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Getting in Athletes’ Heads: A Talk with Under Armour

By Sydney Ouellette

Ryan Kuehl, MBA ‘07, vice president of Under Armour's sports marketing, talks to students.

Ryan Kuehl, MBA ‘07, vice president of Under Armour's sports marketing, talks to students.

Kogod's newest club, AU Sports Business Society, hosted an evening with Under Armour featuring Ryan Kuehl, MBA '07, vice president of sports marketing and Katie Turner, BSBA '09, customer service manager. They spoke to a packed room of undergraduate and graduate students about their journeys through Under Armour, and the sports clothing and accessories company.

Kuehl, who is no stranger to the sports industry, started his career playing professional football for the NFL's San Francisco 49ers. After retiring in 2007, Under Armour hired Kuehl to work in sports marketing.

Reflecting on his time spent in the MBA program at Kogod, Kuehl said the most important takeaway was critical thinking.

"Undergrad teaches what to think, and MBA teaches you how to think...My being here and being involved in a global class, has helped me learn from a lot of different perspectives," Kuehl said.

Realizing his potential, he described his attitude to being similar to everyone at Under Armour saying, "If the map is different than the terrain, follow the terrain."

As a united front, Kuehl believed that the company resonates as a team, working with offensive and defensive strategies along with the familiarity of treating everyone as teammates. In reference to his 'teammates' Kuehl said, "going at it hard all the time takes a certain individual to be there...They all have the smarts but more importantly, they have the passion." By matching their work ethic to the energy and enthusiasm of the Under Armour brand, they are able to go above and beyond their expectations.

Students jumped at the opportunity to ask questions about Kuehl and Turner's work, sports, players, and Under Armour’s future and strategies. Kuehl believes that it's only up from here as Under Armour continues to expand globally as well as becoming the front end of health and wellness.