Swarbrick talks about Under Armour deal with graduate business alums

Author: Christine Cox

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A packed house of Mendoza graduate business alumni learned about the business side of Irish sports when Notre Dame Athletics Director Jack Swarbrick ’76 spoke about the University’s new partnership with Under Armour. The ticketed event was held at the Chicago Commons on May 19.

“It was really interesting to see how the skills from the MBA program relate directly to this deal and to learn what the Athletics Department goes through in negotiating deals,” says organizer Holly Hermes (MBA ’12). “He told some great stories about the negotiation process, which was especially interesting because we took a negotiations class in the MBA program. It was fascinating to apply it in this context. And it was interesting to hear how he thought through his strategy.”

Dillon Murphy (MBA ’06) came up with the idea to invite Swarbrick and was responsible for working out the details. “He was a perfect fit,” Murphy says. “We figured the event would resonate with a broader audience because everybody likes business and sports. Plus, Under Armour is such a young brand; I thought it would really appeal to younger alums.”

Murphy is a fan of Under Armour as well. “They’re doing things that are so different from a traditional company,” he says. “They have a growth mentality without a cap for their expectations. Under Armour is a great counterpoint to Notre Dame’s tradition and size.”

The 10-year shoe and apparel contract begins July 1, replacing the University’s contract with adidas.

Hermes said the event gave momentum to the Chicago graduate business alumni gatherings that she and a few others have been coordinating this year. “Graduate students have a little bit of a different experience than undergrads,” she says. “We want to keep a strong connection and felt we needed some of our own events. These gatherings are definitely striking a chord and filling a need.”

Two more events are being planned this year. Those interested in attending future events can contact Hermes at hollylhermes@gmail.com or Murphy at dillon.murphy@vokalinteractive.com.