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SFA Alum, Kirk Gaddy, shares his experience from The Under Armour Career Combine Experience

The Under Armour Career Combine Experience

By: Kirk Gaddy (University of Baltimore)

Ever since I was in high school I’ve known that I want to work for a great company that is changing the world and making people feel better about themselves. I was introduced to Under Armour in an unlikely way. I was the manager for the St. Frances Academy varsity boys’ basketball team, which was sponsored by Under Armour. One of the reasons I fell in love with UA was that we were receiving so much great sports apparel. UA really spoiled us and I was loving it. Being the manager meant I received everything the players did and I felt blessed to receive it. When I wore UA outfits to high school it made me feel different; I felt more energetic, confident, and it was a great feeling to have it on.

One day at practice I met Mr. Michael Hawthorne who works in the footwear department at UA. He had brought brand new shoes for us to try on for the company and I was fascinated by the idea. I believe it was because we were trying on shoes that hadn’t even hit the market yet. After practice I asked what he did for the company and after our conversation I knew what I wanted to do with my life. I saw the passion and the excitement he had for the company in that conversation. I said to myself in that moment, any company that makes you feel better inside and out is a company I would love to work for. From that day on, I set a goal to find a career at a company that does just that.

My high school baseball coach, Brain Boles, knew that I wanted to work for Under Armour. Coach Boles has really been a great mentor for me throughout the years and we have kept in touch as I have progressed through my undergraduate studies at the University of Baltimore. Coach Boles sent me an email a couple of months ago telling me that Under Armour was having its first career combine that this was the opportunity I’d been waiting for. I applied, went through the application process and was accepted. The combine was only for three days, but within those three days my life was changed. They were literally the best days of my life because it was just a great experience and the passion I’ve had for the company since high school made the experience even more exciting.  My classmate from high school, Harold Myles, Southern University senior, had also been accepted to the program and we were able to experience it together.  We met employees of the company, from designers to lawyers to other company employees in various fields. In each presentation the love for the company was palpable and it was just amazing to see the pride and joy each individual had in the brand. During the combine we were split into teams and each team had to create a product. Every team did an outstanding job, and you could tell each team put their best effort in every product. We also had a chance to network and make connections with everyone and the staff team taught us the importance of making sure our résumés represented us well, and helped us prepare for interviews.

This experience has prepared me for the future. I am just thankful for the opportunity I had because many people don’t get to have an experience like this, especially with a company like Under Armour. It taught so much in three days, I can only imagine what it will teach me in a lifetime. This program impacted every participant. One of the things that stood out to me was Under Armour’s 4 Pillars of Greatness which are: Make a great product, Tell a great story, Provide great service, and Build a great team. In life we all want to do great things and tell that one story that can change people’s lives.  The question we have to ask ourselves is will you, and I WILL.