Under Armour Hits A Home Run With Rookie Program!

Why did my high school baseball team buy Under Armour long sleeve shirts? Simple, the shirts made us feel like all star sluggers. But I would argue that the most attractive part of Under Armour isn’t their shirt technology, branding strategies, football cleats, or super bowl commercials – it’s their people.

Honestly, Under Armour has the most ideal internship program I have come across; their company understands the value of engaging college students. I had the opportunity for some  Q&A with Under Armour’s college recruiting leader, Christina Visaggio.

Here is what Christina had to say:

Q:What is the Under Armour Rookie Program?
The Rookie Program is Under Armour’s Summer Internship Program that offers a unique opportunity to gain valuable knowledge with an industry leader and develop essential skills for the future and career planning. The mission is to attract high-potential, diverse students from a variety of schools, develop skills through specialized training and challenging assignments, and retain top performers for the continued growth of the Under Armour team.

The 11-week Rookie Program is available to qualified [ee1] college and MBA students supporting all areas of our business. Rookies work on a variety of hands-on projects under the guidance of a team mentor and experience an atmosphere of growth and excitement where both individual accomplishments and teamwork go hand-in-hand. During the internship, Rookies take advantage of various training and development programs and attend networking events with executive management.

Q: What are some of the keys to running a successful internship program?
The keys to running a successful internship program include 1) support and encouragement from executive management, 2) close partnerships with teammates to help determine essential needs and goals as well as interview criteria 3) detailed job descriptions including skills and qualifications needed 4) creative teambuilding events and activities 5) innovative and hands-on projects and 6) an assigned mentor.

Q: In what ways does Under Armour benefit from the Rookie Program?
The Rookie Program adds value by supporting vital areas of our business. Rookies work over an extensive 11-week program and provide support by assisting teams reach their goals. Along with everyday assistance, every Rookie is assigned a master project which is tailored to fulfill a need for their specific department. In the long run, Under Armour benefits from the Rookie Program by having the opportunity to extend full-time positions to trained and experienced candidates.

Q: What are a couple of the most exciting parts of the Rookie Program?
Under Armour has an exciting and dynamic environment! Overall, Rookies get to experience our energy and atmosphere of growth, innovation, excellent operations, and great teamwork. They learn the importance of “staying humble and being hungry” and work closely with talented industry professionals on a daily basis. In addition to an individual master project, Rookies also compete in an Innovation Case Study Competition. The Rookie Team is grouped into five teams and each are responsible for a case study revolving around the drivers of our business. This is a great way for Rookies to collaboratively work together and focus on an area outside of their intern position.

Q: How many students were hired for the 2009 Rookie Program? How many applicants?
In 2009 we received over 7,000 applications for the Rookie Programs and we hired a total of 30 Rookies.

Q: What role does the Rookie Program play in your entry level hiring strategy?
The Rookie Program encourages top-performing Rookies to begin their careers at Under Armour upon graduation. Under Armour has the ability to extend employment opportunities to high-performing people who are familiar with the company and its business.

Q: What advice do you have for students applying for summer internships?
Start early and write a cover letter! A cover letter gives the recruiter a quick insight into why you are applying for that particular position and why you would be a great asset. The letter should be meaningful and personal. We love applicants that are passionate about our brand and can express it in a thoughtful way.

Under Armour’s explosive growth isn’t magic. They are busy doing what most companies only talk about – hiring the most talented young people while also developing remarkable products.

I don’t know about you, but I would love to be an Under Armour Rookie.