By Julie Anne Jacobs
Redatu, “Red,” Semeon is a cross country and track athlete, so it would only be natural for him to go the distance. He knew it would be a long shot, but an internship at Under Armour could be his ticket to full-time employment.
The odds were stacked -- in a pool of over 10,000 applicants, Semeon was one of 88 undergraduates selected to intern with Under Armour over the summer.
“An internship with Under Armour seemed awesome, and athletics is a big part of my life so I thought I would give it a chance,” Semeon states. “But ultimately, I knew I had to separate myself from the numbers.”
It was Under Armour’s fast-paced corporate climate that sparked Semeon’s interest to apply.
“Under Armour is such a dynamic company,” Semeon states. “The ever-changing aspect was something that drove me to want to be a part of it.”
A computer science major, Semeon worked in the information technology department as an information system services analyst, using data to drive and support business decisions within the company.
“Information today is like the oil of the future,” Semeon says. “Any decision you make as a company has to be backed up by data, so we worked to monitor those metrics and that data.”
At Under Armour, it wasn’t just about the day-to-day responsibilities, though. It was about something bigger.
“The main focus wasn’t necessarily work, work, work,” Semeon states. “It was seeing where you belong in a bigger picture, where you can bring your individuality.”
It was that individuality along with hard work and commitment that Semeon believes was key in giving him an edge and the shot at a full time position.
“I went in there and wanted to be my best because everyone else was giving their best,” Semeon says. “I couldn’t afford to drop down to even 99 percent because everyone else was giving at least 101 percent.”
This attitude fit in well with Under Armour’s “hungry” atmosphere, a concept both Under Armour and Semeon believe in.
“Within the company we know we can’t be satisfied with where we are,” Semeon stated. “We are always asking, ‘what’s the next thing we can do?’”
Auburn plays an integral part in answering this same question in Semeon’s life, ensuring success both professionally and academically.
“The athletic department does a great job helping us to know how to dress professionally, how to talk professionally and how to have a good résumé,” Semeon states.”
He also credits Auburn’s engineering department, highlighting the emphasis they place on thinking critically and logically.
“They don’t necessarily push us to know certain facts,” Semeon explains. “They try to change how we think.”
This “outside the box” thinking was a valuable asset as Semeon communicated to managers and top-level Under Armour executives throughout his internship.
“I had to be comfortable speaking about whatever was on my mind or whatever would contribute to the overall objective, ” Semeon says.
Throughout the Under Armour process, Semeon learned key lessons about fitting in and standing out.
“I feel like people get caught up in the experience and just try to fit into the mold of the position they are in,” Semeon said. “But after you know where you fit, bring some individuality.”
His advice to people looking to succeed in this type of environment would be, “Don’t be afraid to be yourself, have your own mindset and be willing to learn.”
Auburn strives to provide all students with every opportunity to practice these principles.
“There are boatloads of opportunities here,” Semeon said. “There should be no reason why anybody says, ‘No, I can’t do this.’”
Semeon gives Auburn all the credit for where he is.
“I think about it all the time, how lucky I am that I chose to come here and everything that this school has given me,” he says.
Semeon saw his work pay off with the ultimate reward, a full-time job, and will start to work with Under Armour’s global operations department beginning in July 2017.
“I don’t know exactly what I will be doing, but I know I will be committed 100 percent,” Semeon states.
No matter where his endeavors take him, Auburn, through opportunity and preparation, will forever be a major factor to Semeon’s success.
“Auburn gives you everything,” Semeon says. “It’s just what you do with it.”