UA’s Fisher Institute Welcomes Premier Corporate Partners

03/18/2014

The prestigious Ronald R. and Diane C. Fisher Institute for Professional Selling in the College of Business Administration at The University of Akron recently welcomed six Premier Corporate Partners. The partners – Henry Schein Dental, Northwestern Mutual, MRI Software, Ohio CAT, The J. M. Smucker Company, and Richard J. Fasenmyer International Corporation – have significantly expanded their existing relationships with the Fisher Institute to benefit both the corporations and UA students.

Gifts from Premier Corporate Partners helped fund the renovation of the Fisher Institute's Sales Skills Practice Laboratory, which is integral to developing students for successful careers in professional selling.

Premier Corporate Partners make an annual monetary commitment for the opportunity to interact with UA sales students, provide feedback on the sales curriculum, and recruit the next generation of sales and business development professionals from among graduates who major or minor in sales management or earn a sales certificate. In return, UA students receive mentorship and guidance from some of the top sales forces in the country and have tremendous employment and experience opportunities, ranging from internships and summer jobs to full-time sales positions upon graduation.

Each corporation also made an additional gift to the Fisher Institute (required of Premier Corporate Partners every five years) to fund an initiative. In this case, the gifts were used for a significant renovation of the Fisher Institute’s Sales Skills Practice Laboratory, which greatly enhances the student experience. Constructed to develop students for successful careers in professional selling, the lab features six skills practice rooms outfitted with state-of-the-art, high-definition, cloud-based video recording equipment that enables students, faculty, and corporate partners to review sales call and negotiations performances, with a view to improving overall selling and communication skills.

“We are thrilled to be an officially recognized Premier Corporate Partner of the Fisher Institute and directly contribute to the education and preparation of the next generation of sales professionals,” said Ron Kolz, chief sales officer at MRI Software. “The Fisher Institute’s innovative approach has consistently and effectively prepared students for real-world success, and MRI is excited to create memorable internship experiences and play an integral role in shaping student careers.”

The Fisher Institute and UA students are equally thrilled about the partnerships. “From our perspective and based on feedback from our sales students, the quality of internships and the number of full-time sales placements with our corporate partners have been phenomenal,” said Dr. Chris Plouffe, director of the Fisher Institute. “We are extremely pleased to elevate this group of six corporate partners to Premier status and look forward to long, mutually beneficial relationships.”

The Ronald R. and Diane C. Fisher Institute for Professional Selling in the College of Business Administration at The University of Akron is among the oldest and most prestigious sales institutes in the world. It also is a full member of the University Sales Center Alliance, accredited by the Society for Sales and Marketing Training, and recognized annually as a Top Sales Program by the Sales Education Foundation. In a 2010 study by the Center for Sales Leadership at DePaul University, the Fisher Institute’s Sales Management Program was ranked No. 3 out of 68 sales programs and institutes across the United States and Canada.

Through teaching and seminars, outreach programs, managerially relevant research, and other activities, the Fisher Institute is shaping the next generation of sales professionals and promoting professional sales as an attractive lifetime career choice. Fisher Institute students develop a passion about careers in sales and customer account management. They are taught best-of-breed sales tactics, processes, and methodologies through a host of different learning techniques from world-class faculty, all of whom are former, successful salespeople or sales managers.

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