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Solidcore Taps UVA Business School To Prep Students for Fitness Careers
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Solidcore Taps UVA Business School To Prep Students for Fitness Careers

The Pilates-inspired brand is linking up with the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce in a partnership that could redefine – and further professionalize – the business of fitness 

Summer break may have just kicked off, but Solidcore is ready to inspire business students this coming fall and tap into young minds to support its strategic goals.

The Pilates-inspired boutique fitness brand (officially branded as [solidcore]) has been named a corporate sponsor of the Integrated Core Experience (ICE), an undergraduate program at the University of Virginia’s McIntire School of Commerce.

The move makes Solidcore the first fitness company to engage college students interested in pursuing the business of fitness with a project of this scope, according to the boutique fitness brand.

Solidcore says the project will tackle one of the many growth levers that its business has ahead and the plan is to use the students’ work as critical input into its decision-making process. In preparation for the upcoming fall semester, Solicore and UVA faculty are currently working together on a curriculum and approach for the students. The topic will be revealed to students this fall.

“The project isn’t hypothetical – it’s real – and we’re excited about how it will help students develop critical problem-solving and teamwork skills that will carry over into their future in the corporate world,” Solidcore vice president of strategy and insights Gillian Almeida explained. 

Gillian Almeida (credit: Solidcore)

Third-year McIntire students will engage with Solidcore throughout the semester. The project culminates in presentations in December, where student teams outline solutions to real-world business matters. 

“The students will provide a fresh perspective to opportunities that we see ahead in the business and we can’t wait to see the way their collective minds tackle the case studies to help fuel Solidcore’s strategic growth,” Almeida added.

credit: [solidcore]

A New Era in the Business of Fitness

Solidcore president and CEO Bryan Myers says the fitness brand has been engaging with the University of Virginia for some time, albeit in less formal ways.

“When the opportunity came along for us to formalize and amplify the partnership, we were really excited to do so,” he said. “As a University of Virginia McIntire School of Commerce alumnus myself (class of 2009), having the opportunity to come full circle and work with the students in the Integrated Core Experience (ICE) program means a lot. We are thrilled to partner with faculty and teach the students about the business of fitness while gaining their unique insights and perspective from their education.”

Bryan Myers (credit: Solidcore)

The partnership could represent a transformative shift in the fitness industry. Myers hopes that students will discover that there are viable paths to building a sustainable and rewarding career in the industry and suspects that business students will increasingly seek out opportunities on the corporate teams of fitness companies.

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“For so long, the fitness industry has been perceived to be exclusively for recreation and not a place to build a real career,” Myers said. “However, the fitness industry is a multi-billion dollar economic powerhouse and contributes over 400,000 jobs to the country, per the Health & Fitness Association.”

“Given the broader macro trend of individuals investing more in their health and wellness after the pandemic, we only expect this to grow, and the health of our industry will be dependent on great talent finding a home within it,” he added.

Expansion Underway

Nearly halfway through 2024, Solidcore has already enjoyed an incredible period of growth and is settling into its new, custom-designed headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. Solidcore already has more than 100 studios open nationwide and is on pace to open 25 new studios this calendar year alone.

credit: Solidcore

In May, Reuters reported that Solidcore is mulling a possible sale that could value the brand at over $750 million, including debt. Solidcore founder and fitness entrepreneur Anne Mahlum sold the Pilates-inspired brand in early 2023 for nearly $90 million in a move that saw investment firm Kohlberg & Company take over along with existing investor VMG Partners.

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