Marketing Student Triumphs in Two Sales Competitions


UT Dallas team places second at Toldeo invitational, where member MaKayla Forsberg earns top sophomore title.

Luis Hall-Valdez and MaKayla Forsberg

Computer engineering senior Luis Hall-Valdez (left), last winner of the Sales Cup, presents it to MaKayla Forsberg after her top role-play selling performance at the Jindal School’s Pro Sales Challenge in March.

Naveen Jindal School of Management marketing major MaKayla Forsberg, recently earned top awards in two sales competitions. She picked up the Sales Cup in JSOM’s spring Pro Sales Challenge after being named top competitor in the in the sophomore/freshman division at the University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition in Ohio.

The UT Dallas team placed second in a field of 30 universities at the invitational in late February, a two-and-a-half-day event that included a career fair and a networking reception that gave student competitors an opportunity to meet sponsoring company representatives. Forsberg’s top sophomore designation is the second in a row for a Jindal School competitor. Last year, Sam Konings, also a marketing major, brought home the title.

Back at UT Dallas, Forsberg won the Sales Cup competing against five other finalists in the final day of the two-day competition that the Jindal School’s Center for Professional Sales ran in late March. Judges said Forsberg showed great presence, calm and good insight in the role-play portion of the challenge.

Ashley Varela

Ashley Varela

Dr. Howard Dover, director of the Center for Professional Sales, said this year the Pro Sales Challenge focus shifted away from role-play selling only.

“By introducing social selling to our program, our students not only had to be able to do a sales call and a trade show, they needed to show they had developed prospecting skills and social selling skills,” he said. “Being the top student in every category is quite an accomplishment.”

That honor, Pro Sales Overall winner, went to junior healthcare management major Ashley Varela. She is the first healthcare management major to take sales courses.

At JSOM, Varela earned a trophy and Forsberg had her name added to the giant Sales Cup namesake of the role-play competition. In Toledo, she earned a $1,000 cash prize and a Tom James Company sport jacket.

Although a Jindal School junior, she competed in the UTISC freshman/sophomore division based on the number of higher education hours she had earned going into the tournament. JSOM junior sales student Brian Hanks placed fourth in the junior division at UTISC.

Dr. Howard Dover, Brian Hanks, MaKayla Forsberg, Cameron Allen

The UT Dallas team in Toledo (l to r): Dr. Howard Dover, Brian Hanks, MaKayla Forsberg, Cameron Allen

In the first two rounds, UTISC competitors gave presentations based on hypothetical sales scenarios provided to them in advance. They received the scenario for the third round when it began.

“The scenario we were given called for us to sell a special kind of tape that is used in the construction of a number of things including buses and trucks, TVs, elevators, ovens, signage, smartphones and golf clubs. We had to sell to signage companies, design engineers, production managers, production mangers, purchasing managers and a surprise CEO,” Forsberg said.

Students were judged on a variety of factors, including their introduction, product demonstration and needs assessment.

Forsberg attended the competition last year as an alternate, so she knew in general what to expect in this year’s competition.

“Most schools send two students,” she said. “My partner, Brian Hanks, and I worked hard on training for about eight weeks before the competition.”