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Adidas: A culture of empowerment

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May 6, 2015

A culture built around honesty, commitment, passion, innovation, inspiration, teamwork, empowerment and student engagement has earned adidas this year’s Distinguished Business Partner award.

That culture is in sync with that of the College of Business, adidas executive Nic Vu said.

“The professors and other educators focus on placement,” said Vu, a senior vice president and a 1995 College of Business graduate who spearheaded his company’s partnership with the college. “College of Business students are very well versed in team dynamics, group projects and results orientation, and they’re open to learning.

“I work with lot of Ph.D.’s and consultants who have master’s, MBAs, whatever, and they don’t have all of that packaged together as well as some of the undergrads I see coming out of Oregon State,” he said. “That’s a compliment to the dean and all the educators at Oregon State.”

Beavers who have joined Vu at adidas have taken note of a supportive environment that mirrors that of the college that prepared them to launch their careers.

“The College of Business stresses networking and adidas allows recent grads to take networking to an entirely new level,” said OSU senior Jacob Knightley, who’s majoring in finance and business information systems and works 30 hours a week for adidas’ finance reporting team.

“All managers — junior, senior and above — are extremely approachable and will take time out of their day to talk with you. My CFO walks around and talks with everybody on a first-name basis and will make the effort to learn your name as soon as possible.”

Knightley said he and others consider the adidas culture to be an extension of their university life.

“We make sure our work is getting completed to the best degree, but we have fun while we do it,” he said. “Adidas benefits (from the College of Business partnership) by getting great local talent who bring new and fresh ideas about how to win in America, and the college benefits by having a local company that loves to recruit local talent.”

Adidas will be honored May 11 in Portland at the college’s annual Celebration of Excellence, along with the rest of the 2015 award winners as well as retiring Dean Ilene Kleinsorge.

The evening begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by dinner and the awards presentation. For more information or to register, contact Elsa Frey at or call 541-737-6648, or register online at

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