Matthew Day is a graduate from the University of Brighton Business School (2011) with a 2:1 BSc (Hons) in Business Studies with Finance. Five years on, Matthew is working at Nike’s European HQ in Amsterdam.
We caught up with him recently to ask how his University of Brighton degree has assisted him in his career so far.
University Of Brighton: What is your role at Nike?
Matthew Day: I am the Sports Marketing Finance Manager and I am in charge of financial and strategic planning of Nike’s Western European sports marketing endorsements. Overseeing short-term budget and forecasting implications, at the same time looking forward 3 years for long-term planning on where Nike will invest. Sports Marketing assets include the likes of FC Barcelona, the FA and Cristiano Ronaldo. I’m the financial partner to the Vice President of Sports Marketing (for Western Europe and Global Football) whilst managing a Financial Analyst who is also a Brighton graduate and oversees the Central Eastern European portfolio.
UOB: What did you most enjoy about the University of Brighton?
MD: I really enjoyed how diverse and broad the subjects were, this gave me good exposure to pretty much all facets of business so when I came into work I had an idea of what different departments and functions are responsible for.
UOB: How do you think your course has contributed to your career so far?
MD: The placement year, looking back, was invaluable to me. I can say with an extremely high level of certainty I wouldn’t be doing what I do now without having done the placement. That’s what got me in the door at Nike and I’ve not looked back since.
UOB: What sets Brighton apart from other universities?
MD: The placement year and the placement office, in my experience, I cannot express how important actual work experience is and they help you to find this. Since working at Nike I’ve been on interview panels and you see the caliber of candidates coming through. Most are students in their final years of masters programs from top schools, yes they’re academically smart but the ones that really standout are those that have had credible work experience. Brighton are huge advocates of getting their students out there – and that to me is what sets you guys apart.
UOB: How did the Placements Office help you during your time here?
MD: The Placement office supported me through the entire year when I needed it, they are able to help with things like interview skills and CV writing as well as helping to find placement opportunities for you. Overall they made me feel confident about the whole process which was fantastic.
UOB: How do you feel your placement helped you?
MD: The internship at Nike for me was essentially a year-long job interview for a company I really wanted to work for. I got stuck in, took on as much as I could and listened closely to my manager and peers. I developed a lasting professional relationship with my manager as well as a social bond. His advice extended beyond the work we did and covered the importance of networking. I took whatever he gave me and ran with it. To this day I still have relationships with many of the business partners I supported during my internship even though most have moved on in their careers. For example my mentor now was the VP of HR Europe at the time of my internship, she’s now the VP of HR Nike Latin America based in Brazil. These are the kind of people you meet at Nike and you have the opportunity to have them invest their time and effort in you. They are the guys that know you, your work and that made it so much easier to get a job with Nike, as a result I was hired before I even took the first exam in my final year.
UOB: Are you proud of what you achieved at the University of Brighton?
MD: I’m very proud. I wasn’t top of my class but I took every opportunity offered to me and made the most of it.
UOB: What advice would you give to someone starting out at university?
MD: DO THE PLACEMENT YEAR. And don’t be scared to go abroad. You’re completely out of your comfort zone and you mature in every way very quickly, but whilst you have the opportunity, enjoy it as much as you can. Brighton is one of my favourite places and it’s a great place to live as well as study. Don’t take it for granted, the experience will be over before you notice so don’t let it go to waste.