Dillon Alexander is a Marketing major set to graduate in May 2020. This summer he interned for Nike as a Global Merchandising Strategic Initiatives Intern in Beaverton, Ohio.
How did you get this internship?
For my MGMT359 project I was interviewing a Nike merchant, who also stretched into recruiting; she ended up flipping the interview around on me and inviting me to their info session and dinner. From there, I went through an intensive interview process including creating and presenting a SWOT analysis, as well as an in-person interview, and got the job within a month of meeting with the recruiter.
What was a typical day like?
My day typically looked like sitting on several meetings throughout the day with my team, with a one-on-one conversation sprinkled in with someone at the company to introduce myself and learn a little bit about what they do. I’d also have some time to work on my projects, or work on smaller deliverables that were time-sensitive. In the evening, we had intern activities, such as sport intramurals, speaker series, or dinners that we would get to participate in.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
My favorite part of the experience was getting to be a part of a brand that lives and breathes sport, competition, inclusion, and inspiration. The brand lives these pillars out on campus every single day. The people who work here want to be here, and are recognize how lucky they are to have landed a spot here. It truly is a privilege to work at the brand; being a part of a down-to-earth culture that recognizes their privilege in that was special.
If you worked on a big project, please describe it below:
I was able to build out visual tools, product lists, and other pertinent information needed in order to align our efforts for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020 through global, geo, and city teams. I was also able to gain experience in product strategy through driving a long-term vision project regarding FlyEase, Nike’s adaptive footwear line. This experience allowed me to work cross-functionally and speak with a lot of different people around the company that provided great perspective on my project, but also exposed me to different parts of the business and where we are leading sport into the future.
What did you find most challenging about your internship?
Adapting to a highly competitive, extremely fast culture was tough at first! Immersing yourself in the experience is the only way to have a chance at being able to contribute. The first month is learning terms, acronyms, the matrix, and how your job fits into the Nike ecosystem. This is very humbling and requires you to ask a lot of questions, ask for help, and swallow your pride. We don’t often like to do this, but those who work there expect that you do that, otherwise you are going to fall behind. You are not looked down upon, but are praised for your curiosity.
What advice do you have for other students looking for a similar internship?
The main thing that helped me get my internship was taking initiative to reach out and show interest. I hadn’t originally reached out about an internship; I was simply interested in learning more about the company. How can you provide value to them, without simply looking out for your own interests in wanting an internship? Also, please be a human! Show off why you are unique and show off your character. Build a strong relationship with key stakeholders in the internship process- if it’s meant to be, it’s meant to be. Don’t try and force it.
How did Eller prepare you for your internship?
Ultimately, Eller is fast-paced, high pressure, and all about teamwork. That is what working at a big company is like! You can’t get good at performing under these conditions in a book. Through our first semester, we learn these by practice, and it shows off big-time when it comes to large intern group projects where we need to collaborate. When you have already done it several times, it puts you in a position to lead rather than to follow. Driving work becomes instinct, and it allows you to care for your group members better and maximize their skills, while empowering them to do great work.
Anything else you would like to share about your internship experience?
Nike is looking to hire more Eller interns in the coming weeks! Stay tuned to your emails and lookout for opportunities very soon.