Program offers student real-world experience and scholarship opportunities.
Meaghan Haugh

Since Rider University began its partnership with SAP University Alliances Program in 2001, the College of Business Administration has been able to offer its students cutting-edge resources to succeed in the classroom and beyond.

SAP is the world's largest provider of enterprise resource planning (ERP) software to manage and integrate business operations and customer relationships. Through the SAP University Alliances Program, faculty members develop and share software curriculum online and participate in professional development workshops, in order to provide students with hands-on experience making business decisions using real-time, integrated data. For the past couple of years, SAP University Alliance has also offered a scholarship program to its member institutions.

“The SAP University Alliance is beneficial to our students. Through the membership, students gain experience using the software and are also eligible for scholarship opportunities,” said Dr. Lauren Eder, chair of the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management. “Ultimately, the program adds value to the experiential learning component of the business curriculum.”

This was the first time that Rider students participated in the scholarship program. Out of 40 applicants from other SAP University Alliance member schools in the United States and Canada, 15 scholarships were awarded, with three of them going to Rider students. Stefanie Cupo ’12, an Accounting major, Bryan Griffith ’12, a Marketing and Advertising dual major, and Puneet Joshi ’12, an Accounting and Finance dual major, were each awarded $5,000 to use toward their spring tuition.

“Our students should really feel proud that they won this award,” said Eder, who sent an e-mail to all qualifying CBA students in September. Students needed to have a 3.5 GPA or higher, junior or senior status, plus volunteer work experience, résumé, and faculty reference. 

It was Eder who initially brought the Alliance initiative to Rider in 2001 after receiving a $25,000 grant from the Sarnoff Corporation. Since then, the Department of Information Systems and Supply Chain Management has incorporated the SAP enterprise software in several of its undergraduate and graduate courses, including CIS-185: Information Systems Essentials, CIS 315: Integrated Business with SAP, CIS 485: Management Information Systems and GSC 485: Information Systems for Global Supply Chain Management.

“Faculty members are able to incorporate business concepts and data with real business software based on the courses that they are teaching,” Eder said.

The SAP enterprise software integrates all functional areas of a business and is updated in real time. For example, if someone makes a sale, through the software, inventory is automatically updated and replenished, the general ledger is updated to cash receivables and if there is a commission, it’s reported to human resources.

In addition to learning concepts from textbooks and case studies, students are able to use and generate data and make decision using integration through the SAP enterprise software.

For example, in GSC 485, Eder uses a real-time simulation game called ERPsim, offered through Alliances Program, where students compete in teams by making strategic business decisions as managers in a distribution company and also in a manufacturing company.

“Students learn firsthand about the value of real-time, integrated data across the supply chain," Eder said.  “They have reported a lot of positive feedback from prospective employers when they talk about their hands-on ERP experience during interviews.”