October 14, 2011
Metropolitan State University of Denver
Professor’s idea leads to conference that draws 50 companies to campus
Biswadip Ghosh, assistant professor of computer information systems (CIS), had a great idea.
For the last year or so, Ghosh has met off campus with users of a popular business software to exchange notes on managing data and information and to give them some knowledge about the School of Business and its CIS program.
Those get-togethers sparked the idea that Metro State could host a similar meeting to expose even more companies to the business school and give students and faculty greater insight into how this software is used in the real world.
So on Sept. 30, students, teachers and representatives of companies and organizations gathered at the Auraria Campus for a conference on management information systems, particularly the enterprise resource planning (ERP) software developed by SAP, a company headquartered in Germany with operations around the world, including the United States.
More than 160 people attended, including roughly 25 faculty members, 50 or so students and 90 representatives from more than 50 organizations, including HP, Johns Manville, Lockheed Martin, MillerCoors, Sandoz, Leprino Foods, Great-West Life and Janus.
“We had record attendance…we really got a good crowd,” Ghosh says.
Put simply, SAP ERP software provides businesses with analytical tools and connects data from a company’s core functions such as financial management, supply chain, purchasing, human resources and project management. “It’s kind of an integrated suite of applications the customers can use to run the different parts of their business,” Ghosh says. SAP has more than 60 percent of the global market in ERP software, he added.
The conference offered students more than just a lesson in using software. The SAP platform also demonstrates how the various parts of a business interact toward a common goal, Ghosh says.
Metro State, along with Regis University, the University of Colorado-Boulder, and Colorado State University, are among the schools worldwide that belong to SAP’s University Alliance. The program encourages collaboration among member schools and provides them with a variety of services, including course materials, access to SAP software and workshops.
The conference exposed businesses to the university alliance concept and gave companies a feel for what Metro State is teaching. “If they’re looking for a person who knows the (software’s) accounting module or if they know that we’re teaching with the business intelligence module then that gives them some knowledge about who they should recruit,” Ghosh says.
Conference-goer Brian Cleaver sure hopes that’s the case. The 27-year-old senior CIS major wondered whether working with enterprise resource planning software in a business environment was the direction he wanted to go after graduation.
“I got to look at some of the different aspects of it…and I got to talk to a lot of people who work in the field, who work for SAP or had implemented it in their company. What I found out is this is exactly where I wanted to be.”
The conference turned out to be a good place to pursue that goal. It closed with an internship fair, and Cleaver took advantage by applying for a job with Johns Manville.