The MBA Hub

MBA Electives: The Athletic and Outdoor Industry

Dr. Lauren BeitelspacherDr. Lauren Beitelspacher

Did you know there are more than 800 active and outdoor companies in Portland?

Well, neither did I until I took Dr. Lauren Beitelspacher’s course, "Competitive Dynamics in the Active and Outdoor Industry," this semester!

This course, offered as an MBA elective, is a great example of why I chose the Portland State MBA program. I really value the school’s connection to the business community, and its strong relationships to important local companies like Nike, Columbia Sportswear and adidas. In fact, many of my fellow students come to Portland State with the intention of working in the active and outdoor industry because of the concentration of these companies in the Portland area.

Dr. B., as she is known by her students, is the Director of the new undergraduate certificate program in the active and outdoor industry. While the certificate itself isn’t available to graduate students, the courses in the program can count as MBA electives, which is great news if you are interested in working in the industry.

The program's courses are centered around the unique aspects of marketing, retailing, and product development in the industry. The two main courses unique to the program are Competitive Dynamics in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry and Channels Management in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry.

Why are courses that highlight the active and outdoor industry so important?

“The Portland Development Commission has identified the Athletic and Outdoor Industry as one of the top growth opportunities for Portland and the surrounding region,” Dr. B. explains. “The PDC is committed to recruiting new A&O companies to Portland because of the resources, customers, industry contacts, and most importantly, the employee talent. In line with the University's mission 'to let knowledge serve the city,' the Athletic and Outdoor program at Portland State is designed to develop students for careers in the A&O industry and enhance Portland’s talent pool.” 

During Spring term, MBA students can take the next elective in the series, Channels Management in the Athletic and Outdoor Industry, taught by Nike executive, Grant Barth. Grant is the Global Leader of Outerwear/Outdoor Apparel at Nike and has extensive experience taking products from concept to finished product.

“Both courses provide students with opportunities to learn from industry leaders,” says Dr. B. “The courses are highly participatory involving multiple presentations, case studies, and interactions with speakers. Courses in this area are designed to explore unique challenges within the industry from both the manufacturers’ and retailers’ perspectives. The primary goals of the program are to provide students with a unique learning experience preparing them for careers in the field and to develop strategic partnerships with our community to enhance the athletic and outdoor curriculum and student experience.”

The course's featured speakers have definitely been a highlight for me. Dr. B. has recruited senior executives from Nike, adidas, Columbia, Keen and Icebreaker — just to name a few! These interactions gave me invaluable insight into what it's like to work in this growing industry.

Click here to learn more about the Portland State MBA program and its full time, part time and online options.

Click here to read more about the Portland State MBA's U.S. News & World Report ranking (Top 100).

Click here to read more posts about the Portland State MBA curriculum.

Click here to read more posts about the MBA program's connections to the regional business community.


By Mallory Miller: Mallory has experience in marketing, management and sales. She plans to apply her experience, interests, and skills to a career in product marketing and business development. She will graduate from the Portland State full time MBA program in June 2013. You can connect with Mallory on LinkedIn.


Tags: A&O, Business Connections, electives, executive roundtable, MBA, Nike

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About the Blog

Portland State's MBA program has earned numerous accolades, including a 2011-12 Beyond Grey Pinstripes Report rating of #1 in the world — for small schools — for its emphasis on environmental stewardship.