Alumni Spotlight: Neil Watson

Position: Senior Manager, Concepts-to-Consumer for Adidas Group

Year of Graduation: 2010

Major/Emphasis: Business, entrepreneurship

Could you describe what your job entails? What is the most rewarding part of it? In a very broad sense, my job is to build a framework that coordinates the line of products created (called a “range”) and sold by the Adidas Group around the world.  I work with the product creation teams to develop guidance for what and how much should be created each season.  Once they have created the season’s range, I then work with the global market regions to help decide what, where, when and to whom the different pieces of the range should be sold to.

How did you find that job? Actually, my job found me.  I am a 2nd Gen participant in a highly competitive cross-cultural, cross-functional development program within the Adidas Group called “Talent Carousel.”  Each June, managers from all over the company are invited to apply, and having worked for several years at TaylorMade Golf (a subsidiary of Adidas) following my graduate studies at CUA, I was eligible for the program.  Over the course of 5 months, from a pool of 600+ applicants, they select 20 participants and hand them 2-year assignments both in a new country and in a new department. After being selected for the 2nd generation of the program this past October, I was given my current role for the 2 years.

How did JPCatholic prepare you for your job? On a practical level, being in the 2nd graduating class at JPCatholic prepared me to be in the 2nd generation of this program (and in only the third graduating class of my Master’s program).  You realize how important it is to understand that it’s a learning experiment on both sides.  On that same note, JPCatholic also changed me as a person by infusing a lasting entrepreneurial spirit in me, equipping me with the tools to be a creator and collaborator in any and every role.

What did you enjoy most about your time at JPCatholic? For me, it was the curriculum – particularly the professors and their required readings.  All these years later, there still isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t use one of Dr. Jackson’s lessons learned or whip out a quote from Prof. Riley.  And I still keep copies of books like Good to Great and Hello, He Lied right at my desk ready to go.

What’s the best piece of advice you could give a prospective student interested in studying business?
Business is for the creative types so all others should consider the media program.  I’m teasing, of course!  BUT, I do strongly believe the successful prospective business student thinks of him or herself first and foremost as a creator.  This is because at its most basic, business is about creating – it’s about taking people and things and processes and making them more valuable than the sum of their parts.  So whether you hope to launch your own startup or work for a Fortune 500, think of yourself as a creator first.  JPCatholic will help shape this trait within you in a way that few business schools can (thanks in part to the proximity of the media program), but you have to be open to it and lay the foundation for it yourself.