Brittany Nagy on a break during a long day of competition.
Students’ preparation at business school for future careers comes in many forms – working on projects, participating in internships, learning new material, studying for tests, or leading student-run organizations. Other, significant opportunities that require additional diligence and provide some immediate rewards like cash prizes and job offers come by participating in regional and national competitions. In the past month, College of Business Administration sales majors, led by senior Brittany Nagy, were recognized for their skills with some of the best performances of any school in the nation at two leading sales competitions.
At the World Collegiate Sales Open (WCSO) competition, set up to reflect a real-life business-to-business sales scenario, the CBA team of Joey Hohler and Brittany Nagy placed 3rd overall, with Brittany Nagy placing second overall among the individual competitors (Brittany won two out of six selling categories outright). Akron’s WCSO team, coached by Frederik Beuk, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Marketing, performed well in the qualifying rounds that took place over several months. In these rounds, students had to create effective initial and follow-up voice mail messages for sales prospects, as well as to successfully persuade a “gatekeeper” (often an Assistant) to make an appointment with the sales prospect. The field of university teams is then narrowed to twenty-four teams that participated in the Championship round, held Feb. 21-23 at Northern Illinois University. In this round, the team had to perform many sales-related activities, such as a voicemail to a new, potential client, two elevator pitches (honed, 30-second compelling descriptions of a company and/or product) delivered in a working elevator, and a face-to-face sales scenario, among others.
Competitors become spectators during the final rounds of NCSC.
The following week, Brittany Nagy and Monica Bodiford travelled to the prestigious National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC), held at Kennesaw State University in Georgia. The NCSC celebrated its 15th anniversary this year, and is the oldest sales student role-playing competition in the world. At the NCSC, Brittany again placed second overall – this time by beating out almost 140 other contestants. In this format, 70 universities, each with 2 entrants, participate. In the first round, contestants are paired and, like the NCAA basketball March Madness brackets, winners are declared in each “bracket”, which quickly narrows the field. Students who were the winners had to make as many as five sales calls. For this competition, Dr. Chris Plouffe, Associate Professor and Director, Fisher Institute for Professional Selling, coached the team. “Clearly, I’m very proud of the success all our sales students had this year,” says Dr. Plouffe. “I think Brittany was so successful because she really put in the work and was responsive to the extensive one-on-one coaching she received. That willingness, in addition to her natural abilities, created pretty sensational individual results – as well as numerous, lucrative job offers.”