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A Straight Path to Audi's Professional IT World - SAP Postgraduate Training

2023. 06. 09.

Audi Hungaria's SAP postgraduate programme at the Széchenyi István University in Győr was launched in 2022.

In the course of our discussion, questions were raised to the inventors and experts about the SAP Postgraduate course (Mariann Hidi – Manager Audi Group IT Services, Katalin Szécsényi – Manager Competence Center SAP Basis/Technology, Bernadett Domokos – Education and Academic Cooperations), and Csongor Raboczki, the first student to have acquired SAP education from the University, and already using his skills at Audi shared his experiences with us.

Employer Branding: Where did the history of SAP postgraduate training begin Mariann?

Mariann Hidi: In IT, we are constantly looking to the future and seeking ways to ensure the growth and development of our field of expertise - to the benefit of both our company and our employees. In our specialised area, we not only perform IT tasks related to the Győr site, but also provide services for many countries around the world. 3 years ago we recognised that one of the key factors of increasing our marketability would be to develop our SAP-related competencies, as this ERP software is a particularly important component of the Group's operations. At that time, it was already clear to us that it was of strategic importance to expand our team, and that a considerable increase in the number of engineers working on the scheme would be a vital factor in our development.

EB: Why did you decide on initiating e a university course? Why didn't you just look for a solution through the classic recruitment method?

Mariann Hidi: The labour market opportunities as an employer are extremely limited in the IT sector worldwide. We realised this relatively early and consciously started to look for - and even create - ways to provide people interested in the subject with the necessary skills and practical knowledge. While we always welcome applicants with a wide range of experience, we have decided to open the door and provide opportunities for enthusiastic professionals who already have a general basic IT knowledge but still need to acquire the necessary practical skills. To acquire this knowledge, we have developed the SAP Postgraduate Training in cooperation with the Széchenyi István University. 

EB: Why the postgraduate form?

Bernadett Domokos: Mariann came to us in 2021 with well-defined needs and expectations. She knew exactly what expertise her field required, and through our collaborations with higher education institutions, we strived to meet those needs to the best of our knowledge. We started the work by conducting a thorough analysis in collaboration with our university partners to assess the knowledge acquired by computer science students during their education. With the help of a project team involving university instructors, we identified topics that were not fully covered or not covered at all in the general computer science curriculum but could provide us as a company with valuable knowledge that serves our current and future strategic goals. Through this meticulous work, the idea of establishing a postgraduate program specifically focused on imparting SAP knowledge began to take shape. We examined the framework, possibilities, subject matter, and content of the (then planned) postgraduate program in detail, together with the head of the Széchenyi István University Adult Education and Competence Development Center, the instructional project team, and our IT professionals working in the SAP field. As a result of our collaborative efforts, it became clear to us which topics needed to be taught and deepened in order for qualified SAP professionals to have the opportunity to apply to our company upon completing the program.

When choosing the format of the training, our main goal was to cover the widest possible spectrum for target groups currently present in the labor market or in higher education. We considered it of utmost importance to provide our employees involved in the transformation with opportunities for development and expanding their knowledge. The scheduling of the training sessions also serves this purpose, primarily taking place on Friday afternoons and Saturdays. Additionally, we also counted on the participation of active university students in the training we initiated, as with their freshly obtained degrees and these specialized skills, they would have better chances of stepping into the real world and becoming colleagues like Csongor.

EB: Based on your account, it seems like a meticulous, long process. What drove you forward?

Bernadett Domokos: We knew that we were pioneers, and we believed that there was a demand for change and development. Every member of the team put their expertise and experience into the project—whether it was the Audi IT professionals or the university staff. Mariann's dedication and enthusiasm captivated us, and there was no question in our minds that what we were creating together would be a training program that fills a gap, and we were confident that it could open new doors for many people.

Now, I can proudly report on our achievements because it is evident that through the completion of the training, which consists of three modules/subject areas divided into two semesters, students acquire in-depth theoretical and practical SAP knowledge. They understand the system's structure, logic, interfaces, and they can confidently work with it.

EB: How different is it to start working with a new employee from a SAP postgraduate course?

Katalin Szécsényi:  A regular university IT education provides students with a broad spectrum of general knowledge. However, the SAP basis and SAP logistics/production areas require specialized expertise, which is scarce among professionals in Hungary. When compiling the curriculum for the training, my colleagues, who have years of experience and knowledge, actively participated, ensuring that the students coming out of the program will possess the necessary knowledge base for future tasks.

Of course, we don't expect the new colleagues coming from the training to work independently right away. The first few months are dedicated to fulfilling the onboarding plan, providing mentorship support, and additional Audi-specific training. During this period, the new team members gain sufficient practice and confidence while integrating into the team.

EB: Csongor Raboczki is the first graduate who successfully joined your team in the SAP basis administrator position. How did you welcome Csongor?

Katalin Szécsényi: Katalin Szécsényi: We were particularly delighted by his application because, as you mentioned, he was the "early bird" and it reinforced our belief that we have started something great. Throughout the selection process, it was clear to us that, beyond acquiring the necessary professional foundations, he possesses soft skills that fit perfectly within our team. We eagerly awaited his arrival with excitement and openness, and after three months, we can already see through experience that our plan has succeeded. Csongor came to us with excellent foundations, and we are already building upon them together.

EB: Csongor, let's go back in time. Why did you apply to take part in the training?

Csongor Raboczki:  I saw it as a big opportunity and a stepping stone. I had already wanted to work for Audi during my IT bachelor's degree - but unfortunately it didn't work out - so I took a job as an ERP software developer at another company. I gained great professional experience here, but I lacked the SAP skills that would have been my "entry card" into the world of multinational companies. When I found out about the postgraduate course in the university newsletter, there was no question in my mind that this could be the way of becoming an Audi employee.

EB: What was the school like?

Csongor Raboczki: The classes were very practical and we were educated by professional instructors with a wide range of expertise. I can safely say that my classmates and I have gained a unique knowledge. We all took part with great enthusiasm and motivation, and this was absolutely obvious. My favourite subject was “Corporate Management System Operations I-II". It was during these lessons that I decided that I wanted to do this in the long term.

EB: Why did the topic of operation interest you?

Csongor Raboczki: Everything that SAP operations cover may seem like magic to the outside world. It's a very complex subject, where you need to look into every detail of the software to solve problems that the developers may not be able to solve. In this area, it is absolutely true that you learn until you die. Every day we face new challenges and new tasks. I'm definitely enjoying it all. Actually, I've always liked this about IT, because the constant problem solving gives us a constant sense of the “Eureka” moment. Every day.

EB: How did you end up as a staff member at Audi Hungaria?

Csongor Raboczki: During the training, we had several visits from Audi’s IT managers to talk freely about the profession, their work and our opportunities. We were able to ask questions and get answers. This is where I first met my current boss, Katalin. I submitted my application immediately after the face-to-face interview and a few weeks later we got to know each other better at an interview.

I joined the SAP Basis team on 9 March and since then I've been improving with the help of my mentor and my tutorial plan. I am happy to say that my goal from years ago has been fulfilled, I got what I expected and imagined in my field, and maybe even more. I wanted to work in a good team and this came true 100%. Even though we work a lot in home office, I still feel part of a close-knit team.

EB: What are your plans for the future?

Csongor Raboczki: I want to continue on the path I embarked on: to keep improving my knowledge. I'm really enjoying the work we're doing so far and it's incredibly inspiring to be around everyone learning constantly. We are actually developing together as a team and that's great!

Personally, I work on Porsche systems from here in Hungary, but German is a completely new language for me, so in addition to my professional development, my short-term goal is to learn the German technical language.

EB: Who would you recommend the training to?

Csongor Raboczki: I am happy to recommend this training, it gave me a very positive feeling and fulfilled my hopes. I would recommend it primarily to recent graduates or experienced engineers, based on my own example, who have a bachelor's degree in IT but want to acquire specific SAP skills and work for world-class companies.

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