A Trip to Nike World Headquarters

When the announcement was made at the Warsaw Sports Business Club’s biweekly meeting that there was an opportunity to visit Nike World Headquarters I just about fell right out of my seat. Being a native Oregonian, I had been on the Nike campus many times but never had I been while in college. This time I’d be touring the campus and networking with the pros from the perspective of future applicant instead of a Nike-obsessed high school business club student.

Members left UO at 6:30am, sharp. Everyone was dressed in his or her most impressive and able-looking attire; business casual was the name of our game on this trip. Now, anyone who has ever been to the Nike campus would know that people who weren’t dressed in Nike shoes, Nike jackets and a pair of dark wash jeans would stick out like a sore thumb but as Professor Wagoner put it, “we hadn’t earned the right to wear the swoosh.”

We arrived at the campus right on time but our car (I didn’t ride the bus) got lost on the campus trying to find the right place to park. This seems like a small feat until you realize that the Nike campus is most likely seven to eight times the size of your high school and there are umpteen amounts of parking lots that look eerily similar. In true “rookie” form our car parked on the wrong side of campus and we had to run through parking lots and buildings in search of the Prefontaine Building where everyone else was already waiting. I can report that although not on time (mistake number one) we did find the building and the group. My advice? Ride the bus, or if you don’t ride the bus, follow the bus in your car like a hawk.

With that behind us we keyed in on the presentation. The room was just as I would expect it: amazingly cool. There were comfortable black leather seats for us to sit in, a mini stage with a screen to undoubtedly watch a plethora of Nike videos and a killer sound system. I tried to contain how impressed and excited I was to be there but I can tell you this room lived up to every “Nike” expectation I had.

Ernest Adams, the global talent acquisition manager, was our main presenter for the morning. A few other speakers and a panel of UO grads now working at Nike accompanied him. Ernest described the company’s Marketing Mix, their eleven Maxims (who they are), their brand truths, the Nike portfolio and their brand affiliates. Learning all of these things–at least for a girl who has always been extraordinarily fascinated with Nike as a global athletic company–was truly thrilling. It was almost as if all of my questions on the inside workings of Nike were being taught in a lecture that I wished I could have attended every day. Beyond learning about their business we were given “insider” advice on getting a job with them:

  • 50% of Nike interns are offered a job at the company
  • Have something to say, a point of view, and a perspective when you are speaking to an interviewer or an employee of Nike
  • Have your elevator pitch ready at any given moment
  • “Don’t leave it in the hands of the judges” Be prepared. Be knowledgeable. Be proactive.
  • Do not walk into an interview raving about your love of Nike. Obviously, if you are interviewing with them you love Nike. What specifically do you want and why are you the best person for that position? Sell your personal brand.
  • Understand what moves you, your passions, and your values
  • Do not wear business clothes to an interview. You are interviewing with Nike so understand the culture of their business. Wear your Nikes proudly!
  • Put your interests at the top of your resume; let them know who you are outside of the working environment
  • Personalize your resume. Come prepared with the standard resume that the career center or your business class made you make but also have a resume that speaks to who you are. There is nothing more off-putting than a boring resume.
  • Demonstrate patterns of success within your resume
  • Lastly, make eye contact and adjust quickly if you should ever find yourself interviewing with them

Take note of every one of these key points if you are looking to get an internship or a job with Nike. Knowing these things will place you ahead of much of your uninformed competition.

After the information session the group broke into smaller groups to take a tour of their campus. As we expected, the campus was incredible and all encompassing. Aside from offices and conference rooms there is a spectacular a gym, a hair salon, a nail salon, multiple restaurants, and a daycare. With all of these amenities why would you even need to leave campus but to sleep in your own bed? Exactly.

After the tours the different tour groups went to various restaurants on campus. Needless to say, there were no complaints regarding the food or the atmosphere. Finally, and probably one of the most looked forward to parts of the trip, was visiting the employee store. I think it is obvious that taking a group of sports business students to the Nike Employee Store is like putting a kid in candy store and thus, the bus on the ride home was significantly more tightly packed than it was on the ride up.

By: Kayla Glanville, Junior, Sports Public Relations student in the University of Oregon’s School of Journalism and Communication

Run under the auspices of the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the UO | Lundquist College of Business, the Warsaw Sports Business Club welcomes all UO students, regardless of class standing or major.

Written by UO Business

The UO Lundquist College of Business empowers an engaged community of students, faculty, staff, and stakeholders who create, apply, and disseminate knowledge that contributes significantly to their professions, communities, and society. The college delivers a dynamic learning environment where world-class professors engage and get to know students, where students work on real projects for real companies, and where alumni go on to high-powered jobs worldwide.