Madison Odam ’24 is honest. Before accepting a summer internship with Boston-based New Balance, she knew little more about the up-and-coming brand than that it struck a deal with NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard. After spending two months on the company’s campus in Brighton, the Babson women’s basketball player walked away with a far greater appreciation for the people behind the brand and an understanding of how to apply what she has learned at Babson to the real world.
As one of three interns—and the only one focused on product management—in New Balance’s team sports division, Odam learned about creating uniforms. “Product management is a very iterative process, and what makes New Balance special is the customer always comes first every step of the way,” she says. “Beginning with each product you see, we figure out what materials are needed, develop a prototype, and once that is passed, produce a sample that can be tested and adjusted based on feedback.”
Odam’s internship strengthened the connection between Babson and New Balance, which jointly announced a new relationship and an apparel deal with current provider BSN SPORTS as well as several additional ancillary benefits. Babson is the first Division III institution to sign with the multinational sports footwear and apparel manufacturer.
At New Balance, Odam also tried her hand at analyzing the market in a fast-paced environment. “We looked at which products were selling well and provided information to the sales team,” she says. “One of the things I took away from the experience is the importance of relationships with manufacturers because you have to get samples fast and at a good price point.”
Odam’s internship culminated with analyzing all of the product offerings at New Balance. “I played the role of a consultant and analyzed the product offerings to see which markets were growing and suggest where (the company) should continue to invest marketing and product development resources,” she says. “I also considered macroeconomic factors such as inflation and how it would affect the supply chain, allowing me to apply what I’ve learned at Babson.”
For Odam, who now plans to concentrate in finance and strategy and consulting, the biggest takeaway from her time at New Balance was that great people make great companies. “Everyone was so welcoming, and it was such an inclusive environment,” Odam says. “The team sports division is a family within New Balance, and they made me feel involved in every process.”
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