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Posts Tagged ‘Nike’

  1. How to make the most of your internship

    March 14, 2014 by Ian Perry

    My goal for this post is simple: help you understand how to get the most out of your summer internship. I realize the timing is a little off, since it’s mid-March, and I know summer seems way off. However, it’s just around the corner, and I’m sure internships are on many students’ minds. Using examples from my internship last summer, I hope that I’ll be able to help give some useful tips/advice on how to have a successful internship experience.

    Last summer, I worked as a mobile software engineering intern at Nike in Beaverton, Oregon. I worked in Digital Sport, which is within the Consumer Digital Technology department. More specifically, I worked on the Nike+ Running app for the iPhone. It was an unbelievable and amazing experience, and I will be returning full time after graduation. There were several keys to my success as an intern, some of which will probably sound familiar, and some of which will hopefully be new to you.

    BUILD RELATIONSHIPS

    Relationship building, also known as networking, is very important. You may only work with a handful of people throughout the summer, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t meet more. I worked on a small team at Nike’s headquarters, where thousands of people work. My team was amazing, but just a small fraction of the people who work at Nike. One of the first things I did was use LinkedIn to find every Cornell alumnus who works at Nike, and reach out to them via email. In turn, they told me more people that I should reach out to, who told me even more people I should meet. These meetings don’t have to be long, just ask to get coffee for 30 minutes, or even just 15 if they’re really busy. People like meeting interns, and it’s rare that someone will say no to your request.

    During these informational meetings, it’s important to remember that you shouldn’t be trying to “get anything” out of these people. Ask them about what they do, how they like their job, what fun things you should do in the area, and just be friendly! After you meet with them, be sure to send a follow-up email thanking them for taking the time. I would also recommend reaching out again later in the summer, and once you’re back at school to let them know what you’re up to.

    USE THE INTERN CARD

    The “intern card,” is an important part of being an intern. However, it shouldn’t be used as an excuse for poor work performance. Instead, it should be used to meet as many people as you can, ask questions, and learn. It’s kind of like being a freshman in college, as it gives you an excuse to talk to people who you don’t know. All you have to say is, “Hi, I’m an intern, and I was wondering…” No questions asked, most people are going to introduce themselves and help you get where you’re trying to go. It’s also great during meetings when people are dropping company-specific acronyms that sound like gibberish to you. All you have to say is, “Could you explain what that means, I’m still getting used to all of the terms.” Full-time employees may be expected to know such terms, but as an intern, you’re probably not (at least at the beginning of the summer.) The whole point of what I’m calling the “intern card,” is to take advantage of being an intern, not to use being an intern as an excuse, but as a way to learn as much as possible.

    NEVER SAY NO

    As an intern, you should take on all the work that you can in order to get more experience and learn as much as possible. Even though I had one or two main projects I was working on, I took on more work at times, in order to help out and learn things with which I was unfamiliar. One of the features I worked on was the Coach feature in the Nike+ Running app, but my manager also let me come up with my own feature. I took it from idea to prototype throughout the summer, and had the opportunity to present it to leadership in Consumer Digital Technology. This was a really amazing experience, and a lot of it was due to my manager being awesome and letting me do it. However, I also did not hesitate for a second when he told me about the idea of coming up with my own feature. I knew it would be one of many projects, but there was absolutely no way I was going to turn down that opportunity.

    If you ever find yourself with no work to do, then ask people if they need help with anything. Take the initiative, and also don’t be afraid to be creative. Share your opinions in meetings, and speak your mind. You’re there for a reason, and it’s important to prove your worth.

    WORK HARD, PLAY HARD

    The culture at Nike fits this next tip very well: work hard, play hard. Everyone not only works extremely hard, but they also know how to have fun. As an intern, working hard should be your number one priority, but it’s almost just as important to be well-rounded and have fun. One thing I did was join the intern kickball team. This was a great way to bond with my fellow interns, as well as be active and have fun. Our team ended up getting second place, and we’ll be back with a vengeance next year!

    kickball team

    Intern kickball team

    Another way to have fun is to go to every event that sounds interesting. Throughout the summer, I was able to attend some really cool events, the highlights of which included seeing many professional athletes. If you’re planning on going to an event, you should also be sure to invite your coworkers. It’s a great way to spend some time with them while not working.

    As an intern, you’ll also probably have the option to go to intern only events. Definitely go to as many of these events as possible. They are a great way to get to know your fellow interns better, as well as have fun. I was able to hear leaders within Nike speak at some of these events, which was a very unique and rare opportunity. In addition, I also got to attend a river rafting trip, which was tons of fun.

    This leads to my next point about having fun, which is that you should never be doing nothing on the weekends during your summer as an intern. Ask your coworkers what types of things you should do on the weekend, and explore every inch of wherever the company you’re working for is located. Last summer was my first time in Oregon, and I spent lots of time with other interns exploring the area. Some highlights were going to the coast, hiking near Mt. Hood, and exploring downtown Portland.

    Mt. Hood

    Hiking the Mirror Lake Trailhead. Mt. Hood in the distance

    BE HAPPY

    This one’s short, but don’t forget to be happy at all times throughout the summer. I loved what I was working on, and I was always excited to be in the office. If you’re not happy about going to work each day, that might be a good indication that you’re not in the right job. That’s okay though, because you’re an intern and you have plenty of time to decide what job you want to have.

    MAKE FRIENDS

    Last, but certainly not least, make friends with the other interns. They’re in the same position as you. Yes, this is another part of the whole relationship building thing, but these are the relationships that are likely going to last a lifetime. I had a core group of about 15-20 interns that I got to know pretty well, and we still keep in touch on a daily basis. They’re an amazing group of talented people, and a big reason for why my internship experience at Nike was as amazing as it was.

    Feel free to leave any questions about internships in the comments section. I’d also love to hear any other tips that people have about how to get the most out of an internship.


  2. Running towards a SMART goal

    November 20, 2013 by Ian Perry

    It’s almost that time of year when everyone starts thinking about their New Year’s resolutions and setting goals for the coming year. Before thinking about goals for 2014 though, I wanted to write about one of my goals that I set for myself at the start of 2013.

    At the beginning of the year, I decided that I wanted to get back into running. I say get back into running because I had run track in high school and cross country in middle school. However, I stopped running after my sophomore year of high school, and hadn’t really done any form of running since. So, I set a goal for myself that I would get back into running in 2013. Conveniently, during the time I was setting this goal, I was helping out at Shelby.tv, where the founders, Reece and Dan, were stressing the importance of setting SMART goals, not only for the company, but for everyone on the team. SMART = Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely. Clearly, my goal was not very SMART. It wasn’t very measurable or specific. How far was I going to run? Was I going to run a certain number of times a week? In other words, how could I set myself up to successfully achieve my goal? Thinking about this a little more, I ultimately decided on a very specific goal. What started out as “start running again in 2013” turned into “run a marathon before the end of 2013.” Unlike the original goal, the new goal was very specific, definitely measurable, and definitely timely. Now, as I said, I ran track in high school. More specifically, I did sprints. So, the farthest I had ever run at once was probably no more than five or six miles. So, setting a goal for myself of running 26.2 miles at one time may seem like it didn’t qualify as attainable or very realistic. However, I felt strongly about setting a goal that wouldn’t be too easy. I wanted to challenge myself and really get back into running. I knew that training for 26.2 would help me do so, so I decided to go for it.

    The first thing I did was head to the Niketown in New York City and invest in a pair of running shoes and a watch which would help me track my running. Next, I did what I knew would keep me motivated with my running: I registered for a race. I set my sights on the Skunk Cabbage Classic Half Marathon in Ithaca during the month of April. It seemed like a great first step, and I had about three months to get ready. Then, I started running. I did the majority of my training in Ithaca, running all over Cornell’s campus. Training during the winter months in Ithaca was definitely not easy, but I was able to stay motivated, and ventured out into the snow and cold week after week to make sure I’d meet my goal.

    In the beginning of April, I accepted an internship offer to spend the summer at Nike working on the Nike+ Running team. I would get the chance to work on the very products which I had been using to work towards achieving my goal. Excited by the opportunity, I became even more inspired to run. I successfully completed the Skunk Cabbage half in mid-April. 13.1 miles was now the furthest I’d ever run. I was so caught up on reaching this first milestone, that I stopped running. End of semester excitement, and schoolwork contributed to this stoppage, but it was no excuse. I didn’t run at all in May, and I definitely wasn’t on track to meet my goal anymore. Not to mention, I still hadn’t chosen a marathon to register for. I kept telling myself I was just too busy, and that I’d return to training once I started my internship. Being too busy is not a good excuse, and I’ve come to realize that it should never keep me from doing things I love, like running. I was right, however, that I would return to running once I got to Oregon for the summer.

    Skunk Cabbage Classic Half Marathon

    One of the coolest things about working on the Nike+ Running app, a product which I use, was being able to go for a run with the latest build and test out the newest features. The culture at Nike made me really want to make sure I was running regularly, but the hectic-ness of being an intern also sometimes made it difficult to find the time. I’ll go into more detail about my experience as an intern at Nike in a later post, but one of the main takeaways for me, with regard to running, was that I wanted to be more than just a runner. I wanted to be a part of the community of runners that exists all over the world. This really helped inspire me to get back to running. I ran when I could over the summer, but also really loved what I was working on, so it was often difficult to choose between the two. However, once I got back to school in August, I made sure I was running as much as possible. I finally chose a marathon and registered for it. I had my sights set on the Philadelphia Marathon on November 17. I grew up about 30 min outside of Philadelphia in New Jersey, and my Mom now lives in Pennsylvania about 20 min outside of the city. So, I knew it would be easy to arrange travel plans, and I knew that in a little less than three months, I’d be running my first marathon.

    Training did not go exactly as expected, as I got injured in the beginning of October, but I was determined to do my best to stay on course. I kept on path to meet my goal, and this past Sunday, I ran and finished the Philadelphia Marathon. It was a really great experience, and completely worth every second of effort I’ve put into running over the past 11 months. It’s really amazing how many complete strangers cheered me on, and helped keep me going throughout the race. Some of the highlights for me were high-fiving the Mayor of Philadelphia at the starting line, and then crossing the finish line 26.2 miles later.

    Philadelphia Marathon 2013

    Not only was I able to achieve my SMART goal of running a marathon in 2013, but in the process, I also achieved my goal of “getting back into running.” So, what’s next? I definitely plan on running more marathons in the future. I not only want to improve my time, but explore other cities around the world by running 26.2 miles through their streets. I also have my sights set on my first triathlon sometime in the near future, although I have a long road of training ahead of me for that. Something makes me think it’ll be worth it though.

    Below are some pictures I took while running on campus.

    McGraw Tower

    Beebee Lake