Grad Business Students Get Inside Look at Nike’s Supply Chain at World HQ

Last Monday the folks from Nike arranged a student visit for Portland State Graduate Business students interested in careers in supply chain management. The visit included a presentation on Nike and their supply chain, networking with supply chain employees and executives, and a tour of Nike’s campus in Beaverton. Master of International Management students joined the group, and were excited to learn more about operations at Nike, especially growth in region like China, India, and Brazil.

The group of students arrived at Nike World Headquarters early on Monday morning and started their visit with a short presentation about Nike’s supply chain and operations with Julie Moree, College Recruiter, and Chris Drunsic, Strategic Services Director for North America. During this presentation, the group learned about Nike’s mission and maxims, the true drivers of the organization and their commitment to athletes. Drunsic shared information about Nike’s supply chain, which produces 500,000 SKUs, has 500 factory partners, 50 companies, and 1 million employees; all this resulting in the distribution of 1 billion units. All this takes place at a global level, and MIM students learned that growth outside of the U.S. is being concentrated in China, Brazil, and India.

Drunsic advised students that there is no defined career path in supply chain, which allows employees to design their own career influenced by their interest and goals; he himself had found opportunities in four different roles since he started with the company in 2007. Overall, he advised four qualities for those interested in careers at Nike:

  • Entrepreneurial drive
  • Sports DNA
  • Interest in growth
  • Comfortable with ambiguity

After the presentation, students were given the opportunity to network with a number of Nike’s supply chain executives and staff including Mike Brewer, Vice President of U.S. Supply Chain, and Gerry Rogers, the Vice President of Global Supply Chain who is also part of the PSU SBA Business Advisory Council. This opportunity was a highlight for many students I spoke with, and an excellent way to connect with experienced supply chain professionals. Brewer outlined four challenges that Nike’s supply chain faces:

  1. Growth of the whole supply chain
  2. Speed to market/customers
  3. Managing retailer needs
  4. Growth of Nike’s own retail operations

Brewer stated that Nike continues to innovate and find ways of rebuilding their supply chains to address these challenges, while always keeping in mind the need to create a sustainable system with appropriate constraints.
Students finished the visit with a tour of the Nike campus, learning about Nike’s history and the deep connection the company has to their professional athletes.
Are you considering Nike as a potential employer, and if so, what function would you like to work in?

Ryan is a part of the Master of International Management full-time 2012 cohort, and a MIM Student Ambassador. Currently he works within the Willamette Valley wine industry as a social media consultant, and wants to broaden his career in marketing to a global level through the MIM program. His favorite aspects of MIM are networking with other students from around the world and learning Mandarin Chinese. Ryan is passionate about food, wine, and travel and writes on these topics for other sites. Visit Ryan’s site here.


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