Demand Surges for Classes on Business Software

Management School Ramps Up Offerings to Meet Need for Expertise in SAP

July 13, 2009

A dramatic increase in demand for business-process courses has spurred the School of Management to add classes and step up the school’s affiliation with the dominant maker of business-solutions software.

The courses teach students how to run programs that integrate data on myriad company resources—such as employees, inventory and customers—with such workplace functions  as accounting, manufacturing and sales. The integration helps companies streamline operations and improve performance.

Improving efficiency via software is generically known as enterprise systems management. The expanded role these systems are playing in business has the attention of educators and students as well as executives.

Enrollment in the School of Management’s introductory undergraduate Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) course doubled in the last year. Registration in a graduate-level course devoted to cataloguing, storing and retrieving company information has doubled twice since spring 2008.

The school has launched two new business-process courses and three certificate alternatives in its Information Systems curriculum. In addition, a redesigned introductory course in information technology—required for all undergraduate business majors—debuts this fall.

Widespread adoption of such tools by large organizations is one reason enrollment is up, said Dr. Mark Thouin, director of the Management Information Systems program.

He also attributes classroom growth to consolidation of vendors selling enterprise resource planning software and services. That consolidation has brought “greater stability in the marketplace,” he said. “And because of this, students are recognizing there is a long-term opportunity for people with knowledge, skills and ability in ERP systems.”

Thouin said demand is particularly strong for people who can run systems developed by market leader SAP, a worldwide company based in Germany that offers enterprise management software, applications and services to businesses of all sizes in more than 25 industries.

SAP knowledge “is a great skill to add to your résumé,” Judy Guyer, director of the school’s Career Management Center, concurs. “The recruiters seeking technically oriented job candidates ask for SAP skills 40 to 50 percent of the time. In non-technical fields, roughly a quarter of the recruiters are looking for SAP competencies as well.”

Recruiter interest is one reason the school is maximizing its membership in SAP’s University Alliances, a union that brings students more SAP curriculum materials and workshops, increases School of Management bonds with a global network of enterprise management scholars and improves recruiting opportunities.

The alliance also “lets UT Dallas teach with and incorporate SAP software in classroom experiences,” Thouin said.

A two-week certification academy the School of Management ran for the first time this spring prepared students to sit for an exam that, successfully passed, results in designation as an associate-level SAP consultant in business processes.

“To my knowledge, UT Dallas is the second school in Texas to do certification training,” said Dr. Lou Thompson, coordinator of the Enterprise Management Systems program in the School of Management.

The academy had an 87.4 percent pass rate among School of Management students, said. “The average pass rate,” he added, “is 70 percent.”

Another certificate option, SAP Business One, teaches enterprise software geared to businesses with fewer than 200 employees.

Students, alums and the public can augment their training by joining the campus SAP Users’ Group, a 200-member organization that Thompson serves as faculty adviser. “We have companies come and do information sessions, and we have a speaker every month,” he said.


Media Contact: Kris Imherr, UT Dallas, (972) 883-4793, imherr@utdallas.edu
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, newscenter@utdallas.edu

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  "Students are recognizing there is a long-term opportunity for people with knowledge, skills and ability in ERP systems,” said Dr. Mark Thouin, director of the Management Information Systems program.

 


“To my knowledge, UT Dallas is the second school in Texas to do certification training,” said Dr. Lou Thompson, coordinator of the Enterprise Management Systems program in the School of Management.
 

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