The opendorse internship program has evolved into what we believe to be world class experience. We are proud to offer college students and recent graduates from around the country a unique, empowered experience at the intersection of sports, social media, and technology. Last summer, opendorse was fortunate to bring in students from the University of Michigan, University of Miami, the University of Oregon’s Warsaw MBA program, and Bethel University.
Among the four interns was Adam White, a senior at the University of Miami and founder and CEO of Front Office Sports. As a student and business owner, Adam offered a unique perspective and valued voice to our team.
We caught up with Adam to learn about his internship experience and how his summer with the opendorse crew helped prepare him for a career in sports business.
As a current college student and the founder and CEO of Front Office Sports, tell us about your unique position and why you decided to pursue an internship last summer?
I found out about the opendorse summer internship through Scott Winter, a professor at my school who formerly taught at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. During his time at UNL, Professor Winter interfaced with a lot of the opendorse team and was familiar with their brand and the industry and shared a lot of their information with me. I followed them pretty closely for about a year which is when I learned about the internship.
How did you find out about opendorse and the 2016 summer internship opportunity?
Coincidently enough, I found out about the program after one of our contributors had interviewed Blake Lawrence and told his story on the site. Having never heard of opendorse before then, I went on their site after reading the piece and checked it out. While on the site, I just happened to see that they were looking for interns and that they had a really cool internship program that would allow me to have some flexible time in my schedule to work on my own thing while helping them continue to grow and expand their business.
Coming in, what were your expectations for your summer in Lincoln and opendorse as a whole?
Coming in, I was excited to learn. I had heard good things about opendorse’s company culture and wanted to make positive contributions in any way I could. I came in with a surface level understanding of what opendorse did, but I wanted to learn about what their pain points were and what things were inhibiting their growth. I was expecting a fast-paced summer full of independence, learning and exploring a new city, and that’s exactly what I got.
What was your average day like as summer intern?
An average day as a summer intern has a lot more independence that any other internship position that I’ve had before. After breakfast in the apartment with other interns, I would come into the office and have my coffee with Sam, the marketing manager, where we would discuss projects we were working on. Other times, we would meet with members of the sales team or the entire staff. In each of these meetings the interns were given complete liberty to speak up and contribute our ideas or voice our desires and concerns. In most cases, the rest of my work days consisted of running opendorse’s social media accounts and formulating blog posts.
The evenings were always unique. After work, we got a good feel for the city of Lincoln. We walked the town, checked out restaurants and coffee shops and played games.
What surprised you, whether in your role, or opendorse as a company?
The thing that surprised me most about my time at opendorse was the sense of empowerment that came with it. I moved to Lincoln about a week after I graduated from college, unsure of how I would be able to employ my skills, experiences and degree in a career. As soon as I arrived, however, I was asked about my experiences and relied upon for my skills. The liberties I was given in tasks and voice I was given in discussions empowered me and gave me confidence that never wavered throughout the summer. As I got to know the tenured opendorse team members, I quickly found out that we shared a lot of similarities and I could find a fit in the future with a team like that.
This kind of real world experience is most definitely something you are not going to get in every internship. From the moment you walked in the door, you weren’t just “Intern A”, you were someone who was now a valued member of the team and who was expected to make a positive and proactive difference.
What were the highlights for you?
The thing I enjoyed most about opendorse was the people. I’m not sure if opendorse’s culture is a result of the people or if the people were great because they bought into opendorse’s culture, but I know that was hard to leave at summer’s end. The fondest memories I have are of sharing stories with the rest of the team over lunch or at a happy hour. Every single person I met through opendorse took a genuine interest in my story and wanted to ensure that my opendorse experience was a positive one. I learned from and enjoyed all of them.
Has your experience helped you with Prep Hoops or sports business opportunities? How?
My opendorse experience was exactly the type of fast-paced, self-directed, forward-thinking work environment that future employers are looking for. What I learned about influencer marketing and the athlete activation space (quite a lot) pales in comparison to what I learned about how to build a successful team. Almost no aspect of my experience or learning is indispensible, because the culture and workplace they’ve established can be applied to positions in small businesses and startups that I pursue in the future.
Any advice for this year’s internship class?
Self-direction is key. If you’re looking for a job where you’re given a checklist and you knock out your menial tasks before you clock out, this probably isn’t for you. Thinking outside the box, one of opendorse’s core values, requires liberty, and opendorse will give you that. Don’t take it for granted. Instead, use that freedom to put in extra work, innovate and think big.
Every situation and every team member can be learned from. Ask questions. Speak up. Smile. Be a team player. Be a sponge.