#100Pac12 Alumni: Nikki Neuburger
Oregon State Volleyball ‘04
Senior Brand Director, Nike
As part of the Pac-12’s Centennial celebration, the Conference will highlight Pac-12 student-athlete alumni who have had tremendous success off the field of play—in their careers and in their communities.
The first featured alumna is Nikki Neuburger. Nikki was a women's volleyball student-athlete at Oregon State and is now a Senior Brand Director in the Global Running category at Nike.
Nikki graduated from Oregon State in 2004, where she was captain of the volleyball team and majored in International Business with minors in Marketing and Fashion Merchandising. Nikki earned her role as captain after spending her freshman and sophomore years as a walk on for the Beavers. Before she was put on athletic scholarship, she held down a part-time job while playing volleyball and taking a full class load.
“The most important thing I learned during my time as a student-athlete was how to manage my time and prioritize,” Nikki said. “As a student-athlete you don’t have the time to do whatever you want; you have to decide: ‘am I going to do this or am I going to make sure I m ready for a great practice.’”
Another skill she credits to being a student-athlete was learning how to work in a team environment and figure out how individuals on a team can be motivated differently.
Nikki’s experience in the Oregon State College of Business also greatly shaped her future, and she feels lucky to have landed a dream job in the field she went to college to pursue. She has fond memories of business school professors who pushed her to think creatively about product design and marketing campaigns and to use the lessons she was learning in the real world.
“It’s really important to take advantage of any opportunity to build your experience base and resume,” Nikki said. “Even little things like volunteer work can give you something to talk about in an interview and set you apart.”
Nikki started working at Nike right after college, and has been with the company for more than 10 years. Currently she is a Senior Brand Director in the Global Running category but has spent time in several other categories across the company such as Sportswear, Men’s Training, Action Sports, Entertainment Marketing, and Energy Marketing.
What Nikki loves most about her job is that she gets to think about how to inspire and solve problems for athletes. Part of her job is to set the strategy for what the Global Running category is hoping to accomplish on a macro level, as well to develop creative for Nike around the world.
“Every day I get to problem solve and am challenged to dream up new services and experiences for our consumers,” Nikki said.
Nikki credits her time as a student-athlete at Oregon State with much of her success, and says she misses her teammates and her unique college experience every day. Nikki has successfully translated her invaluable experience as a student-athlete into a senior leadership role at one of the largest companies in the world.
“It definitely took work to get my foot in the door at Nike but by exercising patience and tenacity I made it happen,” Nikki said. “My best advice is to find something you love, and kick butt at it.”