Cole Derksen ‘20, who is double-majoring in Sport Management and History, completed his summer internship with Nike. Following his completion of the internship, Derksen was invited to and attended the company’s Intern Summit in August.
As a summer intern, Derksen worked as a Business Planning Analyst for Nike North America Sales in the Houston, Texas, office. As a Business Planning Analyst, he developed and delivered recommendations to strategy, forecast, and product creation teams within the go-to-market process. Derksen’s work contributed to Nike’s business ventures across the continent.
“I was tasked with communicating with teams in Houston, Portland, and Chicago on product assortment strategy for North America,” Derksen said. “This included the product categories of footwear, apparel, and equipment for the Summer 2019 through Summer 2020 retail seasons.”
Derksen’s performance impressed Nike and, as a result, he was invited to attend the company’s selective Intern Summit. At the Summit, Derksen worked with Nike’s top interns in a ‘hackathon-style’ event to improve Nike’s business strategies.
“The interns were asked to generate business ideas that would disrupt Nike’s current business processes,” Derksen said. “The event was aimed at identifying and solving shortcomings within the company’s business structure.”
At the summit, Derksen was a key contributor amongst a sea of high-level talent; representing both himself and Rice’s Department of Sport Management in an admirable manner.
Professor in the Practice Tom Stallings enjoys the working relationship that the Department of Sport Management shares with Nike. He sees it as being mutually beneficial for student interns and Nike staff.
"For the past nine years, we have enjoyed a special partnership with Nike enabling us to send some of our most talented and experienced students to the company,” Stallings said. “It is not easy for new graduates to receive full-time jobs at Nike but our partnership has allowed several of our students to walk across the stage at graduation and then go directly into a full-time job at Nike. It has been gratifying to have an organization of Nike's reputation recognize the talent and preparation of Rice Sport Management students and have them actively recruit our students each year."
Recently, the internship program has seen some of Rice’s most gifted sport management students. In 2017, and 2018, Lindsey Hodge ‘17 and Reese Rosales ‘18 completed the internship program and both were invited to return. Rice’s partnership with Nike has also resulted in employment positions for numerous alumni: Jesse Tsu '11, Christine Jeon '12, Bo Sripharphan '15, and Jason Petro '17 are all full-time staff at the company.
Derksen looks back at his internship experience fondly and accredits the Rice Sport Management program with helping him get his “foot in the door” with Nike. He believes the lessons he learned as a Sport Management student translated into his successes as an intern and is grateful that he was given the rare opportunity to work for such a powerful player within the world of sports.
Derrick Kagwanja, a junior from Kansas City, Missouri, is double-majoring in Sport Management and Political Science.