Jeff Lulay Marketing Intern at Nike
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and background?
Coming to into college, I knew my niche was sports and working with people, so I saw marketing as the best major based on my skillset. In marketing you have to have good people skills and my best skill is communication. Everything at Oregon State University is sport driven, and after being done competing athletically in high school, I wanted to stay involved with sports. I have a desire to help fulfill a need especially in sports. I have been heavily involved with OSU athletics since the start of my college career and became the president of an athletic club. Additionally, I did a marketing internship and was a manger at the Dixon sports facility of OSU before my internship at Nike.
How did you come across this internship?
I was very lucky the stars aligned for me, I got an application for a summer marketing intern position at Nike, sent to me by my supervisor for my athletic club. You were supposed to be student-athlete for the position, but my supervisor and department told me to just apply. My supervisor sent them a note saying I was a good fit for the role; a couple weeks later a recruiter contacted me asking to schedule an interview.
I had 3 rounds of interviews; a phone interview, a video interview and another phone interview, however I think it might have been different for other people. Other people have told me they did some project which Nike as part of the interview process reviewed. All my interviews were mostly behavioral questions, they dove deep into the brand, and asked me questions like why Nike, and what draws me to the brand. It was easy for me to answer these questions because I grew up in Oregon, and had family friends that work there; Nike has been in my blood since I started playing sports. They also asked what products you like and what section do you like, shoes or clothes, and what about them you enjoyed. I think they did this to weed out people that were solely just sneakerheads, and wanted to really see if you knew the brand from a macro level.
Can you tell us about your role?
My role for the summer was a marketing intern for Brand Football (NFL and College). My objective was to help work photo shoots for uniforms, and to prepare marketing plans for the football season. We had to work on release dates for different events and each intern was assigned their own event to take ownership of. My event was the opening, which is where Nike brings the top 50 high school football players to campus. They have training camp for a week, and I had to help run and facilitate the event, make sure the staff of the event were efficient and organized, I had to send a lot of emails to prepare for this. I also worked with NFL reps, when they came to campus; I made sure they had what they wanted. We gave the reps and their families a lot of Nike gear. We set the schedule and worked on social media timelines, and we wrote what they tweet and all they had to do is post it, which is really cool.
Through this internship I learned to be more flexible, in college they teach you structure and balance, but in the real world things are constantly changing and don’t go to plan. You have to be adaptable and adjust on the fly because nothing is set in stone; this was hard for me to get used to because I am structured person. Another thing that was new to me was being able to answer calls and emails off the clock. I had to work off the clock hours which I am sure is the reality for all corporate companies. Lastly I was able to sharpen my leadership and communication skills, and was thankful for my other positions preparing me for this internship
What was the company culture like?
The culture is everything you would expect it not to be, everyone is very diverse and does their own thing, they encourage creativity, and we have all sorts of clubs. We have clubs like the gay straight alliance, black network, Asian network and others. Nike polo and jeans is the dress code, people wear all the Nike brand and occasionally Hurley. Another thing that is cool, is that people don’t get involved with their titles, I was able to meet with Directors, VPs and other executives. They are willing to help you grow both professionally and personally. Nike hones the personality of the competitive spirit you see in sports, and people agree to disagree, so you don’t but heads.
What was the highlight of your internship experience?
Everyone was assigned to a team of 7 and each team gets assigned a project, and my group was assigned the onboarding process and we had to take this and make it less dry and more fun. My group did extremely well and we came first over 28 other groups and were able to present our project in front of the CEO, other C-level executives, and 200 other interns. The other highlight was the job offer I received after my internship, the overall goal of every intern; it was the best feeling ever.
Is there anything you wish your internship program could have improved on?
I wish there was more training, it was kind of 0-100 when we first came on board and we didn’t transition very well. The program could have been more organized and it was pretty overwhelming in the beginning. An idea could maybe be to condense that 2-week onboarding into 3 days.
How does this internship help you in your future?
I have never been in the corporate workplace before this, and having no sleep and waking up for 4-hour meetings was something different. A bunch of experiences like this you can’t get at college. I think overall the business 101 skills you learn in corporate is the most valuable thing I took away from this internship. It shows you what the real world daily grind is like, which is extremely beneficial and gives me an advantage in the workforce.
If you could give advice to a student seeking a similar prestigious internship, what would you tell them?
You need to be comfortable with yourself, understand your strengths and be able to tie your experience and strengths into the job. This mighty take some soul searching, but in the end be able to link your skills and resume to positions for which you are applying for. Don’t set the bar too low and sometimes you just have to take risks and go for it. You have to shoot for the stars, work hard and let things fall into place and it will all come together in the end.