CRB Student Advisory Board 2018 Summer Experiences
Nellie Boonman, MBA ’19
Marketing Manager Intern
As an MBA Marketing Intern at Intuit, Nellie used customer-driven design methodology to identify opportunities to connect early-stage small businesses to financial professionals, ultimately improving their outcomes & odds of success. Her work specifically focused on creating a retention plan to help new QuickBooks Online small businesses achieve value on the platform.
One of the biggest challenges was transitioning to working in the technology sector after previously spending her career in consumer packaged goods. Although a position in tech was a new experience, Nellie was enthusiastic about the taking on a challenging new opportunity. A highlight from her experience was getting to talk to small business owners and hearing them explain why they started their businesses, and see the sense of pride they took in their work.
Adam Brudnick, MBA ’19
Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC)
Adam worked at Data Collective Venture Capital (DCVC) this past summer as a Summer Associate. His role at an early stage “deep tech” VC firm focused on translating high impact technologies from research to the real world in areas including energy, transportation, health, agriculture, and risk.
In his role, Adam saw first-hand just how much socially-beneficial impact startups can have, without compromising on their economic competitiveness, provided they focus their innovative energies on real problems that have semi-standardized markets around them. A highlight from his summer was working late on a Friday night in support of an energy related startup in the portfolio with a potentially game-changing technology. Despite spending the start of his weekend in the office, Adam realized he was still excited to be there working on such an innovative project.
Jeff Hartsough, MBA ’19
Product Management Intern
Jeff spent his summer working on Cisco’s Network Security team to develop the software licensing content, structure, and pricing for a new product integrating networking and security functions onto existing hardware platforms at branch locations. This initiative will simplify how customers properly secure their networks and data while also reducing waste and costs by delivering multiple functions in a single piece of hardware.
One of the biggest challenges of Jeff’s summer experience was ensuring that his team would truly help customers simplify securing their network by integrating the right features and products from Cisco’s diverse portfolio under a single licensing structure. This was challenging because it meant innovating to integrate different existing business models while creating clear incremental value for the customer and Cisco, making sure the go-to-market strategy with the sales teams was properly aligned, and defining clear positioning of the new product and Cisco’s adjacent offerings.
One of Jeff’s favorite summer experiences was interviewing over 40 customers at the Cisco Live conference. For him, this was a great way to dive into the customer discovery process in a new way that provided greater depth of insight and nuance beyond what quantitative data alone can tell you.
Isabella Martin, MDP ’19
Copenhagen Business School (CBS)
Isabella spent the summer in Copenhagen, Denmark as a research assistant to Professor Robert Strand, executive director of the CRB. They examined different sustainability performance indices and metrics such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). They were specifically interested in how the Nordic region was overrepresented and outperformed US companies. Additionally, Isabella attended the Copenhagen Business School (CBS) summer school to study Impact Investing.
One challenge Isabella faced was working so heavily in data analytics. Though it was unexpected in the beginning, she eventually grew comfortable analyzing the various indices and metrics. Her favorite experience was living and learning about Danish culture. She felt that their way of life was very inspiring. Every aspect of the area was well designed and is created with sustainability in mind. This was exemplified in everyday activities like when she rode her bike to class (where the buildings are designed specifically to be environmentally friendly), and then to a café, then to the harbour for a swim (because the water is so clean you can swim in the city).
Kira Mikityanskaya, MBA ’19
Governance, Quality, and Analysis Consultant
This past summer, Kira worked as a Governance, Quality, and Analysis Consultant at Nike Inc. She focused on a project within HR Operational Services to better understand how key HR stakeholders interact with Nike’s various HR data systems. The project included conducting a landscape analysis, interviewing 40+ stakeholders to understand their business needs, and identifying pain points. Kira synthesized the interview insights and distilled them into several recommendations for system and process improvement and strategic communications.
One challenge Kira faced on the job was navigating a large corporate environment and knowing where to get the information she needed when. She also realized that most companies (big or small, nonprofit or for-profit) face very similar organizational challenges, but the scope and size of those problems varies.
A favorite experience of the summer was when she received the opportunity to join her team on a Heritage Tour in Eugene, Oregon – the birthplace of Nike. Kira had the chance to learn about Nike’s founders, their approach to the business, and see first hand how important Oregon and athletes are in the founding story.
Trisha Mittal, MBA ’19
Senior Management Associate
As a Senior Management Associate at Bridgewater Associates, Trisha learned and adopted a principles-based management style that focuses on deeply understanding people in order to optimize individual contributions and teamwork, and on continuous improvement. Additionally, she led strategy, problem-solving, and execution design for two projects, employing a design-thinking approach.
The role challenged Trisha to recognize the value of providing and receiving direct feedback continuously in order to help everyone in the organization improve. A valuable lesson she took away from her summer experience was getting a very clear sense of her weaknesses (and strengths) and how to guardrail herself from them.
Sustainable Business & Innovation Intern
Nike has an ambitious purpose to “use the power of sport to move the world forward.” This summer, Abby worked on answering: What does this purpose mean to Nike’s stakeholders – its employees, customers, investors, and industry partners – and how should Nike be engaging each of these groups through a coherent and consistent transparency strategy? Through dozens of conversations with athletes, company leaders, and external partners, she sought to understand priorities for social and environmental change.
Abby then designed and facilitated a series of workshops to co-create solutions with more than 50 diverse stakeholders from across the business. This discussions led to the development of a 2025 strategic roadmap with transparency goals and programmatic solutions for Nike to address equity and climate change – the two issue areas that emerged as most significant across stakeholder groups.
One of the biggest lessons she learned is that customer impressions of sustainability are often disconnected from actual impact. For example, customers may be most concerned about product packaging, but in reality, packaging is a very small component of the total environmental footprint. How can a company invest in sustainability in a way that resonates with customers, and also creates impact?
The highlight of Abby’s summer was learning about the manufacturing process and meeting the chemical engineering team working on the next generation of Nike products and touring the factory where these products are being produced. And, of course, exploring Portland with fellow CRB Board members – Kira and Rebecca!
Rebecca Rowe, MBA ’19
Rebecca’s summer was spent at Nike, within the Sustainable Business and Innovation Group, as a Sustainability Analyst. Her role focused on building the required infrastructure to launch a textile recycling program with one of Nike’s main product categories. She explored the different sources of scrap that could be used to supply such a program, as well as built an economic model to better understand the “value” of cutting scrap and how it could be incorporated as a raw material input.
Nike is a huge company with an immense amount of resources, and like any company of Nike’s size, finding the right people to talk to can be challenging. For Rebecca, internal networking and identifying key champions early on was key. One of her favorite highlights from the summer was watching the Barcelona football team play on the Ronaldo field at Nike!