Taking the Bull by the horns

Northeastern University senior Jeff Sayles II has earned one of five highly competitive sports marketing internships at Red Bull, edging out more than 1,400 other student applicants nationwide. He’ll start work with the global energy-drink company after his graduation in May.

The opportunity originally caught Sayles’ attention as he was surfing Facebook, and he recalled his personal philosophy: “Live for today, dream for tomorrow.” The architecture major planned to pursue his master’s degree in the same area; but with the current state of the economy, he began exploring other potential fields.

Inspired, Sayles entered the internship process despite a lack of traditional business or marketing experience. “I was a wild card,” he said.

Sayles said Northeastern prepared him for his new challenge by enabling him to grow creatively and develop transferrable skills. Maria Stein, the university’s director of career services, said students are exposed to a wide variety of experiences at Northeastern that help them to tap into their personalities, discover how to utilize their skills more broadly and pursue new opportunities.

“We want Northeastern students to learn how to manage their careers by looking ahead, figuring out the next step, taking what they have and bringing it to the next level,” Stein said. “We want them to own their careers and professional lives.”

Throughout the competitive application process, Sayles tapped into his innate creativity and skills honed in his architecture studies. When asked to create a business plan in a later stage of the competition, he took advantage of his multifaceted interests and personality to develop a fundraiser that combined women’s extreme snow sports, breast-cancer awareness, a concert and social media to build a fan base and foster a team environment.

Sayles ultimately stood out for his comfort level presenting in front of peers, his ability to show his ideas visually and his acumen in planning out an idea and pitching himself as a businessman.

His strong work ethic also came into play. Sayles was part of a student group charged with creating a motto and building inspiration around the Red Bull brand as part of a 24-hour challenge. The team incorporated the slogan “Share your dream, wear your dream” to urge other Boston-area college students to pen their aspirations and inspirations on a 10-foot-tall mobile structure the team created. Sayles’ group also created a promotional video of its experiences.

“You’re willing to put in the extra time and push yourself when you have a passion for what you’re doing,” Sayles said. In May, he will move either to Santa Monica, Calif., or New York City to work on Red Bull’s worldwide, large-scale promotional events.