After working for four months on a business case mentored by 9 mentors from Nike, MSc in Sports Industry Management students had the unique opportunity of presenting their consultancy project in front of Territory Sales Director for Nike France, Peter Kilburn, Talent Acquisition Recruiter at Nike, Andrea Carenini, as well as their mentors who work as Account Executives and Business Developers for the global sports company.
Taking place in a conference hall at one of the French Alps’ top hotels combining prestige and excellence, this special day was the perfect way of wrapping their semester spent in the French Alps before moving to Shanghai. Giving them a sense of accomplishment and pride, the early makers of the MSc in Sports Industry Management left the place with the perfect career boost!
“On behalf of the full Nike team, I would like to thank each of you for the time, the energy and the creativity that you put in delivering your work and presentations. The mission was not easy but thanks to some positive energy and a competitive mindset you managed to raise some very interesting ideas and most importantly you brought us energy and some out-of-the-box thinking that sure will inspire a couple of the future strategic actions for Nike. Thanks for the commitment and the quality of your presentations.” Julien, Sales Director Running & Training at Nike France
Working on the future of retail for Nike France with mentors
Divided into 9 teams, each supervised by one Nike mentor, students were given a series of topics during the Nike business case kick-off session back in November 2016. All topics had one common theme: creating the future of retail at Nike by focusing on how to better leverage the digital ecosystem and better serve consumers. The topics included consumer journey, user experience, benchmark practices, digital & physical commerce, mobile experience, service & logistics, complementary of the marketplace, data management and customer loyalty.
After giving a topic to each group, students started working on their projects. From December to mi-March, Nike mentors guided their mentees throughout this preparation phase of the business case, giving them feedback, orientation and making sure they were on the right track. It was also a great experience for the mentors to learn about leadership and knowledge sharing as well as enhancing their intercultural skills in a different environment.
“Learning more about the sports market through our Nike project was a great experience. Our success was made possible due to our good group dynamic and our knowledgeable and helpful Nike mentor.” Kim, MSc in Sports Industry Management student
Presenting their findings as consultant teams
March 14th was a big day for the mentees. Each group had to present its findings and recommendations in front of key actors of Nike, their Nike mentors, MSc in Sports Industry Management Director Antoine Haincourt and their peers. Fired up with adrenaline, students made their case!
The first group dealt with the online shopping experience of Nike consumers. The team raised the question of “how can customers connect with Nike through online shopping? What can Nike improve in this area?” and after conducting online surveys, peer reviews and analysing the online shopping strategy of other high-tech brands, the group presented its analysis and gave tangible recommendations. After the first presentation, each group found a way to add their stone to the building of seamless strategy at Nike. While groups 2 & 3 answered the question “What do French consumers like and how can Nike enhance consumer journeys across generations trough customisation and customer service?”, group 4 focused on the approach Nike must switch to in order to take the lead in e-commerce by inventing new ways of thinking about product purchasing. Other teams made pertinent recommendations on how to leverage the power of Nike in the mobile market, redefine customer loyalty, increase the customer experience through reverse logistics and how to use big data to enhance customer experience and sales.
“I was part of the group which worked on the market research and analysis of the French consumers. What I learnt through this project is that; business is more cultural than one could possibly imagine it to be. As international as Nike is, it equally needs to be local. Working with mentors shaped up our strategy from the beginning which made it easy for us to deliver the best for the task assigned. The four months of work and chaos amongst our regular curriculum was all worth it!” Vaishnavi, MSc in Sports Industry Management student
Between each presentation, mentors took a moment to congratulate the students for their work and dedication and provided feedback and advice. They also asked questions pinpointing a specific area of the presentation to challenge the students one last time on this very special occasion. A common value that came up a lot in the feedback mentors gave was team spirit, an essential soft skill that students really worked on according to their mentors.
“Working on the Nike company mission was a really special experience as it opened my mind to several realities. From managing differences in culture as well as personalities within the group, to having language barriers in communication and having different approaches to solving problems, our team had an uphill task to complete our assignment. The only thing that kept us together was the common objective of succeeding in the project. Working on this culture made me learn a lot about my own personality as well as how I respond to difficult situations. It helped me cultivate self-understanding and a team player mentality. Finally, the project gave us a glimpse at what it feels like to consult for a global organization and what the expectations are. I would say the best thing that came from the Nike company mission was my self-assessment and self-knowledge. While I had a difficult time working on the project in the end it allowed me to build character”. Maina, MSc in Sports Industry Management student
Engaging with the heart of the industry as students
This opportunity was unique in many ways. From getting the chance to act as business consultants for one of the world’s top sports brands to working in close collaboration with key representatives of Nike and developing their personal brand and network, this business case was truly a one in a lifetime opportunity for the students. To finish that day, students also benefitted from a presentation on career opportunities at Nike. Carefully listening to what Talent Acquisition Recruiter Andrea Carenini had to present, students asked all of their questions about the process, the type of opportunities available in France and abroad etc.
Before heading back to the UK, Peter Kilburn expressed his gratitude and gave his overall feedback to the students. “I hope there’s mutual learning in this experience. The mentors took part in this experience because they are developing their leadership skills and you guys gave them the opportunity to sit in a group of people that they don’t know and help them become a multiplying leader. I hope you’ve taken loads of stuff in from them and from each other.” Peter Kilburn also said “we got challenged at Nike [..] and this project doesn’t stop there.” Extending a warm thank you to all students, Peter Kilburn finished his speech with a sentence full of hope and dream for students as he said “We look forward to seeing some of you at Nike”.