Student Story: Jerome Lai

Meet Jerome Lai, the lucky guy who got his seat at our Digital Data Strategist program funded by adidas last year.

adidas has partnered with us on various projects for several years. Last year our collaboration deepened through a scholarship called the Fellowship for Future Data Talents, where adidas funded a seat for one of our students.

The scholarship was open for all international students applying to the Digital Data Strategist program in Stockholm last year. We sat down with Jerome Lai, the talented guy who managed to lock down the scholarship.

Tell us about yourself and how you ended up at Hyper Island? A long time ago I decided to take a degree in accounting, my decision was mainly driven by my interest in analysing large sets of numbers and data. Taking a degree in accounting did however not exactly satisfy my thirst for problem-solving.

I did barely have time to start a career in accounting before I was introduced to a brilliant and talented Interactive Art Director student from Hyper Island who at the time was doing his internship in New York. I immediately saw the knowledge, courage and humble confidence that he had attained during his time at Hyper Island and by interning in the Big Apple. After that moment I knew I had to attend Hyper. I had to meet more of these people. If one of them could impress me so deeply, how would it be to meet 200 of them?

Other than that, I chose to apply to Hyper Island for two reasons:

  1. Hyper Island is the only creative school out there that blurs the line between business, design and creative concept development. Every student is expected to understand businesses as a whole.

  2. Industry leaders and renowned agencies regularly send their brightest to Master Classes and workshops at Hyper Island, I think that says a lot about the school.

Tell us about the adidas Scholarship how did you get it? adidas gave a brief to everyone applying for the scholarship that went like this:

"Describe what impact you aim to bring to the market of data driven strategy if you were to receive the scholarship from adidas and thereby attend the Digital Data Strategist program.”

When I applied for the scholarship, I was freelancing for a film production agency, helping them with their business development. One of the problems many of their clients faced when putting content out on the web, especially video content, was justifying the exposure they got versus the cost of producing it. I prepared a concept and a case video, a visualised cost management system, to track the ROI of their YouTube content, and of course this was targeted at the independent film-maker or video-blogger.

The adidas Digital Experience team in Amsterdam seemed satisfied with my idea and they offered me the scholarship. I was stunned for a good 10 minutes.

What are you working with today? How did you end up there? I’ve actually just started a career at adidas as a Business Analyst in the Digital Experience team in Nürnberg, Germany. My main focus is consumer insights, or more specifically: social analytics. This involves the analysis of data via a myriad of tools and platforms to assist the marketing and activation teams in data-driven decisions and also the tracking of KPIs after the campaigns have rolled out. Today, it is imperative to gauge the success of your campaigns and to continuously tweak and improveme everything that you do.

Anything else you want to tell us? I have worked for companies with more than 175 000 employees worldwide, but I’ve never been in a more global atmosphere than during my adidas x Hyper Island experience.

Finally the most important question: would you rather fight one horse-sized duck or 100 duck-sized horses? Data-driven answer: Well, a simple google search indicates that both opponents would be pretty much harmless and/or die quickly due to physiological inefficiencies.

Gut feeling: Horse-sized duck. If I’d rather be pecked to death by a giant duck than trampled by 400 tiny hooves.

“This collaboration with Hyper Island gave us the perfect opportunity to tap into their unique pool of digital natives. To be part of shaping and nurturing the next generation interactive talent is of great importance to us here at adidas. Data is the key to understanding the behavioural changes that come with emerging technologies and having someone like Jerome, with his innovative skill-set, to help strengthen our Digital Experience team is great. We are very happy to have him onboard” says Kris Ekman - adidas Global Brand Marketing.