wanted an international career – became Director at Nike

14 February 2017 07:44

(updated: 14 February 2017 08:07)

wanted an international career – became Director at Nike

Lars Kristian Stråtveit moved to Amsterdam to work as an intern at Nike. After four years working abroad, he was assigned Division Director of the company.

– A combination of luck, good timing, and hard work has led me where I am today. It all happened so quickly, much faster than expected, says Lars Kristian Stråtveit.

Lars Kristian Stråtveit, NHH alumni and director at Nike
- A combination of luck, good timing, and hard work has led me where I am today, says Lars Kristian Stråtveit.

During his bachelor studies at NHH, Stråtveit travelled to Melbourne, Australia, to do a student exchange. Living abroad inspired him to gain additional international experience.

Upon completing his bachelor's degree in Economics and Business Administration, Stråtveit therefore decided to apply for an opening position as an intern at Nike´s European headquarters in Amsterdam.

– At 17, I started the company Konge Klær with a couple of friends. The experience made me stand out among the many applicants, and Nike offered me the internship of my dreams, says the former NHH student.

– Many roads lead to success

Stråtveit´s plan was to return to Bergen and NHH after one year abroad, to take a master's degree.

– Much to my mother´s dismay, I was offered a steady job at Nike after 10 months. I was, however, in doubt whether I should take it or return to Norway to complete my studies. Eventually I decided that I had to take a chance, and I decided to stay and work for Nike.

Four and a half years later, the 26-year-old from Stavanger has been assigned to a new role as Devision Director of product launch at Nike. Stråtveit is now one of the youngest Nike directors in the world, and the youngest in Europe.

– Ever since I was young, I have wanted to become a leader. As a Division Director, I get the opportunity to create something from scratch and work with others towards a common goal.

– As we say at Nike: just do it! There are great job opportunities abroad if you are willing to take chances and to step out of your comfort zone. Move abroad, be open to new ideas and do not be afraid to fail.

Lars Kristian Stråtveit

The young leader believes his bachelor's degree from NHH has given him the necessary insight and basic skills in order to make the right and most effective business decisions.

– Without having the business understanding from NHH, I would never have been where I am today. I chose to compensate taking a master's degree, with work experience, others might choose differently. There is no right answer on how to succeed in business - there are many roads that lead to success.

International workplace

Over the years, Stråtveit has held various positions at Nike working with everything from analytics to product strategy. As Director of product launch, Stråtveit has the main responsibility of planning, promoting and executing the launch of limited edition shoes.

– As a leader, I work very independently. No one is counting how many hours I work, instead there is a high focus on the results I make. My workdays are therefore very diverse. Naturally, sport is a central focus at Nike, and training is therefore also a part of my job. In one moment I can be in a meeting, and in the next, I could be playing football with my employees.

Nike has employees from 60 different countries, making it an international workplace. Stråtveit considers his work environment both innovative and inspiring.

– As an intern I worked in a team of 14 people that had 12 different nationalities. People with different backgrounds and cultures bring different experiences to the table. Inequality nurtures innovation, and is a major reason to Nike's success.

International opportunities

NHH offers several opportunities to gain valuable international experience, such as exchange programmes, the CEMS Master's in International Management (MIM) and summer courses. NHH also offers Erasmus grants to students who are working as an intern in Europe after completing their bachelor or master degree.

Stråtveit believes an internship abroad is a great way to kick-start a career, and encourages others to work in a foreign country.

International opportunities at NHH

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Sigrid Grøm Bakken