Sales students from the Naveen Jindal School of Management recently earned the new top honor at the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ISCS), the Collegiate World Cup of Sales.
Competitors came from about 80 universities in the United States, Canada and Europe to Orlando, Fla., for the three-day event Nov. 6-9. Jindal School students accumulated the most overall points, which earned them the cup in the new team competition.
Hosted annually by Florida State University, the ICSC puts students in real-life sales situations in front of judges from well-known companies from around the country
“Just like it is rare for teams to win that competition, let alone make it to the Sweet 16 or Final Four, we had all of our team members make both the semifinals and the finals. The ICSC is the largest collegiate competition in the world, and we have competed since its inception. We have usually placed in the top 10, but the UTD sales program has never had a finalist in this competition prior to this event.”
JSOM’s role-play team members included Ashton Murray, a marketing senior who placed second in the finals, and Karianna Barreto, a marketing junior who placed fourth. The role-play event was a four-round tournament-style competition that put teams in a complex selling situation and required them to find a solution that led to a final purchase decision.
Vathsalya Senapathi, a global business senior, and Taylor Barrington, a business administration senior, took second place in the sales-management case finals. The competition included a three-round tournament-style event. In the first round, teams were given a specific sales-management situation at a company and asked to present a solution. In subsequent rounds, they were questioned about their solution’s feasibility and were challenged with an issue related to its implementation.
JSOM was the only school to have teams in both role-play and case and to see all its teams in the finals. Students had trained for ISCS since September, meeting weekly with their coach, Senior Marketing Lecturer Semiramis Amirpour, and on their own.
“In addition to having a full schedule of classes, these students also work part time,” said Amirpour, who has coached students for the International Collegiate Sales Competition for six years. “Preparation is rough. People who haven’t done it don’t understand how much work is involved.”
One of the things Amirpour likes about these kinds of competitions is the transformation she sees in the students. “They mature,” she said, “and they become professionals.”
“I believe that the way we trained this time made the difference,” Barrington said. “We were focused. When they announced we had all made it to the finals, we hugged, took pictures and went right back to work.”
Two students, Sophia Maloney, a computer engineering junior, and Kameron Jong, a marketing sophomore, served as ambassadors who helped team competitors.
“They helped us a lot,” said Barreto. “They did everything from research to bringing us water, whatever we needed.”
For Senapathi, one of the most amazing things about the event was the level of competition. “All of the universities were incredibly prepared,” she said, “but JSOM’s sales program gives us what we need to compete, and we were well-prepared as well.”
Despite being confident in their abilities, team members can find competition stressful, and dealing with their nerves was a challenge, said Murray. “It helped that during our preparations we were really tough on each other so we knew we were prepared. We expected to do well, although we didn’t expect to do this well.”
— Glenda Vosburgh