Senior and Kennel Club President Sara Wendlend turned a Nike summer internship into a full-time job – before she’s even graduated.

By Sara Wendland

Piece of Advice

If I could offer any piece of advice to students participating in an internship it would be: “Do the extra.” Be creative, observant and relational. Take the initiative and set up meetings to get to know how an employee started at the organization, their background, passions and day-to-day responsibilities. Take 5-10 minutes each day to get to know the employees.

It’s just as important to deliver extra results. When given an assignment think, “What else can I do?” Can you make a video to supplement your presentation? Would additional interviews add to your research? Even when given mundane projects, make it a game – figure out how you can exceed their expectations – color code the copies, present a digitized inventory of the cabinet contents. Go all out. What is the organization lacking? Identify the problem or area that needs improvement and take the initiative to present a solution. People remember when an intern does extra. But, more importantly, when you commit to doing the extra, I believe your overall character improves. The better you listen to people at work the better you listen to your family at home. The more effort you give at the office, the harder you work outside the office.


Something interesting about my Nike internship

The highlight of my internship was getting selected to present with my team to the co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight. One of the intern tasks for the summer was a cross-functional team project. We were challenged to create a new women’s service that paired “… her shopping experience with her training experience.” There were 16 teams of interns creating presentations based on different prompts. Only the top three presented at the Farewell Luncheon.

Although Phil was unable to attend (because of a scheduling conflict) the senior marketing director for the 2016 Rio Olympics did see our presentation. She asked us if she could pitch her marketing strategies for the Olympics to us. She wanted our opinions on her work! That spoke volumes to me about Nike’s dedication to learning – it doesn’t matter who is doing the teaching, college students or veteran employees, all that matters is creating the best product, experience or service.


Something interesting about my Nike job

I’m not sure how much I can offer on this section, because I haven’t started! Basically I was sitting in class when I got a phone call from them, so I stepped out and took it. The lady on the phone said that she was happy she didn’t catch me during class. I told her that I was actually in class, but knew I wouldn’t be able to focus until I called her back. Then she offered me a full time position in marketing for next year! I was ecstatic; I started tearing up in the second floor college hall bathroom. I then proceeded to shed a few more tears when I got back to class. I hope I hid them well enough!

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