Business Student Hits Ground Running
When athletics apparel giant Under Armour was preparing for the biggest running shoe launch in its history, the company knew it needed to enlist the help of its most successful employees to get the job done.
That's where SFA junior Christine Tieberg, an economics major from Houston, came in. Tieberg, who works in Houston as an Under Armour sales representative during summers and semester breaks, was selected to submit a video that might lead to the opportunity of a lifetime.
While working at the company's outlet store last winter, Tieberg's assistant store manager, Nate Newman, pulled her aside and told her that executives at corporate headquarters in Baltimore had asked store managers to choose an employee to produce a mock-training video introducing the new SpeedForm Apollo shoe to sales staff.
Executives would view the approximately 150 videos and select the best. The winners would get to travel to headquarters and spend several days learning about the SpeedForm Apollo before bringing their knowledge back to share with employees who would sell the shoe at area stores. Newman informed Tieberg that the Houston store managers had chosen her to represent their store.
"Christine's passion for the brand is what stood out," Newman said. "She was selected to be our store's SpeedForm Apollo specialist, which is an honor because not every Under Armour store has one. She took her position to heart and put everything she had into learning about the shoe and its benefits."
Newman said the decision to ask her to produce the video was made during a meeting at which managers and employees discussed the company's weekly newsletter.
"Often, the newsletter includes questions for team members," Newman said. "That week, one of the questions was about the SpeedForm Apollo's benefits. Christine impressed us with her response, and we knew she was the right employee to complete the video and send it forward to corporate."
With little time to prepare, Tieberg went to work. "My video was about the first shoe in the SpeedForm line, the SpeedForm RC or racing shoe. I gave a quick, 40-second rundown of the shoe's features. Then, I packaged the video and sent it to Baltimore."
Several weeks passed with no word. Then, while sitting in class at the end of January, Tieberg noticed she had a missed call from Newman. After class, she contacted him, and he simply told her, "They picked your video."
Realizing she would have to miss class for three days to make the trip to Baltimore, Tieberg contacted her professors, and they altered her class schedule so she could participate in the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
"We highly encourage our students to involve themselves in internships or some other type of work-related experience before graduation," said Dr. Todd Brown, SFA associate professor of finance and chair of the Department of Economics and Finance. "It enhances their classroom learning experience and advances their future careers."
Once in Baltimore, Tieberg connected with other video winners and soon learned she was one of only 30 selected for the trip. The group visited Under Armour's Brand House, which was packed with merchandise not yet released to outlet stores. The winners later met with company representatives for dinner and bowling. The next day, training began at corporate headquarters.
Tieberg said a highlight of the experience was meeting Under Armour co-founder Kip Fulks. "We walked into the conference room to hear Kip speak, and we were so excited. The room was set up like a small gym with product displays everywhere," she said. "Kip began walking us through the company's origins and the brand's vision. It was so inspiring, and I knew it would really help me market the products."
During the next three days, Tieberg and her fellow finalists spent hours learning about the SpeedForm Apollo. They returned to their stores ready to hit the ground running, introducing the new shoe to sales representatives. Tieberg was assigned to visit various athletic and sporting goods stores in East Texas. She says she incorporated what she learned in Baltimore with lessons taught in her SFA business classes to bond with her audience. "This opportunity gave me new insight on what it's like to run a successful business," she said. "I also was able to use this experience toward class credit for my marketing minor at SFA."
When she's not interning or working for one of America's fastest-growing companies, Tieberg serves as president of the SFA Economics Reading Group, vice president of the Finance Club and an officer in Phi Beta Lambda, a student organization for future business leaders. She recently competed in Phi Beta Lambda's annual national competition in Nashville, Tennessee, where she placed fourth with her Under Armour sales presentation.
Click here to read the full Fall 2014 Rusche Review