Last week a group of 12 MIMers and recent MIM alumni got to take a tour of Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon and meet Nike employees Mark Lee, Akari Oda, and Jimmie Golez. If you have never been to the Nike Campus you will be quite impressed upon your first visit. The campus is larger than 35 football fields (two million square feet), beautiful, on natural preserved wetlands, with lots of areas to play sports—of course! One of the things that stood out to MIMers on the tour is Nike as a brand and Nike as a culture. Once you have seen Nike’s campus it is easy to see why employees are so loyal to Nike. Nike Campus is like a unique “city within a city.”
Official Nike tour guide and business analyst, Jimmie Golez, gave MIMers a very thorough tour of Nike Campus. Golez, who works in Nike product creation IT, has been working for Nike for the past eight years. In his position he supports the team that is involved with bringing a product concept to life by facilitating communication between merchandising and engineers.
Two Nike supply chain specialists joined the group tour, Akari Oda and Mark Lee. Oda is the Supply Chain Innovation Senior Manager for Nike Japan and has been working for the company for almost seven years. With constantly evolving markets, Oda’s job is to develop and deploy strategies to enable new capabilities to improve Nike’s supply chain (i.e. faster replenishment, on-time delivery, etc).
Mark Lee does similar things as Oda, only not for Nike Japan. Lee, who has been working for Nike for the past eight years, is a Nike supply chain consultant and is currently working on a special finance project. MIMers might find it interesting that one might choose to specialize in supply chain but will end up having to utilize finance knowledge on the job as well (so pay attention in all your classes, MIMers!). Lee is greatly appreciating his business finance classes he is taking through PSU’s MBA program.
At the end of the tour, Golez, Oda, and Lee answered a thought-provoking question that Genevieve Tandon, recent MIM alumni, asked of them. “What is one of the most difficult and reoccurring problems or issues that you have to deal with in your current positions and jobs?” It is amazing that Golez, Oda, and Lee all responded similarly. The issue that they see over and over in their jobs is the difficultly of finding a global solution while appreciating and respecting cultural differences for such an international company.
As Golez says, “You need to find a balance between cultures.” Oda stresses that you must make and foster relationships across different cultures and take into consideration the time differences in each country that you are doing business with. Oda must check in regularly with her boss who works out of Japan, so they Skype each other, and she must be available to chat with her boss at “odd” hours in the U.S. Oda says, “You must make the solution relevant for each country—at the country level.” Lee explains that it is very challenging when you have to report to multiple bosses on a single project. You must be sensitive to everyone needs and be very good about including everyone in the project. Lee’s takeaways include, “embrace ambiguity” and “take initiative.”
Hmmmmm…MIMers…This does not only sound like business–it sounds like INTERNATIONAL business. There is clearly a need for Master in International Management graduates!
MIM thanks Nike, Golez, Lee, and Oda for their time. It was a wonderful tour.