The first weekend in March, two undergraduate CBA students, Jamie Dick (Senior, Marketing) and Alex Earll (Junior, Marketing), traveled to Atlanta, GA with their faculty coach, Dr. Scott Friend (Asst. Professor of Marketing) to compete in the 13th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC). The competition hosted some 122 of the nation’s top sales students and was hosted by the Coles College of Business at Kennesaw State University. Each of the 61 universities is allotted two positions to represent their school in the undergraduate competition. This was the University of Nebraska- Lincoln’s (UNL) first time attending the competition. The competition is organized as follows:
Students are granted a hypothetical sales case months prior to the competition and they are to assume the position of a sales representative for NetSuite, a web-based Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software, for the initial sales call. Each student has 20 minutes to present their product to the prospective buyer outlined in the case. The sales role-plays are recorded and graded by a panel of industry judges who evaluate the student’s ability to identify needs, present the CRM system, overcome objections and close the prospect. Students advance through a series of rounds until a winner is determined. Jamie Dick stated, “To compete against highly talented students in sales across the nation was an incredible experience! Receiving feedback from industry leaders was tremendously valuable to me as I prepare to launch my career.” Both UNL students advanced to the Wild-Card round.
In addition to the sales competition, Jamie and Alex took advantage of the networking opportunities with academics, top-tier students and recruiters from around the nation. Based on the high-level of students and their specified interest in a career in sales, the NCSC hosts an extremely active sales career fair, including companies such as Xerox, Verizon, FedEx and Johnson & Johnson. Terry Loe, Director of the Center for Professional Selling at Kennesaw State University, expected about 70% of the participating students to get a job as a result of competing. Alex Earll states, “The career fair at the competition was phenomenal. It was great to see employers actively trying to find new (sales) employees for their organizations.”
The NCSC is the world’s largest collegiate sales competition and received national coverage this year from Fox News. Dr. Friend, who teaches MRKT 357: Professional Selling, was involved in the competition as a coach with Georgia State University (GSU), and upon starting the sales class at UNL was excited to get the university involved. The role-play at the competition mirrors the final project in the Professional Selling course and the two students, along with Tyler Finken (Senior, Marketing – Alternate) were selected to represent UNL based on their in-class performance. The corporate sponsorships support student and faculty advisor travel and accommodations to Atlanta, as well as the students were exposed to months of small group training in preparation for the event.
Overall, the competition is a great resume builder, as well as an opportunity to network, receive a high level of training and feedback and extend the learning done within the MRKT 357 course.