[Alumni Story] Marine BAUD: just doing it at Nike!

Over the past ten years, Marine BAUD (who graduated both the Grande École Program in 2017 and the Master in Fashion Management in 2018) has alternated between sprints and marathons, in business terms, all over the world: working on three continents in seven years, constantly challenging herself on behalf of the sportswear giant Nike. Nothing phases this keen sportswoman, who loves fashion and made the slogan “Just do it!” her own.

You have spent your entire career abroad. Where does this wanderlust come from?
As a child, I moved house regularly with my family and had to learn to adapt to new environments. This has undoubtedly contributed to my willingness to travel and my permanent thirst for discovery! Many years later, after my studies at IÉSEG, I was chosen for a one year internship at the Nike headquarters in the Netherlands. It was a multicultural and stimulating setting with a modern campus, basketball courts, tennis courts and even a nearby forest for running! This led to a permanent contract, and after four years at the European headquarters, I wanted to progress to an international position to find out how the company works in other countries. In 2020, I moved to the South-east Asia headquarters in Singapore where I learned a huge amount, in the midst of the Covid pandemic. In April 2022, in search of new challenges and more passionate than ever about the brand, I then moved to the global headquarters in the USA.

What particularly appealed to you about Nike?
I have always done lots of sport (running, swimming, tennis, etc.), both for my mental and physical health. During my time at IÉSEG, there was a lot of talk in the media about “Athleisure” fashion and “Streetwear”, a trend that came from the USA. I really liked this way of mixing sport and fashion and I immediately thought of Nike for its ability to win over a huge audience with its innovative and cutting-edge products. Joining this global company was the best way for me to combine these two interests.

You have moved countries three times in seven years. What do you do to help settle in?
The key is patience, open-mindedness and accepting the fact that you have to start from scratch, or almost from scratch, every time: making friends, finding somewhere to live, getting your bearings, etc. I was lucky to meet my husband at Nike in the Netherlands; he followed me to Singapore and the United States and I realised how important it was to be able to lean on someone who shares the same culture and the same mother tongue in these vital stages. Finally, you have to be able to relax and keep an inquiring mind: you imagine all kinds of things before you leave, but the reality is often quite different – in both good and bad ways.

Marine Baud

What is your current position within the company?
I am the e-commerce manager of the Nike mobile app for the American market. I supervise two employees and my role is to ensure an optimal customer experience while hitting the financial objectives set by the company. For example, we decide on the placement of content, navigation, etc. As the app is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, we have to be particularly responsive to meet customer expectations and market trends. Of course, all this is done in conjunction with the marketing, purchasing, customer relations departments, etc. Our approach is collaborative and I really like that.

You have worked on three continents. Have you noticed any particular differences depending on which region of the world you are in?
The advantage of joining a global group of this size is that you benefit from a particularly strong corporate culture: the environment is relaxed and flexible, playing sport is always encouraged and well being as well as work-life balance are the most important things. I remember being surprised during my first weekly check-in with my manager when his first question was “How are you feeling?” Of course, there are cultural differences depending on the country: Americans are often more effusive, while Singaporeans have a more reserved side. In terms of working hours, I finish work earlier in the USA, but I had more days off in Europe. I learned to adapt!

You now live in Oregon. What can you tell us about this state?
I moved there for Nike and now live in Beaverton, west of Portland. I cycle to work and it reminds me of the Netherlands! You are surrounded by nature: there are mountains to ski in an hour-and-a-half away by car, there’s the sea, forests as far as the eye can see, with lakes and waterfalls. Portland is a city like no other. Locals say “Keep Portland Weird” because it’s home to all kinds of quirky styles and ways of life. At the week-end, I like to go hiking in the forests of Oregon, ski at Mount Hood, but also travel as often as possible to explore cities or states (California, New York, Seattle). Note that Oregon is also a great wine region and its wines can easily hold their own against Burgundies!

What advice would you give to all those tempted to move to the USA?
An expat posting can be quite daunting and you can sometimes put up barriers for yourself, especially in relation to the level of English required. This is a mistake, in my opinion, since you don’t need to be bilingual, the French accent always works its charm and you end up getting by very easily. You should also remember that if you don’t like it as much as you hoped, nothing is forever, you can go back home or change your plans. It was by keeping all this in mind that I was able to launch myself calmly into all these new challenges. The only regret you might have is not having tried because you’ll learn something even from bad experiences.

What does the future hold?
People often say to me: “So, is that it ? Are you staying in the United States forever?” but that’s nonsensical: a change of city or country is not a final destination and can be a transition to another place. I wanted to join Nike’s global headquarters because I would like to move into a strategic position, but the beauty of a brand of this size is that it has offices all over the world.
So we’ll see what the future holds…

Career path

Marine’s international career began as soon as she started at IÉSEG since she spent a year at Western New England University (Massachusetts – USA) in her second year.
She then completed a six-month exchange in Shanghai, China, and ended her course with a double degree in Fashion Management, thanks to a partnership between the School and the Istituto Marangoni in Paris.
This allowed her to deepen her knowledge in subjects as varied as sales, design and also the production chain of the textile / retail sector.

This article was written by Luna Créations for IÉSEG Network’s magazine, IÉS #16.

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