Christian Shepperd has had a passion for sports since high school, so his current role with Nike is a perfect fit.
After graduating from the full-time MBA program at the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, he secured a Nike job as apparel allocation planner for women's wear. Without the MBA, he says, he might not have been ready for the role.
Christian started his career with a bachelor’s in Business Administration at the University of Arizona, where he held part-time jobs with the school’s athletics department, first in marketing, then in management for the Women’s Basketball team.
After graduating, he decided to jump straight into an MBA to get his career off to the best possible start. During the summer between first and second year, he managed to not only land an internship with Nike in the company’s supply management department, but also turn it into a full-time role.
BusinessBecause caught up with Christian to find out more about what it’s like to work at Nike, and what qualities MBAs need to launch a career at the sportswear giant.
Why did you want to work for Nike?
Nike presented an amazing opportunity to enter the corporate world and stay heavily involved in the sports industry.
The other leading factor was the exposure I would gain to global operations, and the type of leadership it takes to maintain a brand like Nike—along with its cutting edge, forward thinking approach. These experiences will be invaluable to my future career.
How did the MBA job come about?
The full-time job came about from the summer internship I took during my MBA program.
Without the MBA I’m not sure I would have gotten the job. I had no prior job experience since I went straight to grad school, so my MBA was a selling point representing my ambition, and a way to distinguish myself from others.
What was the application process like for Nike?
The interview process was all during my internship. I had no interviews after the internship once they were deciding who to offer full-time jobs.
The entire application process took about three to four months. I had four rounds of interviews with four different people—an HR rep, then three hiring managers. These interviews typically lasted 30-45 minutes and were all over the phone.
The questions were almost entirely behavioral focused, with a handful of questions on ‘why Nike?’
What does Nike look for in its job applicants?
Nike is looking for people who are truly passionate about the brand. That’s why they focus on the ‘why Nike’ questions in the interview.
Leadership, teamwork, and communication are important as well. Nike would love for you to have some hard skills, and do require them when applicable, but more than anything Nike is looking for people that have pushed themselves to be better in those three characteristics above.
I believe I got the job because I was able to effectively communicate how I have worked to develop those skills over my life, but also how I see Nike helping me continue that growth.
Tell us one thing about working at Nike that most people wouldn’t know
From day one, a huge emphasis has been placed on career growth.
Nike isn’t interested in you sitting in one place for five years and not growing. Nike wants and encourages every employee to share their holistic career goals within and outside of Nike, and communicate those goals with co-workers and managers.
They expect everyone to help each other drive toward their personal goals—they truly want you to grow and reach for what you want.
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University of Oklahoma - Price College of Business
- United States