For MBA students everywhere, the summer between their first and second years of school is a pivotal one. It is a time for students to take what they’ve learned in class and test it out in a real-world setting while at the same time gathering the hands-on learning that will sharpen and inform their coursework in their final year in school.
This past summer saw a wide range of internships for the rising second-year students of the Oregon MBA.
“Students literally went all over the place,” said Sally Bell, mentor network program manager and MBA career services advisor.
Two MBAs interned up the road in Portland at Adidas, another spent the summer in New York City at the National Basketball Association, and another headed to Rhode Island for a stint at Titleist, the internationally recognized golf equipment and apparel producer. And several MBAs traveled even farther afield for their internship experiences.
Char Zoller, MBA ’15, was one of two who headed overseas to intern at Sport Singapore (known until recently as the Singapore Sports Council), an organization that has partnered with the college’s Warsaw Sports Marketing Center since 2012.
As a member of the market insight and consumer analytics team, Zoller was responsible for two projects. She worked on finding ways to involve more Singaporeans in a nationwide sport and fitness initiative, and she also helped develop on a community engagement program for the Southeast Asian Games, which the island nation will host next summer. More than once, Zoller saw concepts she’d learned in the classroom being put into action in the boardroom.
“We sat in on some sponsorship meetings during our first few weeks. Sitting in on some of those meetings and hearing people talk about sponsorship—it was like all of the things we learned in our sponsorship course,” said Zoller. “Talking about return on objectives as opposed to just straight ROI and having people take a broader view about how sponsorship could be leveraged—it was just really, really interesting.”
With an undergraduate major in political science and Hispanic studies, Zoller had long entertained the idea of working overseas at some point in her career. Her time in Singapore validated this career goal.
“I’m definitely hoping to go back overseas. I really want to work on the global event side of things,” said Zoller.
Collin Hoyer, MBA ’15, spent the summer as a strategic planning intern at one of the Ching Luh Group footwear factories in Vietnam. Soon after he arrived, Hoyer took part in “shoe school,” a ten-day immersion that included an opportunity to try his hand at making three pairs of sneakers from start to finish. (His final pair now sits in a place of pride in his apartment in Eugene.)
Immersion completed, Hoyer dived into his two main projects: creating a stakeholder engagement plan for the company and developing a communications plan that the organization will use to unveil its new corporate maxim in five different countries. So well received was Hoyer’s work that it earned him a bonus assignment: a stint in Indonesia helping find ways to smooth relations between management and several trade unions at the company’s two factories.
Many times during the summer, Hoyer found himself recalling what he’d learned in associate professor Robert Madrigal’s sponsorship course.
“It sounds so simple, but everything starts with an objective. If we just understand what we want, we can start to approach how to attack it,” said Hoyer.
“I didn’t think like this before I got to the Oregon MBA,” added Hoyer. “The way I approach problem-solving has really evolved.”