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Beedie School of Business › Marketing
SFU Co-op Student
Experience Faculty
Living on my own for the first time in a foreign country has greatly influenced my new level of confidence and independence. I thought I had these qualities before, but they were only intensified after this co-op.
Experience Details
Introduction + Preparation

Living on my own for the first time in a foreign country has greatly influenced my new level of confidence and independence. I thought I had these qualities before, but they were only intensified after this co-op. It was exciting to be put in a brand new environment, even though at first it was terrifying. I am someone who is quite close to their family,  but it was not a long transition period before I became comfortable being on my own. The first few months were difficult living alone, but the last few months were truly some of the best in my life.

Previous Experience

I had no previous work experience in the fashion industry. As a result, I truly was learning things from my very first day. Fun fact: did you know the colour of your shoes is actually a 2-year-old decision? As well, it was fun to learn how important brand cohesion is important for marketing.

During my Experience
Day to Day

The purpose of my team was to help support the development of the adidas global brand calendar. Essentially, this meant understanding what products are releasing and when in which country and in which channel (direct to consumer, wholesale or eCommerce). The goal was to provide cohesive calendars of adidas products, to ensure that there was a strong, unified brand message around the world. In addition, after each product was dropped, reports of the marketing investment for the launch and release were created. This included: looking at the marketing and sales spend, activation numbers, qualitative feedback on the launch, and then gathering all of this information into a single report that was then presented to the respective business unit and executive management.

Learning and Adaptation

My key learnings were to do with international business, project management and the fashion industry. Specifically, for international business, it was interesting to see the different products certain countries would want to release and their store layouts. For example, instead of soccer cleats, China would launch athleisure or running items because soccer is not as relevant within their sporting culture. The biggest takeaway was how important it is to have awareness regarding the cultural differences in markets and countries, and plan for it in advance. A lot of mistakes were made in the past because of the misconception that every sport is played equally around the world.

Accomplishments and Challenges

One of my responsibilities was to oversee the creation of our new software solution, that was created on Salesforce. It is now used globally and cross-functionally within adidas.  During the project, I managed the business requirements from conception to elaboration. This meant taking the initial user needs and building them into technical requirements for IT and then presenting the finalized requirements to the entire project team. In addition, I was also the marketing investment report owner for our Home of Classics and OZWEEGO products. It was my job to reach out to the respective contacts for each global market to collect data, produce the report and summarize the key findings. Furthermore, I initiated my own passion project researching the possibilities of AI within adidas. I scheduled time every week for this project and was able to present my proposal to the project manager in charge of the new GMR shoe (a soccer cleat enhanced with technology), with positive feedback.

Cultural and Environmental Observations

If you have the opportunity to do any internship or co-op abroad, my advice is to take it! Not only are you gaining work experience, but you can travel a lot while also making money, especially in Europe. Most countries offer six weeks of paid vacation for the year for every employee, including interns.

Wrap Up

It was bittersweet moving back home at the end, because of the fact I had to leave behind this exceptional company and some of the amazing people that I had met. This co-op experience was truly an incredible adventure and I would recommend it to anyone. I just hope I can work there again in the future.

Reflection & Tips

Our software solution taught me the critical thinking and patience that is necessary for project management. After suggesting any addition, it was important to understand the consequences of having that feature implemented. Sitting in on the variety of meetings with all the departments involved, was essential in learning how to work with a cross-functional team on a global scale. When I was on the team, the project had been going on for approximately a year, and it had been a great experience to learn how long it truly takes to build a solution of this magnitude and understand why things fail.

As well, it was fun to learn how important brand cohesion is important for marketing. A large purpose for my team was to ensure that our marketing messages were as impactful as they could be. In order to achieve this, it was imperative that the same type of product was being released around the world. By doing so, we could ensure adidas was focused on one product story and our marketing campaigns were successful and not disrupted by our other products. If the Ultraboost ‘20 is being dropped, it should be the only adidas product talked about.

Most Valuable Aspects of This Experience

In conclusion, adidas had been a dream of mine for years and it was almost like a fantasy walking into work every day. I was always excited to come into the office and connect with the amazing people that work there. There were days I could not even believe that I was there! It just felt like a dream.