My name is Cora and I joined the adidas Group as a participant in the Dual Study Program in September 2009 after graduating from high school. This three-year development program combines work periods at the adidas Group with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in a three-month rotation.
I chose to do the Dual Study Program with the adidas Group because it is the unique opportunity to discover the “real” business world at a young age while I am still at university – and of course, adidas as an international brand fits perfectly to my passion for sports, fashion and foreign cultures. In 2011, I had the great chance to go abroad twice and I believe this has personally and professionally enriched me the most. Let me share some experiences in this post.
In a nutshell I did a semester abroad in Cape Town/South Africa and also worked for the Northern European headquarters of adidas in Stockport/England, close to Manchester.
Life in South Africa
From the first moment when I saw Cape Town from the plane, I fell in love with the place. It is beautifully set between Table Mountain, THE landmark of the city, and the Atlantic. My university was situated right in front of Table Mountain – that was quite a change from my university in Stuttgart, which is at one of the main roads in the middle of the city. My fellow students and generally the local people were friendly and helpful towards foreigners so that it was easy to settle in.
Still, there were a few moments when I felt uneasy because I was part of a minority for the first time. That was a sometimes difficult but interesting and valuable experience which lets me appreciate the great diversity at the adidas Group even more.
Anyway, Cape Town is the perfect city to discover a foreign culture. At the same time it is a very “European” and international atmosphere there with people from all over the world, which makes it very exciting.
Working in England for adidas Northern Europe
After returning from South Africa, I went to England to work in Category Management for Individual Sports, which includes Running, Tennis, Cycling and Outdoor. The three-people team is responsible for all product marketing activities and was absolutely fantastic. They included me in the team and all ongoing projects from the beginning. The work environment was great because of the small team and the fact that all marketing teams sit together in one room: starting from other Category Management teams to Retail Marketing and Communications. This setting is very different to the one at the Global headquarters. The global teams generally work more strategically, whereas the daily work in the market is much more hands-on and closer to consumers and retailers. This shows how important good communication and understanding of each other’s needs is between global and market teams to make the huge adidas business work across borders.
My time as an dual student is coming to an end soon and it’s really hard after three exciting years with adidas to pick one great moment, but I think these insights have been the biggest learning for me and will support me in my further career at adidas headquarters.
I loved experiencing two countries and totally different cultures, meeting great colleagues inspiring athletes like Haile Gebrselassie, making friends and, last but not least, gaining both professional and personal skills that will support me throughout my career.
Whenever you get the chance to go abroad, no matter if it is for one month or one year, a close place to home or a country far away – go for it!!