Interview with David Kargman, an Industry Value Advisor supporting the Sports & Entertainment Industry at SAP

By: Adam White, @FOSAdam

Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with David Kargman an Industry Value Advisor supporting the Sports & Entertainment Industry at SAP. He is an alumnus of Ursinus College - a small liberal arts school 30 miles west of Philadelphia where he recieved his Bachelor's degree in Business and Economics. He is also an alumnus of St. Joseph's University where he received his MBA in 2011.  He was gracious enough to offer up his time and insight into the unique interworkings of the newly formed Sports and Entertainment Industry aspect of SAP, the worlds leading business software provider.

What were your previous positions if any prior to your current position? How did they help you get to where you are today?

Managerial Assistant at BK Trucking Co:  Worked closely with my Father – Owner/President and quickly learned the value of hard work and challenges of running a business.

Positive Wealth Management intern experiences at UBS Financial Services: 

The time spent as UBS highlighted to me just how important it is to put the customer at the center of everything you do.  Satisfied customers are your best reference.  Maintaining and enhancing your relationships / network is critical to growing personally and professionally.

Client Support Specialist at TS Partners Inc: 

Provided virtual and on-site support to over 90 clients across the US; managed the installation of Transtar - financial recordkeeping software – at various companies within the Corporate Trust & Stock Transfer industries; trained employees on Transtar; participated in new product design and testing.  This role required wearing multiple hats.  I quickly learned how important proper training and development was to reducing employee time-to-value and improving overall productivity. 

Graduate Academy Associate at SAP America Inc: 

Completed 11 month cross-functional, leadership training program for recent MBA graduates that covered SAP’s business model, solutions, and processes. This program validated my previous learnings and desires of being a part of an organization that values their employees from both a development and growth perspective. By going through these rotations, I quickly learned where my skills would apply best within SAP.

As Industry Value Advisor at SAP who supports the Sports & Entertainment Industry what is the average day like for a person in your position? What are the day-to-day challenges?

As part of the Industry Value Engineering (IVE) team, we execute structured, fact based performance benchmarking analyses and business cases with customers that support investment in SAP solutions. We lead and help customers discover the right projects, measure progress during implementation, and optimize their IT investments in order to achieve short and long term strategic objectives. 

We have various tools and methodologies to assist us with our strategic services we offer customers.  Ultimately, we are a part of the sales organization that highlights the quantitative and qualitative benefits the customer can achieve by leveraging our solutions.  A unique attribute of our IVE services compared to some of our peers is that our services are actually free of charge – a true differentiator.

As for day-to-day activities, it varies. Although the Sports & Entertainment industry is SAP’s newest in terms of going to market, SAP is seeing tremendous demand for its solutions.  In this particular role, it’s important to understand the trends in the industry, the typical challenges these leagues and franchises are dealing with, and how SAP is their best option in terms of a partnership moving forward as they continue to grow. 

Developing thought leadership content such as Whitepapers, blogs, etc are important to scaling these messages.  From an account planning standpoint, we strategize on certain accounts at different times of the year and build customer centric, executable plans for the coming quarter(s). 

We regularly engage in joint workshops with key customer stakeholders to identify their strategy and pain points, while at the same time linking those to our solution capabilities, value potential, and multi-year roadmap.  When building the business case, it’s important we build an executive storyline, validate all findings with the customer, and drive customer ownership of the case for change.  At times, we also help the customer compare deal options in terms of cost, risk, and value in order to decide whether or not to buy now, buy later, buy via different payment terms, etc.

What is your favorite part about working in the sports industry/ business sector of sports?

Being a former athlete in various sports, I have a deep passion for what athletics can teach us from a life lesson perspective.  This passion persists today as demonstrated by my deep fandom of our beloved Philly sports teams. 

With this said, I’ve always had the desire to learn more about the inner workings of these franchises/leagues and what really makes them tick.  Being a part of SAP has given me the opportunity to do just that.  It’s empowering to be able to identify needs of a person or group, link them to what our solution can enable, and show them the value that they can achieve – whether it is from a fan engagement standpoint, team performance standpoint, or even a revenue growth standpoint.

What is your ultimate career goal?

I find it difficult to have a finite, career goal at this point.  I find it more productive and realistic to segment goals in five year increments.  Especially in the technology industry, things can change quickly.  In 20 years from now, there may be a new, thriving industry that we aren’t even talking about today.  Who would have thought 20 years ago that there would be more mobile devices in the world today than toothbrushes? 

To answer the question in general terms, I have a deep passion for working with others and helping them solve their most critical business needs.  For the time being, I’d like to continue working with customers to help them achieve their objectives.

How important is networking in your eyes?

Your network equals your net worth.  I’m sure everyone has heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know”.  Education and being able to articulate a message are obviously important to your success, but I find the saying to have some validity.  Putting yourself out there yet at the same time being polite and professional can go a long way. 

Also, networking is all about give and take.  It’s not always about you.  How can you help the individual you are reaching out to?  What are their goals?  What are they struggling with?  What gets them up in the morning?

What is the best career advice you’ve been given so far?

Everyone has the desire to win, but only champions have the desire to prepare.

Be humble, stay hungry.

If you had to hire someone right now what traits would the ideal candidate need to have to succeed in today’s sports industry?

Analytical skills

Executive presence / presentation skills / ability to clearly articulate a message / storytelling

Ability to multi-task and wear different hats

Intrinsic desire to learn

If you were in the position to hire someone, what is one thing that you would want to see on a resume that would make a candidate stand out from the rest?

Relevant experience that resulted in specific, tangible outcomes for the organization 

Going out of your comfort zone to make an difference

 

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