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Informational Interviews

John Latreille

Corporate Strategy, SAP

Interviewed: 10/20/2020

John has been working in a corporate strategy capacity with SAP for the past 5 years now. Before that, John was a financial analyst for a company that was acquired by SAP. John was working closely on integrating businesses acquired by SAP, which helped him navigate his way into the corporate strategy team there.

Corporate Strategy at SAP

Corporate strategy at SAP oversees the corporate development team, as well as the partnerships team, and the portfolio team (that makes decisions pertaining to R&D resources allocation). The corporate strategy function at SAP sets the company targets for the next 5 years, and the break it down by portfolio. Based on the corporate strategy, they then decide (with the rest of the teams):

  • What to build: If building in house is not the best viable option, they then decide;
  • Who they can partner with: In the event that there are players out there that SAP can partner with and can get the value that they need;
  • Who they can buy: if building in house and partnerships don’t make sense, SAP will look to acquire entities

If none of the above make sense, SAP will re-evaluate their desire to ‘play’ in the space the strategy outlined.

Typical Background for Corporate Dev. at SAP

Per John, the typical Corporate Dev. manager will have either a consulting experience, engineering experience, and/or an MBA. John emphasized the necessity of background in tech. Further, John did mention that there are people on his team with product management experience as well, that transitioned into corporate development.

Key Takeaways

Similar to my interview with Seong, I’ve learnt that it is possible to make the transition from Product to corporate dev/strategy. It’ll take showing that I have experience and aligning my resume/skills with what’s required.

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