I came to this realization long ago, but had it confirmed yet again after attending the first ever networking event for the Athletic and Outdoor Young Professionals of Portland. The AOYP is a relatively new group that brings together young professionals working in retail, marketing, materials supply, and design for athletic and outdoor apparel and footwear. Their recent networking event drew a large crowd of well-dressed Portlanders, and featured a keynote speech by Jeremy Moon, founder and president of Icebreaker.
So why do I say that Portland is the ideal place to become involved in this industry?
Is it because Portland is home to a number of global apparel and footwear companies’ global and North American headquarters, including Nike, Adidas, KEEN, Columbia Sportswear, and Icebreaker, not to mention the many smaller niche brands that are in the area?
Is it because the PSU School of Business Administration is starting a brand new certificate program in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry for interested undergraduate students?
Is it because of Portland’s ideal environment for a variety of outdoor activities, from running and cycling, to skiing, fishing, and hiking?
Is it because of all the opportunities to attend networking events like this one, and the chance to hobnob with people who work for industry leading companies?
The answer, of course, is yes to all of the above. More than that though, what I have discovered repeatedly during my time as a student here is that people working in the athletic apparel and footwear industry in Portland are always friendly and accessible, and willing to sit down and help you learn more about their companies and the work that they do. It is also an industry full of people who live the same active lifestyle that they promote through their respective brands. It is an industry full of creativity and talent, that embraces a forward-thinking attitude toward integrating sustainability in their brands, and balancing function and form in their products.
Again, if you are interested in the athletic and outdoor apparel industry, Portland offers opportunities that are hard to match. And if you are thinking of returning to school to pursue a business degree that can prepare you for work in this industry, I can say from experience that Portland State University offers ample opportunities to learn about and get involved with the industry, both in and outside of the classroom. Whether you want an international business degree like the Master of International Management program that can prepare you for a career in this highly globalized industry, or a business degree focused on sustainability and strong business fundamentals like the MBA program, PSU has a variety of options. And with any of these options, you have the chance to take your education outside of the classroom and connect with local groups like the AOYP and other apparel and footwear networking events.
Josh is a full-time student in the Master of International Management program. After graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in Japanese, he taught English in Tokyo for 3 years, before moving to China and teaching at a university in the city of Zhengzhou. Inspired by his experiences in Japan and China, he was drawn to the MIM program because of its regional focus on Asia, as well as for Portland State University’s reputation as a leader in the field of sustainable business. He is studying Chinese in the MIM program, but tries to keep up his Japanese whenever he can.