In Las Vegas last month, 6,000 people gathered for an annual global conference showcasing the latest in business technology. Of these 6,000, a mere ten were university students. Of these ten, four were from Dalhousie.
“We’re at the pinnacle here,” says Dr. Michael Bliemel, professor at the Rowe School of Business and coordinator of its SAP initiative. SAP, a software corporation specializing in enterprise technology, hosted SAP TechEd in Las Vegas, drawing personnel from a variety of industries worldwide. The event boasts hundreds of workshops, showrooms and presentations. Rowe students Dustin Shreeve (BComm graduate and Master of Electronic Commerce student) Molly MacDonald (BComm student) and Ali Kazerani and Connie Zheng (MBA students) traveled with Bliemel to the conference.
Chief among the circumstances that brought them there, says Bliemel, is the existence of the TIME department (Technology, Innovation Management and Innovation) at Rowe. “We have a group that covers both entrepreneurship and enterprise systems. Because of that strong connection on both sides, our students were invited to represent the SAP University Alliance in general.”
The Rowe students competed in InnoJam, a competition to develop software that meets a particular need in the education system. They were divided into two teams, and joined by students from Indiana and Penn State. Six of the 13 teams made it to the finals, where each team had just six minutes to present to an audience of senior SAP executives and industry professionals, who voted for the winners.
Both of the teams with Dalhousie students were finalists; one placed second overall. Bliemel explains just how impressive that is: they were the only student teams. “The others were composed of experienced IT professionals, programmers and consultants. That the students almost won was just incredible. They blew away our expectations.”