Photography and text by Matt Banderas '04
Sarah Holloway ’20, an economics and politics double major, spent 13 weeks this past summer interning at Nike. The Hillsboro, Ore., native—who received the internship through a Nike connection—answered email questions about her experience at the sports gear giant.
Summarize your summer internship.
I was a global sports marketing intern at Nike’s world headquarters in Beaverton, Ore. I worked on analytics projects, helped with the annual Prefontaine Classic track event, assisted an MBA intern on his project regarding athlete contracts and compensation, shipped products to athletes and was part of giving tours to athletes who came to the Nike campus, among other responsibilities. I also had the opportunity to hear executives speak about their role in the company and talk to Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman emeritus, on the phone every now and then.
What excited you about the internship?
I grew up as an athlete— I started playing soccer in the third grade and was primarily a forward until high school, when I became a defender, and kept that position until the end of my freshman season at Whitman—and my brand of choice was always Nike. The company would post motivational videos on YouTube when I was in elementary school, and those always seemed to make me work harder and go after my goals in sports and, later, in life. When I first walked into the Nike Company Store at 8 years old, I thought to myself, “One day, I am going to work here.” I was also inspired by Knight’s memoir, Shoe Dog; I loved how the brand grew so organically through hard work, ambition and failure—nobody ever gave up.
What were some of the things you learned at the internship?
It was pretty cool seeing how different departments work together; I was inspired by people in my department and in every department I worked with. For example, global sports marketing works with brand events and the legal department. I also learned that being in an environment I loved and felt comfortable in really motivated me to be independent and discover what projects I could tackle by myself. I’m not afraid to ask questions, and I’m not afraid to ask for more work. I really think that if I had a different mindset going into the internship or if I had this initial fear of failing, then I never would have performed. That was a key element in everything I did at Nike. I wasn’t scared and I really pushed my boundaries. When I kept seeing good results, I became more confident and more independent. I look back on the person who I was before this internship, and I see so much growth.
How did your internship connect to your academics at Whitman?
I am an economics and politics double major. I’m hoping with that duo I can continue my education at law school or business school. So, I would like to think that this internship connected me with not only the business world but also the legal world.