SAP’s Light Bulb Moment

Events like SAP InnoJam: Coding the Future show that SAP has what it takes to attract the brightest and best young talent.

Csenge is a recent university graduate from Hungary; Michelle is a student employee at the Hasso Plattner Institute in Potsdam, Germany; Ivan is originally from Russia and will be graduating soon.

All three live in California. In Silicon Valley, to be precise. Why? Because this area has exactly what they’re looking for: attractive jobs for well-qualified career starters. It’s one wish they have in common: The dream of impacting the world through the power of technology.

A perfect chance for SAP to step up. Bringing young people onboard matters a  great deal for SAP which leads to a three-pronged strategy: prepare them, partner with them, and inspire them with SAP’s purpose, and the best place to do this is while they are still at university.

SAP recently invited Csenge, Michelle, Ivan, and 50 other students to discuss and collaborate during a 32-hours coding challenge at the HanaHaus in Palo Alto – a similar event took place a few weeks ago in Berlin. In total, 130 students from 76 universities in 18 nations took part in the events, dubbed “SAP InnoJam: Coding the Future.”

The focal point of the event was the InnoJam challenge where students could leverage their coding skills using DesignThinking and data analysis tools. They also had the opportunity to meet and discuss ideas with a variety of experts. Among them were SAP business leaders, start-ups, social entrepreneurs, recruiters, and fellow Early Talents already working for SAP.

“This is a great experience to learn something new,” says Csenge. “It’s also an opportunity to improve my development skills and meet a lot of fun people.”

Watch this video to learn more about Csenge, Michelle, and Ivan and what motivated them to take part in the event:

Stefan Ries, Chief Human Resources Officer at SAP, is the sponsor of the “SAP InnoJam: Coding the Future” event series. One of his top priorities is to combine and multiply the potential of the next generation and SAP as employer.

“Hosting the InnoJams brings SAP and Youth to the same table. The enormous potential in our next-generation workforce can flourish at companies like SAP. For this reason a deep and regular exchange is crucial,” he said.


SAP plans to continue to focus on attracting and hiring top graduates. Indeed, it hopes to boost its innovation muscle by bringing together a broad mix of talents and encouraging interaction between employees with different experiences. In some locations, however, achieving this has proved to be a major challenge.

In Silicon Valley, for example, there is a “war for talent.” So how can SAP gain the edge? By launching programs like SAP develop&&impact for Early Talents in the Products & Innovation Board area for example. It offers young employees mentoring, on-the-job learning, growth opportunities, and a way to accelerate their career at SAP.

SAP’s workforce spans five generations, and the company’s declared aim is to offer every single employee an attractive working environment. To do this it needs to sync with the youngest generation as well.

“We develop in 190 locations worldwide, walking the talk – as opposed to most of our competitors, too often rated as the most admired brands by students. And we do this on topics with high social impact, simply turning the world into a better place,” says Ries.

Perhaps SAP will help shape the careers of Csenge, Michelle, or Ivan. At any rate, all three will reflect favorably on their encounter with SAP at the HanaHaus.

“I definitely think that events like this help careers kick off, because they give you a chance to shine and to build networks,” says Michelle.

“Not to mention the fact that it was a lot of fun too!” adds Ivan.