From playing recreational soccer at 5-years old to competing at the Division 1 level, Nike has been enabling me as an athlete every step of the way.
It's mid-February, about 2 months since I pressed submit on my application for the Nike Internship Program, my reach opportunity and one of the most competitive programs in the country. The night is chilly at Pepin fields and I'm practicing with my club soccer team when coach calls for a water break. For the quick minute we have on the side-line I decide to take a quick glance at my phone when I see a new email in my spartan email inbox with the subject "Interview with Nike". I was in absolute disbelief. I had landed an initial interview for the Global Specialist Stores Marketing role!
The interview process involved 2 rounds and started with just a 15-minute phone call with the recruiter. I had the weekend to prepare, and I honestly don't think I've studied for anything harder in my life. I pushed schoolwork aside and prioritized scavenging the internet for past Nike interview questions to study and learning absolutely everything you could know about the company. Not to mention watching every Intern Queen video in existence to prepare as well. When my interview came, there wasn’t a single question they could ask that I didn't already rehearse 10 times over. I felt confident after the call, and 3 days later I got an email that I made it to the final round. "okay, this is getting a little too good to be true" I think to myself. This was a 45-minute interview and I needed to prepare a 15-minute presentation about myself basically explaining why I am the best fit for this role. I was TERRIFIED to say the least. I got in touch with my favorite speech professor and after hours and hour and even MORE hours, I had put together a pretty solid deck. I reserved a room in the library, threw on the only blazer I own, and after a deep breathe jumped on that Zoom with my potential future manager.
I was headed down I-275 when my phone rings the next day and the caller ID... was the name of my recruiter. I pulled over to pick up the call and after a minute or so of talking about my previous interview, she says "we'd love to offer you the spot in our Nike Internship Program this Summer!" To this day, even after I’ve completed my time with Nike, it still feels like the biggest "pinch me" moment I've ever experienced.
Due to COVID-19, around mid-April I received word that my Internship went remote. I wasn’t going to be moving into that Airbnb apartment with my intern roommates like we have planned, and I wasn’t going to be experiencing Oregon for the first time. Instead, I did my internship from my childhood bedroom in NJ! It was a huge bummer, but the University Relations Team made it still one of the most worthwhile experiences even with the unprecedented circumstances. I didn’t get the chance to have a run in with Lebron James and take part in Nike's many events like past interns have, but I got to talk to some amazing Nike leaders (examples being Zoom calls with the CMO & 1:1 calls Creative Lead behind Drakes recent music video at Nike WHQ!), work on projects that ACTUALLY will be used within the company, and even had Tiger Woods speak and do Q&A at our farewell meeting! I could write a whole separate blog post about the things that I learned simply about Nike Airmax’s alone, but that would be an absolute SNOOZER, so I won’t bore you with those specific details.
I began my workdays at around 10am (3-hour time zone differences) and checked my email for anything that needed my attention and checked my Outlook calendar to see what meeting I had that day. Every day it was different, I had multiple projects, so my day was truly Zoom meeting after Zoom meeting. Whether that be meeting with my different teams, networking calls, or even a couple of us interns jumping on zoom together for lunch it I was almost always on a call. When I wasn’t in meetings I worked on my projects. I can’t give too much real detail, but one involved building an influencer marketing strategy and for the other I was building a marketing playbook for Nikes O2O services! They were so much fun, and I really learned so much about different areas of marketing from a company that does it best. At around 5-6pm I would wrap up my day and set up my to-do list for the next day!
Whether I move on to work at Nike post grad or go in another direction, this will forever be a career highlight for me. From the connections I’ve made, to always feeling like my opinions and ideas were truly valued, these 9-weeks helped me develop a newfound confidence in my ability as a woman in business.
With all that being said, I believe virtual internships won’t be going away anytime soon, so I wanted to share my TOP 5 tips that I believe helped me navigate a virtual internship to make it worthwhile!
- Ask Questions! It's was so easy to get confused on what I was supposed to be doing and whether I was doing it right. Not being in person can create a disconnect on fully comprehending your duties, so make sure you are always asking questions if you are 100% sure!
- Stay Extra Connected! Make sure you are connected to everyone who you will be checking in with frequently and establish the best ways to reach your teammates and co-workers. Whether that be an email, through Slack, a text, a call, its so Important to be on the same page for everyone’s best outlet to get quick responses to any questions or concerns.
- Elevate your Workspace! During my internship, I had my laptop as well as a monitor and it helped tremendously with eyestrain and working on projects. Along with that get some cute blue light glasses and a comfy desk chair. These will all go a long way in creating a comfortable space to work.
- Go the Extra Mile to Expand Your Network! It can be difficult building organic connections when you are not running into people and working face-to-face every day. To make sure I still networked effectively, I booked 1:1 zoom calls every day with employees in various teams across Nike to learn about their roles! Use Zoom as an advantage and not a downside and meet as many people as you can! Everyone there was willing to create time for the interns and you never know what that conversation could lead to. I was able to get involved with projects not related to the one I was doing for the internship just by branching out of my comfort zone.
- Take Breaks! It is very easy to get locked into your computer and just…forget to eat or get some fresh air throughout the day. These things came natural in the day-to-day in person work life, so it’s important to make stepping away for lunch and or even to stretch your legs a necessary priority!
About the Author
Ireland Flood recently finished her undergraduate experience as a marketing major at The University of Tampa and will continue her education as an MBA candidate at UT next semester. You can find her on Instagram at @Ireland_Flood and LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/irelandflood.