Meet Natalia, a Business Administration graduate currently working at Nike

@Alejandra Acedo

Natalia Riera, after finishing her degree, was accepted at Nike to work in the digital marketing department at the European headquarters.

How was the recruitment process?

I applied through the career portal of IE University, and after that I interviewed with a Nike HR manager that came to the university, and then she provided me some guidance as to what I should apply for and told me to do it through the Nike Official Career Portal, so I did. Then I got the interview, which included some pop-up questions that you had to record yourself answering and send. And then the final stage was an interview with a potential manager. I not only had to answer her questions, but I also had to present a case study that they had proposed to me in advance.

What are the most important things you’ve learned in your work?

Well as I’m in Nike, I’ve learned a lot of things, but I will try to be short and say the main points. So for me organization is key. You have to be organized in your work because there are many things you have to take care of, so you need to learn how to prioritize and to schedule and to do all this mental structure of what you have to do during the day, during the week, and during the month, and then get it done.

Natalia Riera Yanguas IE University student

Secondly, I would say you have to communicate because it is a team effort. One of the maxims at Nike is ‘win as a team’ so communication with the team is super important to get things done together. To think outside the box is something very important because this is a huge company where amazing people work and amazing ideas come to life. If you really want to do something, let’s say, contribute in a good way and go further, you need to think beyond what’s established now and try to challenge what’s currently being developed. Additionally, the skill sets are a very important thing. Developing them is key and I think IE University is actually very good at that. They teach you these type of skills which are best in a real-life job: knowing how to negotiate, how to communicate your ideas, public speaking – all of these things are key to making yourself stand out in a company and to get contacts.

And also, related to that: networking. I believe that networking is key because you know in this huge organization, getting to know people and making connections is always good because you never know what can happen later, right? So, it’s very good to create relationships with other people, not only for future positions, but also to actually learn from different departments.

How are you impacting the company you work for?

I am impacting Nike by providing my competitive advantage which is creativity and entrepreneurial spirit. I try to always come up with ideas that are outside the box, to think about new ways we can work, and new activities that can be done. So I really think my drive and entrepreneurial spirit and creativity are really impacting in a different way and, of course, my personality. I think my personal touch is also something that defines me: I try to be their friend and to always smile, in order to bring my good vibes to the office every day. I think that also impacts the way people work and how happy the people feel at work.

What are the most relevant skills you use in your day-to-day?

The most relevant skills that I apply in my day-to-day are negotiation and decision-making. There are a lot of things on the table and you need to learn to put together all of these thoughts and come up with an outcome that makes sense to everyone and benefits everyone.

How the entrepreneurial capacity has helped you achieve professional success?

I believe entrepreneurial capacity has helped me achieve my professional success because I believe having drive is what takes you everywhere. I think the first thing an entrepreneur needs to have is spirit itself, characterized by drive and ambition. I believe this is what brought me to Nike: the drive to work here, in a company I love and a brand I’m passionate about.

If you work in an international environment, what are the challenges you face?

I definitely feel that working at headquarters has made me realize the challenges which I also faced at IE University, because we have people from all over the world so I think the biggest challenge is to understand the different work methods, processes, and ways of working that people have. I think the key is learning to understand your team and adapt to them and how they work. You’ll have the best outcome if you bring together all your differences and make the best of it. I also love the different inputs that people have based on their backgrounds, and it really helps to put together everyone’s thoughts and come to a conclusion that fits everyone and makes sense and is based on the initial thought, so that’s pretty cool too.

What do you like the most about the company you work at and the sector?

I love the people; I think that they are really nice and down to earth. You can easily have a conversation with a manager and I love that. They treat each other as equals. I really love the people that work here. I also love the sector, I love retail, I love sports, and I love the digital world, because every day you are learning more.

What are your long-term career objectives?

I’d like to become a manager. I’d like to keep growing in the company, but in general, I don’t see myself having a fixed objective like ‘I want to be in this position in Nike’; I just want to work year by year towards becoming a better professional, and ultimately, I would like to have a senior position and be able to manage people and be a leader. But still, I want to try to keep it day by day, enjoying it along the way. I want to see what life brings me, and of course, maybe in the future if I learn to be a better entrepreneur, maybe try to set up something myself. We’ll see, depending on the learning that life brings me, but I’m really excited for what is to come.

What tips or advice would you give to other students applying for a job?

For me, the best advice that I can give to someone applying for a job would be to apply at a company you feel really passionate about. They shouldn’t apply to 50 positions in 50 different companies that they just find average. They should focus on those that they’re really passionate about and they would enjoy working for.