The shoe fits

Graphic design major enjoying adidas internship in Germany

January 25, 2017

Jens Bringsjord stands next to an adidas logo at the company headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.

If a Wisconsin college student could create a dream off-campus learning experience, what might it be?

How about a six-month internship in Herzogenaurach, Germany, at the headquarters of adidas Group, the global manufacturer of sports shoes, equipment and apparel? Along with gaining full-time work experience relevant to the student’s field of study, throw in chances to meet star athletes, such as U.S. pr basketball player James Harden and Olympic gold medal winner Wayde van Niekerk of South Africa, and some free shoes and apparel.

This dream came true for Jens Bringsjord, of La Crosse, a junior at University of Wisconsin-Stout. Since August 2016 he has been in Germany, excited about the experience and confident about what lies ahead in his career.

After his internship he plans to complete a study-abroad semester at Hochschule Darmstadt near Frankfurt and will arrive back on campus in September. At UW-Stout, Bringsjord is majoring in graphic design and interactive media, with a minor in psychology.

He will give a presentation about his adidas experience Wednesday, March 8, to campus via Skype during Career Services’ Design Week at UW-Stout.

The opportunity to gain on-the-job, relevant work experience at a leading worldwide company was at the top of Bringsjord’s list. Adidas employs more than 57,000 people in 160 countries. Its brands include Reebok, TaylorMade, Ashworth, Adams Golf and CCM hockey.

Also, his mother was born in Germany, and he has dual citizenship, another reason he pursued the UW-Stout Cooperative Education Program position with adidas. Via email, Bringsjord discussed his experience:

Q: What types of projects and daily work have you been doing at adidas?

A:
I work in Creative Direction, which organizes much of the internal design operations within adidas. We organize workshops and many events for over 600 adidas designers.

Over the past months, I have completed many professional photoshoots with models, mannequins and close-up material shoots. I have been the photographer for each photo shoot. The photos document the design process and are then uploaded internally so that other designers and business units within the company can see what each business unit is working on.

Much of my work has included designing user interfaces for internal websites. I have held meetings with both internal teams at adidas as well as with IT teams and external companies that work for adidas Group. Interacting with so many teams has helped me learn more about the company and truly see how internal digital design operates at adidas.

I have created and edited videos for internal use. I have filmed interviews with a studio set-up as well as edited the videos for a professional polish. I film specific internal events, both on our HQ location as well as off location. 

I have helped assist in the creation of poster design, process documentation and registration forms for designers at adidas. 

Each project I work on requires extensive communication with the other team members and teams at adidas. Sometimes I also present my findings during our weekly team meetings, thus further improving my presentation skills. 

I am grateful that my internship has given me so many new experiences and has expanded many of my skills. I have met individuals from all over the world.

The Laces office building is part of the adidas Group headquarters.

Q: How has the adidas experience fueled your desire to work in this field?

A: The experiences have been life-changing. I have a deeper understanding of the design field, from fashion to graphics. What I have appreciated most is the user interface and user experience projects. The experiences have pushed me to new levels and have given me greater insight into corporate culture. I am very interested in developing user stories through on-screen graphics, while at the same time understanding the psychological and emotional aspects through which user interfaces operate. This is why I will continue to pursue the graphic design and interactive media major with a minor in psychology. I highly recommend other students to pursue an internship at adidas not only because of the creative environment but also because of the lasting friendships and industry connections that will be gained.

Q: How have you overcome the language barrier?

A: English is the corporate language. This means that when I get to work I only speak English, as do all other employees. Because adidas has offices all over the world, including Portland and Brooklyn, it is required to communicate in English. 

Q: Are you working with other students from around the U.S. and world? 

A: Yes. There are roughly 600 interns who work at adidas globally each year. The interns come from all corners of the world. Personally, I work with one other intern on my team who comes from London. I have also met interns from Australia, Sweden, Scotland, France and Spain.

Q: How would you describe the work environment?

A: Because adidas is a sports company, there are many amazing sport opportunities. The adidas headquarters campus has a world class gym for employees, many company events, a soccer stadium, volleyball court, tennis court and an outdoor rock wall. Employees are encouraged to use these facilities before work, during lunch breaks and in the evening. The dining and lunch options at the headquarters campus are delicious. There are many inspiring people everywhere, and the work environment fosters creativity through the abundance of resources available. Overall I would classify the working environment as casual in the most creative and inspirationally fulfilling way.

Q: What are some of the cool things you've done while in Germany? 

A: I have visited Germany many times in the past, so I can't say I'm extremely new to the culture and to its tourist locations. However, since I arrived in July 2016 I've traveled to Munich and gone sightseeing there. I also have gone to Christmas markets in Erlangen, Nuremberg and Bamberg. My grandma lives near Schwäbisch Hall, and I stayed with her over the Christmas holiday. I have also traveled to Wittenberg and been to numerous other cities around Germany.

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Photos

Top: Jens Bringsjord stands next to an adidas logo at the company headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany, where he has been interning since August.

Bottom: The Laces office building is part of the adidas Group headquarters in Herzogenaurach, Germany.