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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The Way of the Owl – Marie Curie

“Nothing in life is to be feared. It is to be understood.” – Marie Curie

Marie Curie was awared the Nobel Prize for her work in radiation in 1903.

Training is Everything

The IT career world has undergone extensive changes over the past decade, or so. Since the proliferation of ERP systems all the way to full-blown collaborative systems involving portals, internet/intranet access to corporate systems, the expectations for IT personnel have broadened. Business are looking for IT professionals with business knowledge and experience.

“The business community recognizes that college recruits tend to be technically astute, but lack the experience or judgment to apply those skills to business scenarios.” says Amy Walker, a QM specialist with Pert Seminars. “If we recruit recent grads, say, to support a supply chain application, the concern is that graduates are unlikely to be familiar with the business processes involved.”

Lack of experience in purchasing, production/manufacturing, inventory management, sales, distribution, warehouse management, and quality management severely inhibits businesses in supporting these applications.

Are corporations truly acting in crises mode? Or, is this a bias used by management to cut their training budget?

“Arguably, some of this is bias on the part of the business community.” Walker concedes, “Experience in business is often more highly valued than the formal education and credentials. Technology is changing so rapidly that colleges and universities are unable to stay current. By the time a textbook is authored, edited, and hits the university bookstore market for the classroom, portions of the book may already be obsolete!”

If businesses and corporations are cutting back on their training budgets, what must a college graduate do to make ‘bricks from straw’? How does a graduate acquire the experience necessary to handle the technical challenges corporate heads refuse to tackle?

“There is something to say for experience.” Walker reflects, “Any experience a student can garner during their college years is helpful. Business seminars and management certifications can also be helpful.”

IT grads have so much to accomplish in college, they do not often have the time, schedule or resources to attend business courses in addition to all of their required courses of the degree program. That’s where internships, business seminars, compressed training programs that focus on applying technical skills to business problems and issues are used to bridge the gaps.

Internships, part-time work during the college years, and various certifications are helpful.

IT salaries are still pretty strong. In the consulting and implementation/IT positions, the salaries for System Administrators, Business Systems Analysts, and Super-user/Power-users are still six figures. Yet, the outlook for training is surprisingly dismal.

SAP, for example, is a software company that has led much of this change worldwide. The company has an array of products, including ERP, Enterprise-wide software components, Advanced Supply Chain sof

Amy Walker, an instructor with PERT, conducted a seminar for the University of Florida, Warrington School of Business in Gainesville, Florida.

From Warrington School of Business at UF, used with permission.

Students Earn SAP Certification on Campus

Students in the Warrington College’s Decision & Information Sciences (DIS) program were presented with a unique professional development opportunity this summer. The SAP Business Process Integration Certification program took place in July 2001, presented by SAP. The College was eligible for participation in this program as a member of the SAP University Alliance, which provided the training session at minimal cost to students. The $1,700 fee was just a fraction of the typical charge for such certification at an SAP academy-normally $12,000 plus living expenses for the three-week course.
“This was an excellent opportunity for our students,” said DIS chair Selcuk Erenguc. “Aside from the tremendous cost break, students didn’t have to travel to a special location to take the course. They also have the advantage of already being SAP certified when they enter the workforce.”

Because the program was limited, participation was initially offered to MSDIS and MBA students with a DIS Concentration, or DIS/SCM/E-commerce Certification. Undergraduate DIS student applications were considered if MS/DIS and MBA students did not fill all the spaces available. In all, 15 MSDIS, one MBA and three undergraduate students took the course.

The instructor, Amy Walker, C.P.M., also teaches SAP Materials Management, Quality Management and Supply Chain Management courses for SAP, and does some consulting with them as well. SAP has training centers in San Francisco, Chicago and other locations around the country where individuals can enroll in the certification program. Classes were held all day, Monday through Friday, during the program. In order to obtain certification, students were required to pass an examination administered on the last day of the course.

In addition to the exam, students were required to participate in a group presentation exercise. Using the same data from a fictional company case study, the three teams developed pitches to persuade potential clients of the benefits of implementing enterprise software, and the ways in which it could enhance their business. Students were graded on a number of aspects, including professionalism, ability to translate technical concepts, and incorporating aspects of the application into the presentation.

Walker says that students in the university courses tend to do better in the certification programs than corporate clients because they know how to study. Very well, as it turns out-every student in the class passed the certification exam.

Welcome to PERT Corporate Training

Welcome to PERT…

PERT prepares students to take and pass certification exams in selected professional development programs to build professionalism and management skills.

All of our programs are sanctioned by the respective professional organization offering the certification and are taught by instructors holding the same credential. Continuing Education Hours (C.E.H.’s) are also offered for qualifying courses, such as Business Forecasting and Demand Planning.

We offer on-site training and consulting services in Supply Chain Processes and Logistics processes for clients implementing and/or using SAP R/3 (TM) Enterprise Resource Planning and SAP APO(TM), Advanced Planning and Optimization.

For more information, visit our webpage at, or write to us at