The shoe fits
Graphic design major enjoying adidas internship in Germany
January 25, 2017
If a Wisconsin
college student could create a dream off-campus learning experience, what might
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
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.