Why Selma chose to work for a smaller company
Selma Palic is one of our finance and controlling consultants. She started her career at PIKON on the first working day of January 2021. She had not yet fully completed her applied economics studies and started working for a company with more than 90k employees. After a few years, she consciously chose to work for a smaller company. We asked her why she made this decision and if she still stands behind it.
Comparing one and other
She was still studying when she started working for a multinational. Like so many recent graduates, she had no idea what was possible with her degree and where she could go. After working there for a little over two years, she thought it was time to look for something else. She wanted to discover which other paths she could walk with her diploma.
In her search for the right job, she found a vacancy at PIKON on a job forum. Coincidentally, she already knew someone who worked for us. So when she applied for the job, she already knew a bit about what she could expect from PIKON as an employer. When she compares PIKON, as a smaller company, with a multinational, there are several things significantly different.
Where there was a hierarchical system in the multinational and the bosses are less easy to reach, this is not the case at all with PIKON. It is absolutely fine to send a simple message and reach out to your boss, she says herself. Colleagues also form a much closer group at PIKON.
Another big difference is in the corporate structure. In a multinational, there is much more structure. Everything goes through pre-established procedures, and the roles of each team are very clearly defined. There is less of this fixed structure at PIKON. Which is both an advantage and a disadvantage, Selma says. If you have an idea, or you want to approach something that’s always been done a certain way differently, you can feel free to suggest and eventually change it at PIKON. This way of working and communicating not only gives the feeling that you have a say in your job content but also changes the way you collaborate with your colleagues. In the beginning, this was a bit of adjustment for her, but now she’s used to working this way and notices the advantages of a flat hierarchy.
Looking back at her decision
After a year, she is still happy with her decision. She enjoys the flexibility and freedom that PIKON offers as an employer. She especially finds the possibility to give meaning to her days very positive. “The 9 to 5 regime does not apply within PIKON. If you’re an early riser, no one will stop you from starting at 7 am and, if you’d like to, for example, take a longer lunch break to exercise or go to the supermarket, this is no problem at all.”
Her job as a financial and controlling consultant offers a lot of variety. She has worked on several projects and has specialized in different topics such as RRICB and country-specific legal requirements. What she likes most about her job is that it mainly consists of working in a team and that she is not constantly working alone on separate projects. In the future, she would like to lead such a team of colleagues as a project manager.
See the world while traveling as a consultant
Working with clients all over the world has its perks. Especially when you get the opportunity to travel to their offices abroad.
The PIKONeers shared some of their best business trip experiences!
Olga's journey to an SAP Consultant
My acquaintance with the SAP world started more than 10 years ago when I became the Business Process Owner Lead for the Order to Cash process for an SAP Implementation. As a newbie to SAP, I was amazed at how much this system could do. The ease of how processes can be automated and the importance of correct customizing and settings behind the screen. All to get the most out of the ERP system, reduce manual work, and support business processes.
Ten years later, I, Olga Berendeeva, am working as a Senior SAP consultant for logistical flows at PIKON and have already been involved in numerous projects.
The decision to switch from an internal role to a consulting role has not come easy, there are always “buts” in each job, but I was slightly scared of consultancy. Now that I have this experience, I can look back and highlight the advantages and challenges of consultancy compared to an internal role within a company.
As a consultant, you are always challenged to learn more, dig deeper, and solve the most complex issues. Issues that the internal support team might not be able to solve. Apart from all the fun, there is also the responsibility to find and deliver the best solution.
You get to see and work for different companies, discover how they operate, learn the best practices within each domain, and which business processes they use. There is also a lot of variation within the projects you are assigned to. Sometimes it will be an e-invoicing project, an implementation of a new company into the existing SAP landscape, the set-up of a new warehouse, the set-up of a new business line, or different mergers and acquisitions. This experience can be very enriching both professionally and personally. As the more you see and learn, the faster and more efficiently you can support and tackle issues in future projects. It requires a certain dose of commitment to get to know the company, its processes, and the team you are working with. It can sometimes feel discouraging as you might experience that with each project, you need to start over again to get to know the people, figure out how the company operates, and understand their unique business cases. But this is what makes the job of consultants interesting and fun. You will never get bored, and you will never have the feeling that you are doing the same tasks over and over again.
I am writing this blog while sitting in the airport lounge waiting for my flight to Budapest to visit a customer. As a consultant, you get to see the world. You will meet all kinds of people from different countries and nationalities and develop your intercultural skills. You get to speak different languages daily – in my case, it’s a lot of English but also Dutch, French, and sometimes German. I even had to read some texts in Italian for one of the projects (I studied Italian back at university as a hobby). During the four years of working for PIKON, I have so far been in 12 cities and 9 countries. As an internal business analyst, you are limited by the offices in which the company operates, but as an SAP consultant, you never know what life can bring you. Some of the places I have visited so far are London, Manchester and High Wycombe (UK), Moscow (RU), Milan (IT), Madrid (ES), Solingen and Saarbrucken (DE), Prague (CZ), Budapest (HU), Rotterdam and Amsterdam (NL), Basel (CH).
As you see, there are challenges in each job. In my role as an SAP consultant, I get a lot of fulfillment from what I do. The content and variety of the tasks and projects keep me sharp. I am still discovering and learning new things in each project I do. There is also a lot of satisfaction in seeing the project going live after working on it for several months. And of course, the valuable feedback from the customers and colleagues makes me feel appreciated in what I do.
Become our new colleague!
Elseline tells us what it was like as a trainee at PIKON
Like several other colleagues at PIKON, Elseline Senave started working for us as soon as she left school. After working as a trainee for a while, she is now officially a junior consultant. But how did her training period go? How did she learn the tricks of the trade? And what are her day-to-day tasks? Elseline was happy to answer all of our questions.
During a virtual job fair (during the corona period) at Hasselt University, Elseline deliberately looked for her future employer. With her diploma in Business Informatics (almost) finished, she approached companies active in the IT world. She was quite selective about which companies she wanted to speak to, but fortunately, PIKON was one of them. In the end, she only really applied at one company, the only company she clicked with. during the interview at the job fair. It is probably clear which company that was. Impressed by her motivation and interest in the field, we at PIKON said a resounding yes!
In her first weeks, she quickly discovered that PIKON did not exaggerate the company culture during the job interviews because she soon experienced the flat hierarchy herself. It was very striking to me that the contact with the management team went just as smooth and in the same way as with my closest colleagues. After working for PIKON for a few months, this is still what I find most pleasant about the company.
The training period
There is no real classical training scheme at PIKON. The interests and knowledge of the people themselves are taken into consideration and a personal schedule is made for each new colleague. During Elseline’s training, she got included in customer projects very soon. She mainly attended meetings and observed her colleagues working in the customers’ SAP systems. This way of training gave her an immediate picture of how things work in real life. Another way of learning the job skills was through specific one-on-one trainings she received from colleagues and the management team. She is currently working out complete customer demos and supporting her colleagues with their customer projects.
Elseline has a great interest in researching new topics or innovations. As always, PIKON makes sure personal interests are taken into account during weekly plannings and the division of tasks. In the meantime, she already is an expert in areas that PIKON Benelux has never worked on before. Her research contributes to the company’s perspective to continue to innovate and evolve. When finalising a research topic, she creates a short training to teach her colleagues, that taught her so much the past few months, something new.
A tip from Elseline for recently graduated students
“It is absolutely not a must to know SAP through and through. Through the business knowledge you have obtained at school, you often already have a basic understanding of what it is all about. While working on projects and getting both basic and applied SAP training, you will actually learn how to translate your business knowledge to the SAP system.”