Using an MBA to drive digital strategy at Nike

     

Sports have always been a big part of Jamie Lee's life, so landing a position as global director of eCommerce at Nike was a dream job. Challenging herself both mentally and physically has been a habit as well for Jamie, a student in the Evening & Weekend Program at Berkeley Haas. That's why she runs obstacle course races, half marathons, and triathlons. And that's why she decided to pursue her MBA.

"I came to Haas to develop a new way of thinking," says Jamie. "Knowing that Berkeley really prides itself on diversity, I knew there would be folks from different backgrounds—from medicine, from music, from law. I think that diversity of thinking and the way they solve problems or approach different scenarios is super valuable."

 
Jamie launched her career at Sony Electronics, where a leadership development program sparked her interest in understanding how to run a business holistically. A focus on innovation led her to explore ways to take larger organizations to the next frontier; At Electronic Arts, she helped develop their direct to consumer platform, and at Walmart Labs, she was part of pioneering new initiatives from launching online grocery pickup and delivery to building more traditional brands’ business strategy through eCommerce.


Partway through her studies in the Evening & Weekend MBA Program, she had the opportunity to join Nike, leading global cross-category digital commerce strategy.

Nike sought her out for the position. "I think the timing, my Berkeley MBA, and my skills painted a perfect picture of experience and opportunity linking together," says Jamie.

She found the Berkeley Haas network to be helpful as well. "During the interview process, there were quite a few folks that were Berkeley alums. I think the power of the network enabled us to connect on an even deeper level and played a role in integrating me as part of that Nike community."

Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA student Jamie LeeJamie chose Berkeley Haas to gain broad general management skills from a premier program, to sharpen her innovation focus, and for its diversity of offerings. "Where some programs might focus more on particular functions, or areas, or industries, I liked that Haas allows you to kind of pick and choose, to say, 'Hey, I want to learn a little bit more about sustainability, or the business of politics, or sports management,'" she says. "I felt that diversity of opportunity was unique to Berkeley Haas."

As for her decision to earn her MBA part time, she says, "I already knew I wanted to continue to push forward the new frontier of digital commerce. I felt like the Evening & Weekend Program could really help me refine my skills and develop as I continued growing at work."

Jamie says the blend of theory and practice in the program has helped her bring these new skills to work. "We're able to apply a lot of our learning in class and on projects. I think that's what makes it not just theoretical, but something that we can see really come to life day to day."

Forging new relationships has also been a key part of the experience. "Being able to see folks maybe once or twice a week, but still develop these friendships that feel like life-long friendships, is powerful. That sense of community, I think, is rare but also super valuable, especially in a program for working professionals," she says.

One of the things she most values about the community is the emphasis on diversity and the way women in the program support each other. "We're always looking to bring more women into the program," she says. "Together we're able to support each other in what it means to be a woman at Berkeley, as well as to confront a lot of the challenges we might be facing at work, professionally, or outside of Haas."

And she’s had the opportunity to gain global insights by taking part in Global Network of Advanced Management courses, in which she met folks from schools across the US, Asia, and Europe. “It’s amazing to be able to hear how differently students think through problems, and it’s challenged the way I approach collaboration and working together with diverse groups.”

She values that diversity of thought at work as well. "Being part of a consumer-facing brand that delivers to male and female consumers alike, it's really helpful to have women at the decision-making table when it comes to new product innovations or experiences. They can really champion the voice of that female consumer."

As an athlete, Jamie is particularly excited to help foster a new experience for others, "whether it's someone training for a race, a college athlete trying to make it to the pros, or those athletes just starting their physical journeys. This is something I was always aspiring to do," she says of launching initiatives such as accelerating the plus size experience or the Nike Hijab to truly serve all athletes.

"I am getting to bring innovation to life at Nike, and Berkeley Haas has really helped me have the confidence, the knowledge, and the expertise to champion these new ways forward."

How could the Berkeley MBA help you champion a new way forward? We invite you to learn more about our Evening & Weekend MBA Program.

Learn More About the Evening & Weekend Berkeley MBA Program

 

About The Author

Rahul is Director of Admissions for the Berkeley MBA Programs for Working Professionals. He hopes these blog posts provide you with useful insights into the Berkeley MBA experience and questions you may have about the MBA in general.