Winning sales team members (left to right): Megan Leppez, Sharmayne Ford, sales team coach Semira Amirpour, Maria Araujo and Jawwad Baig
The Professional Sales program at the Naveen Jindal School of Management has been named a top program for preparing students for professional selling careers by a nonprofit foundation that promotes the sales profession through higher education.
The Sales Education Foundation (SEF), which just released its annual list of “Top University Sales Programs,” recognizes sales programs for preparing and placing top talent in professional selling roles, a distinction that helps attract national companies to campus to recruit Jindal School students into prime sales jobs.
Sally Stevens, executive director of SEF, said that companies have an increased focus on partnering with university sales program. “With a proven track record for producing top sales talent, the future of university sales education is brighter than ever.”
Only a year old, the Jindal School’s sales program already has produced several winners in collegiate competitions. Most recently, a team of four students placed second overall in the Western States Collegiate Sales Competition (WSCSC), the only multi-university sales competition in the western United States. While all members of the team – Megan Leppez, Jawwad Baig, Sharmayne Ford and Maria Araujo, who are marketing students – placed in the top three for at least one event, Leppez achieved a second-place finish overall in the contest.
“I think we were successful because we took it very seriously, we wanted to do our best, to leave it all in the room and bring home the win,” Leppez, who is planning to graduate in December 2014, said.
The WSCSC, held at California State University, Chico, consisted of live sales scenarios, including 12-minute “role plays” and prerecorded sales presentations for Frito-Lay and TekSystems, which were judged by a panel of recruiters.
Juniors Ford and Baig placed second and third, respectively, for their prerecorded Frito-Lay sales pitches, while Araujo, a senior, placed third in the TakSystems role play. Baig took home additional honors for placing third in the live Frito-Lay role play.
“This competition is a great testament of our students’ skills,” said program director Howard Dover. “The best way to prepare students to be successful in the art of sales is to put them under pressure, which is exactly what competitions like WSCSC do.”
Leppez attributes tireless research and preparation, as well as solid teamwork, for the team’s win. She also credits the team’s coach, Semira Amirpour, and Dr. Dover for their training and support, helping lead the team to victory.
“Dr. Dover certainly laid the groundwork for all of us and made us so much more comfortable in these kinds of situations by having many opportunities to be surrounded by important people all semester long,” Leppez said.