May 24, 2018

May 24, 2018


Jindal School Students Land Recognition, Jobs at Sales Competitions

JSOM Sales Competition

From left: Jessie Richardson, Abbey Hagin and Dr. Howard Dover, director of the Jindal School’s professional sales concentration, stand with Wise, a recently acquired sculpture in the Jindal School courtyard. Richardson and Hagin, marketing seniors, finished second at a sales competition in Florida.

Collegiate sales competitions are helping UT Dallas students not only bring home trophies but also — and even more valuable — job offers from companies looking for top talent.

Last fall, Naveen Jindal School of Management students Jessie Richardson and Abbey Hagin finished second in the Sales Management Case Competition portion of the International Collegiate Sales Competition hosted by Florida State University. Both marketing seniors also earned job offers.

“The networking was impeccable,” said Hagin, who transferred to the Jindal School for its sales program. She said she returned from the competition with a fistful of business cards.

Dr. Howard Dover, director of the Jindal School’s professional sales concentration, said students coming out of JSOM sales courses are quickly finding jobs before graduation and are showing average earnings of $68,000 their first year.

“Everybody sells, but very few are trained,” he said.

Technical sales and sales management positions are among the hardest to fill, according to a 2014 report from Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project.

A recent article in The Wall Street Journal said employers spent an average of 41 days trying to fill technical sales jobs, compared with an average of 33 days for all jobs for the 12-month period ending in September 2014. The article also said the median annual wage is up to $74,970 in 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

JSOM Sales Competition

Semiramis Amirpour (left), a Jindal School senior lecturer in marketing, said students RaeAnn El-Asha (center) and Megan Leppez were offered jobs upon graduation as a result of being part of the sales program at UT Dallas. 

Dover said intercollegiate sales competitions are designed to fill such jobs, typically featuring elevator speeches — short pitches delivered in the time it takes to complete an elevator ride — and product sales pitches.

During their Florida competition, Richardson and Hagin developed plans for a fictional beauty supply company that wanted to spend $1 million to double its sales. The students’ plans involved hiring additional sales representatives, visiting major clients and instituting a noncompete clause for the company’s sales team.

The competitions are judged by executives, rather than academics. Dover said executives know top talent will be at these events. “Table talks” at each competition allow students to meet with corporate representatives outside the competition, giving them a chance to discuss employment opportunities.

Competitions are a great opportunity for students because they get to interact with corporate representatives, said Semiramis Amirpour, a marketing faculty member who accompanied another JSOM team to the National Sales Challenge last fall at William Paterson University in New Jersey.

She said students are transformed from being nervous – even shaking and crying – to talking to the corporate representatives by the end of the day.

Everybody sells, but very few are trained.

Dr. Howard Dover,
director of the Jindal School's professional sales concentration

Jasmine Chipps, a JSOM business administration senior, finished third at the William Paterson University competition for speed selling. She and RaeAnn El-Asha, a marketing senior who graduated last semester, also placed 16th overall among the 40 universities participating.

El-Asha and the team’s student coach, Megan Leppez, who also graduated with a bachelor’s degree in marketing last semester, were both offered jobs upon graduation as a result of being part of the sales program, Amirpour said.

“Megan attended another competition last year in California, and she was ranked No. 2 out of 44 competitors,” Amirpour said. “The case for that competition was Frito-Lay, and after the competition, she was offered her current position (at Frito-Lay), which started right after graduation.

“RaeAnn is working with CA Technologies and pursuing her MBA here at UT Dallas.”

Amirpour said it is imperative for business majors to learn best practices in sales.

“At least 60 percent of all business students will be in some sort of sales,” she said.

About 80 percent of marketing majors will be involved in sales of some kind and should take at least one sales class, Dover said.

“There are misconceptions about sales,” Dover said. He said students often have a narrow idea of the kinds of sales they might be involved in, but their studies quickly broaden their definitions about what kinds of work their future careers could entail.

This story was reported and written by freelance contributor Jeanne Spreier.

Media Contact: Kris Imherr, Naveen Jindal School of Management, (972) 883-4793, [email protected]
or the Office of Media Relations, UT Dallas, (972) 883-2155, [email protected]

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