When beginning the application processes for internships last fall, one of the thoughts I often pondered with each company I interviewed with was what it would be like living in a different state where I knew virtually no one. Between the five different companies I applied to, all of them were in states far from the two vastly different places I call home in Tucson, AZ and now Raleigh, NC. Even so, for the opportunity to be with the company I dreamed of interning (and hopefully one day working for) since I first took my recruiting visit to the U of A, I knew no matter what happened, it would be well worth it.
To my delight, the day I received my official offer from Nike I also received word that three of my fellow classmates did as well. Rachel Ward, who has been a good friend of mine since we had our first retailing class together freshman year, as well as Grace Tillemans and Kylie Stratton, who served on the TJLC Student Advisory Board would be interning at Nike as well. And just when I thought it could not get any better, I heard back from corporate housing that Grace, Rachel, Bentley (Rachel’s adorable dog) and I would be living together too. While I have enjoyed the opportunity to get to know these two so well over the past five weeks sharing some amazing adventures and memories, I wanted everyone to have the opportunity to hear a little bit more about them and their experiences so far.
To first provide some brief background, this summer, Grace is interning with North America Women’s Training Apparel Category Merchandising while Rachel, who is also working with the North American Marketplace, is a Women’s Running Merchandiser for Specialty Stores. So let’s hear a little bit more about what they have to say:
“Can you both give me a brief overview of the summer projects that you are currently working on?”
Grace: “My summer project is focusing on determining marketplace capacity and insights for fall and Holiday 18. The purpose of this assignment is to allow North America the opportunity to research trends and come up with new product assortments to pitch back to the global department within Nike.”
Rachel: “My summer project asks, ‘How can we attract women to the mall through Product, Service, and Environment?’ Essentially, I must come up with a strategic approach on how to elevate and revamp the shopping experience for our intended target market and bring ‘Her’ back into stores.”
“What has been your favorite experience so far either with Nike or outside of the internship?”
Grace: “My favorite experience at Nike so far has been learning more in just one month than I have ever learned at school. Each meeting I get to attended with my manager, I learn something new about the overall process that goes into creating every product. This can range anywhere from initial sketches to seeing the finished products within each store. My favorite experience outside of Nike has been all the amazing food Portland has to offer! I have a food Instagram called @StuffYoFaceWithGrace so I love discovering new places to eat.”
Rachel: “My favorite experience so far would have to be spending quality time and really getting to know the individuals on my team on a daily basis – they’re hilarious. The same would also go for my fellow interns (both at work and outside of work especially).”
“What has been the biggest learning curve or obstacle that you have had to face so far in your internship?”
Grace: “Memorizing the acronyms! Nike employees sound like they are speaking a different language.”
Rachel: “My biggest challenge thus far is adjusting to such a diverse atmosphere and being given real world responsibilities from day one. There is a lot expected of me from my team and there isn’t anyone constantly reminding me to get it done like there is at school. I make my own schedule and have to prioritize my time accordingly. Needless to say, I enjoy the challenge.”
“What is the biggest piece of advice you would like to give to people either within our major who are applying for summer internships or people who would like to intern with Nike?”
Grace: “My advice for those who think they may want to work with Nike would be to apply for the internship. Don’t question or doubt yourself. The process of applying may sound intimidating at first but it is beyond worth it!”
Rachel: “I would advise anyone applying for Nike, or any internship at all, to give 110% during the application process and to make it a top priority. Prove to recruiters that you are worth their time and they’ll see you as a valuable asset to their team – and hopefully offer you a full time position after the internship. Also, be open to new experiences going into the internship. Clear away all the preconceived notions and let the journey take YOU for a ride… sounds cliché but I’m serious!! Lol. Oh and one more thing – don’t close yourself off to companies that might not be on the top of your list, but don’t mass apply to everything. DO YOUR RESEARCH and be smart about your time.”
I first want to thank these ladies for taking the time to answer my questions, and as always, thank all of you for reading and following my blog throughout the summer. If you have yet to follow Grace’s ‘foodstagram’ @stuffyofacewithgrace, I highly encourage you to do so. She has a true talent for capturing the mouthwatering beauty of Portland’s local eateries, where the three of us along with our fellow interns have enjoyed some great times and even better conversations over each of those meals. I cannot wait to see what else is in store for us this summer, continuing to build upon the friendships we have made here heading into our senior year at the University of Arizona. Stay tuned for more of our exciting moments here in Oregon. Please don’t forget, the words that I share in this blog are of my own opinions and do not reflect that of my internship sponsor.