2017 NIU College of Business Outstanding Young Alumnus
Senior Coordinator, Global Partnerships for the National Basketball Association (NBA), Zach Fiegel, is a self-proclaimed “sports junkie” who began living boldly while at NIU. The 2014 marketing alumnus navigated through his NIU career with various mantras that energized and inspired him. A few, “to live each day with heart, hustle, and muscle” and to “do WORK” became well known among his peers. Fiegel says following these mantras led him to be proactive, take that first step, and explore.
Along with earning minors in finance and social entrepreneurship while at NIU, Fiegel was president and co-founder of the Collegiate Association of Unreasonable Social Entrepreneurs (CAUSE). Over its first two years of existence, NIU’s first social enterprise focused student organization raised over $17,000, which was used to provide educational and experiential learning opportunities around social entrepreneurship, fund a scholarship, launch an annual conference and make investments in impact organizations.
Keeping the spirit of boldness alive, Fiegel applied blindly for a summer internship with the NBA, an organization whose interns and new hires tend to hail from Ivy League schools. Fiegel landed the internship and afterwards applied for, and was accepted into, their New York-based associate program, the first step towards an NBA management career. The experience took him from the NBA’s New York City offices to California and Berlin. After completing the year-long associate program, Fiegel accepted a position in the league’s Global Merchandising Group as an Associate Coordinator in Licensing, where he joined a team focused on growing the NBA’s consumer products businesses. Over time, his focus changed to building a new landscape of apparel, headwear and sporting goods partnerships around the shift of on-court outfitters from adidas to Nike.
Most recently, Fiegel earned the position of Senior Coordinator, Global Partnerships and now focuses on a mix of business development and working with the NBA’s on-court apparel and headwear partners like Nike, New Era, Under Armour, Fanatics and Mitchell & Ness.
Fiegel says any accomplishments he’s achieved to date are a direct result of the support his family has provided since day one, most notably his parents, who made incredible sacrifices to give him the opportunities they never had. He says his four younger siblings inspire and motivate him more than they will ever know, and that throughout his journey, his desire to be a strong, positive role model for them has been a huge driver.