back then to wandering and being challenged in different parts of the world. And I have been served. I have joined SAP as a Presales Associate in Morocco. The position entails first a training programme in California, meant to help us build a solid presales foundation through hands-on innovative learning, focused on presentation delivery and SAP solution knowledge. Upon training and mentoring, I will then come back to my local office as a specialist in a subject matter area, working with other team members on opportunities. The latter will involve understanding the requirements of potential customers, presenting adequate product demonstrations to meet their needs, and remain their trusted technology advisor.