When Maurice King, R’85, was in high school, he knew he wanted to work for NIKE.
“I had a desire and was a big fan of the company, and still remember my first pair of Waffle Trainers,” King said.
He wore those shoes all the way to University of Richmond while he was manager of the men’s basketball team. Nike provided the uniforms, which gave him an even closer connection to the company.
“I decided while I was here at Richmond that working for NIKE at some point in my life would be fantastic, and 11 years later it happened,” King said of officially joining the company in 2004.
He always knew his work at University of Richmond made that connection happen, which is why he wanted to give back.
In 2015, he met Shelley Burns, director of the Center for Professional Skills and Development, who asked him to speak at the upcoming Q-camp in January of 2016.
Later that year, he connected with Adam Marquardt, associate professor of marketing, and they began to talk about his Sports Marketing course and how King could help.
“I wanted an opportunity to reengage with the school,” King said. “Adam and I started talking about potentially contributing to his classes, and that’s where the idea of market research came in.”
The students in Marquardt’s Sports Marketing classes in the 2016-2017 school year spent a majority of their time conducting market research for King’s latest project, revamping NIKE Golf.
“The first version of the project involved looking into the consumer mind set, how they perceive the NIKE brand, how they perceive NIKE Golf,” Marquardt said.
The students interviewed their peers to gauge general interest in NIKE Golf, and help the company target their new products to a different demographic.
NIKE recently adopted a new business model, Marquardt says, to try to find new interest.
At the end of March, King came to campus to discuss the students’ findings.
“I feel both honored and a true sense of service to be able to give back to them as well,” King said of the experience. He explained that the perspective Robins students bring to the table is changing how NIKE approaches their product marketing.
“We all kind of work within our own sphere, and our own bubble,” King said, “but hearing what they thought, it makes a great difference. There’s a real benefit to expanding relationships at every level to be able to gain new perspectives about what you do and how you do it.”
Will Hansen, ’17, is one of those students who took Marquardt’s course and connected with King.
“It was great having him on campus because of how dedicated he is to helping current students,” Hansen said. “He chooses to give back through the use of his time and knowledge. The fact that he traveled from Beaverton in order to speak with us highlights his commitment to the University.”
King says he hopes to continue collaborating with Robins students in the years to come. You can read more about their marketing research project with NIKE Golf here.