No-Sweat Networking: A Sports Business Trek in Portland


By guest bloggers Will Leuchter-Mindel and Danielle Platt, both MBA 15

Oregon trek 5

The Sports Business Club is one of the dozens of industry and "extra-curricular" clubs that first-year students like the two of us could join as we started our time at Haas. We can safely say we picked well. Members range across the spectrum of having worked in the sports industry, being interested in the sports industry, just enjoying sports, or just enjoying fun. A Career Trek, for some additional context, is a slightly abstruse term that could describe almost any trip with a career focus. Typically this involves visiting interesting companies and meeting the interesting people that work there.

The last weekend in September, we had the tremendous opportunity to join a Sports Business Club Career Trek to Portland, Ore. On Thursday and Friday, we went to the headquarters of Columbia, Adidas, and Nike (maybe you’ve heard of them), as well as to Wieden+Kennedy (the advertising company that created Nike's "Just Do it" campaign), and to the Portland Timbers/Thorns stadium (Major League soccer men's/women's teams). At each location, we had meetings with Haas alumni or connections in roles ranging from strategy, marketing and brand management to product innovation and creative production to finance and operations. We got to ask questions, make good contacts, and see how our MBA skill set might fit in at each firm.

We also had the opportunity to try and locate a non-compostable garbage can in one of Portland’s hippest "pour over" coffee shops (hint: it doesn’t exist) and to tour some of the city’s tastiest breweries on a 20-person bicycle (this does exist).

On Saturday, we drove to Eugene, met with the Director of Marketing for the University of Oregon's Athletic Department, and braved a Pacific Northwest typhoon at the notorious Autzen stadium to watch the Cal Bears take on the #2-ranked Oregon Ducks. On Sunday, we returned to the Portland Timbers stadium to watch a soccer game and experience the most intense soccer fan-base in the nation.

We were busy.

It was a wonderful experience in so many ways. We had unbelievable access to people at some of the most exciting and well-known brands in the world and it was a truly invigorating reminder of the opportunity that Haas provides. As a first year, the thought of career management can be more than a little bit daunting., but our fearless leaders put together an all-star line-up of activities that left us feeling excited, not anxious.

About The Author

From 2011-2013, Valerie Gilbert focused on sharing stories of Berkeley MBA student achievements and connection to the Haas Defining Principles. At Haas since 2004 and now Associate Director of Content Marketing, she still enjoys revealing the different facets of life at Berkeley-Haas to a variety of audiences.