I could fill another dozen blogs with all the fun activities I’ve experienced at Nike this summer: seeing Lebron James on campus as we celebrate his 11th year with the swoosh, playing pickup beach volleyball on Friday afternoons, taking a double-decker bus to local Oregon vineyards, and the list goes on. But, I suppose I should dedicate at least one entry to my professional experience this summer. Unlike most interns at Nike who have one project over the course of the summer, I’ve actually had the opportunity to learn invaluable lessons across three projects, each at very different levels of the company.
The 100,000 Foot View: My first project with the Corporate Strategy & Development group was in support of the annual corporate strategic planning meeting for Nike’s CEO and executive team. To help underscore the importance of a long term vision, I developed a presentation about the parallels between JFK’s vision to put a man on the moon in the 1960s and the opportunity that faces Nike today. With technology advancements speeding up day-by-day, what could Nike accomplish in a decade if the US could successfully complete the Apollo mission? What should be the vision to catalyze Nike toward global leadership, just as the space race galvanized America? Only Mark Parker and his team know for now, but I was excited to get a glimpse into the way Nike’s top executives are thinking about the future, while also honing my ability to tell a compelling leadership story.
The 50,000 Foot View: My second project was with the Nike women’s business, called Women’s Training. My work with this team brought me one step closer to the product and the Nike consumer, allowing me to see Nike’s intense passion for meeting ‘her’ needs. Assessing the women’s athletic clothing market, I helped the Women’s Training team better understand Nike’s position against global competitors and identify gaps or opportunities to consider in their business plan. Working with the group’s Strategic Planner, I also developed a ‘War Games’ activity to provide a simulation where key companies in the market battled for market share by making strategic moves like brand extensions, product innovation, and international expansion. While the game was simulated, the lessons are being taken seriously in considering Nike’s next moves in meeting women’s needs, and the analytical skills I honed will surely be a personal asset in the future.
The View from Your Finger Tip: My final project brought me down into the details of the Nike+ Running app with a team of twelve other graduate and undergraduate interns from across the company. Our goal was to understand current Nike+ users and provide ideas for continuing to engage the Nike+ community. Our team surveyed nearly 150 runners, conducted over 30 one-on-one interviews, scanned the market for competitive apps, and ran over 1,000 miles using Nike+ ourselves. In the end, we gathered valuable insights that led to our recommendations to take Nike+ to the next level by providing runners with the resources, training and social support they need to achieve their goals. Our hard work paid off in the best way – I learned how to take deep consumer insights and apply them directly to a Nike product, and our team was selected to present our recommendations to all 150 Nike interns and Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike!
– Amanda Burlison, MBA 2014