Hands-on with Under Armour

Guest Student Contributor, May 29, 2014 | 0 comments
Tags: first year, career, curriculum, First Year Project, alumni

Isaac is a T'15 from Denver, CO. After graduating from Brigham Young University with a degree in economics, he headed east for a job with Sears Holdings Corporation in Chicago, IL.  Heading even further east, Isaac came to Tuck with his wife and one son.  They’ve recently welcomed another little boy to their family.  Isaac is currently exploring general management positions in a variety of industries.

This week, clients from all over will come to Hanover as my classmates and I make final presentations for the First-Year Project. Throughout the spring term, teams of five students have worked on an out-of-the-classroom project for a client—typically a for-profit company, but some students work with nonprofits or on an entrepreneurial venture. While Tuck sources a ton of projects from great companies for students to choose from, students can also source a project themselves, which is where my FYP began in last fall.

As part of the recruiting process, I made a list of a handful of companies that hadn’t come to campus to officially recruit but that I would love the chance to work for - basically my dream companies. I figured there would never be a better time to take a run at them, with the hope that the Tuck alumni network could help give me a shot. As luck would have it, two Tuck alums had recently transitioned from consulting to the corporate strategy group at the first company on my list: Under Armour. I reached out one of the alums, a T’04, and threw out the idea of doing an FYP with Under Armour. I was thrilled when she was interested and wanted me to follow-up with her in a few weeks after she had had some time to think it over. Long story short, a few months and a couple conference calls later, we agreed on a project that a team of Tuckies would work on in the spring.

Leading up to the spring term, I was able to get together a team of four other first-years to work on the project with me (not very difficult when the client is Under Armour). The very first week of the term, UA flew us down to their headquarters in Baltimore (more than worth the 3 am wake-up to catch our flight out of Manchester, NH). The experience was every bit as cool as we expected, including a giant TV screen with ESPN on when we walked in, sports gear everywhere, everyone decked out in UA apparel, and a consistent buzz of energy in the building. Our actual client (the UA corporate strategy team) organized a fantastic day for us to get an understanding of the company and to give us the insight that would inform our project. We were really impressed with the level of people we met and how open and insightful they all were (we even met the guy from the first iconic UA commercial who works there now). Everyone’s passion for the brand was very apparent.

Most importantly, during the visit we had a working session with our client to define the project scope and timeline of deliverables. We’d heard that a major pitfall for a lot of FYP teams was not agreeing on the scope until halfway into the project, so it was great to have a client that was not only willing to be very clear about it, but who also pushed us in that direction. From there, we settled into a weekly schedule in which our team could work together here at Tuck, then have a call with the UA team each Friday to share our work to that point and make adjustments as necessary. In large part due to the trip to Baltimore, we were able to get deep into the work pretty quickly.


On an especially hectic day, I brought my two sons along with me for a conference call. Thanks to Wes playing with them while I manned the call, we made it through without explaining any crying in the background. (Also we both happen to be wearing UA apparel we bought from their brand house in Baltimore.)

We definitely put in a lot of time each week, individually and collectively. The FYP is not a class with a syllabus and scheduled time, so it took a few weeks to figure out how to manage getting everything done by Thursday for our call on Friday mornings. Being genuinely passionate about the brand we were working for and the substance of the project kept us all fully engaged and excited even during the most challenging weeks. Better yet, consistent teamwork, week after week, also paid off with a lot less stress as final deadlines neared. With one day left we’re all pumped to present to Under Armour when they’re here at Tuck tomorrow!

I've gained experience in working with an external client, I understand Under Armour’s brand and culture much better, and have learned a lot from some very talented teammates and our clients. This will undoubtedly be one of my most memorable experiences at Tuck.

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