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SAP Jobs at Clarkston: Principal SAP Consultant Career Q&A with Nathan

Nathan is a principal consultant at Clarkston Consulting, performing technical work, business analysis, and project management for a mixture of SAP and non-SAP data and analytics projects. He shares his SAP career journey below! Read his Q&A to gain insight into what an SAP career with Clarkston is like!

Nathan’s SAP Experience

How does Clarkston help you pursue an SAP career of excellence and job fulfillment? (ie. What is your favorite part about working at Clarkston?)

Every project is an opportunity to learn new technology, understand business processes, and gain industry expertise. We then take those learnings and apply them to the next challenge, so we are constantly learning and improving our ability to provide solutions for our clients.

Why did you join Clarkston as an SAP consultant, and why have you stayed?  

It was clear from the interview process that Clarkston has the maturity of people and delivery methodology that allows it to take on large and complex projects, while remaining a smaller company with a “family” feel. Clarkston placed value on the SAP skills that I had already acquired through industry work, and was confident in my ability to learn both technical and softer skills as client needs arise. I’ve stayed all these years because I feel proud to be part of a company that values its people and its clients. The quality of work that we deliver goes above and beyond the standard client-vendor relationship; we are truly partners with the clients that we serve.

What advice would you give to someone hoping to grow their SAP skillset and career? (ie. What has worked well for you?)

Nothing beats real-world experience for cementing your skills and gaining new ones. Seek out opportunities to apply your learnings through internal projects and client work. And when working on a project, try not to default to solving new challenges the same old way – look to leverage new functionality that SAP has provided, and build on that.

What made you pursue a career in SAP? (ie. What was your career path like? Is there a typical SAP career path?)

There is no typical career path for a career in SAP. The people I work with have a mixture of educational and career backgrounds, and they’re not all technical. I was first exposed to SAP when the company I worked for was acquired and there was an initiative to transition their CRM and lead reporting system to SAP (CRM / BW). I had been building custom data-driven web apps at the time, and the transition to such a mature product did require some adjustment, but doing so has opened up many subsequent opportunities for career and personal growth.

Clarkston Career Story

How long have you been with Clarkston?

I’ve been with Clarkston for 12 years.

What is your role at Clarkston?

I am a principal consultant, focusing on both SAP and non-SAP data and analytics projects. I currently do a mixture of technical work, business analysis, and project management.

Tell us about a new skill you’ve developed recently.

SAP Analytics Cloud – we have a lot of interest from clients looking to benefit from the integration of this web-based reporting tool with their SAP data, so there was a need in the firm for expertise with this offering. Since I had an SAP BW / BOBJ background, I was able to translate those skills to this new tool, and have since used my new skills for both project and demo work.

If you had to choose, which of Clarkston’s core values do you feel resonates with you the most?

Brilliant Client Service – I like the attention to detail applied to every level of delivering projects, from the most technical development tasks to organizational change management. Every task is planned and performed with the goal of providing the best possible business solution, not just checking off a box on a pre-baked implementation plan, and clients take notice on the amount of focus we place on meeting their needs.

How has your work changed post-COVID?

Working from home full time is the biggest change. I do miss the travel but I value the extra time I have with my family. I stay closely connected with my Clarkston colleagues and client counterparts through a mixture of communication means, which has been crucial to delivering high quality work in a timely manner.

Which internal initiatives, communities, or projects are you involved in at Clarkston?

I am on the Staywell team, and also a member of the Digital and Analytics Community. I am frequently called upon to provide subject matter expertise to other projects and conversations with new and potential clients.

What advice would you give to someone starting at Clarkston?

  • Take pride in your work, and be open to new challenges.
  • Your clients and Clarkston peers notice when you show interest in what is important to them.
  • No matter how technical you are, make an effort to understand business processes. Being able to communicate to all levels of a client organization is a skill that can never be outsourced

Can you share some advice that someone at Clarkston has given you during your time here?

You get out of your career what you put into it – I haven’t always been proactive with investing in my career, but at Clarkston the efforts you put into developing skills, building relationships, or just being a reliable, helpful person, result in much growth and opportunity.

Tell us about a memorable experience you’ve had while working with a client. What was your key takeaway or lesson learned from that project?

The relationships are what stick with me the most. I fondly remember being invited to celebrate a cultural holiday at the private home of a client, which was a great honor, and reflects the relationships that we strive to cultivate. In some cases I’ve even met up with client colleagues years later and thousands of miles away from where we first met.

In your experience, what qualities make someone a good consultant?

  • Understanding client needs
  • Flexibility
  • Attention to detail

What drove you to accept Clarkston’s employment offer?

Small firm with great structure, tools, processes, and opportunities equal to or better than a large firm. It was clear that the people were great and that I would both fit in and thrive here.

Curious about an SAP career at Clarkston?