University of Southern Indiana

Real Opportunity: USI Students Impress at 2012 National Collegiate Sales Competition

The USI Professional Selling team competed in the 2012 National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) at Kennesaw State University in Georgia on March 2-5, 2012. Two USI students on the team, seniors Lucas Ball and Cody Sharkey, competed against 126 student competitors from 64 universities across the U.S. and Canada. The team outperformed regional schools such as the University of Louisville and Western Kentucky and finished in the top 50 of all competing universities.

Inaugurated in 1999, the NCSC hosts the top collegiate sales students and faculty from the most elite sales programs in North America. It is the largest and oldest sales role-play competition in the world, and it is sponsored by national and global companies who attend the competition to recruit the nation’s most talented college graduates from select universities. The 39 companies sponsoring this year’s event put on a two-day private career fair for participating students. The director of the event, Dr. Terry Loe, says that about 70% of all students who attend leave with job offers.

At the competition, students compete over a three-day period as sales consultants in a series of role-plays. Like collegiate athletic competitions, representatives from participating companies are the “buyers” in each role-play who react in real time to everything the students say or do, constantly testing each student’s ability to adapt and perform at extremely high levels. According to Cody Sharkey, “USI helps us develop the necessary skills to be successful, and the NCSC gives us the opportunity to showcase those skills at a national level. At the competition we have the opportunity to compete, to impress potential employers and to prove to ourselves what we have learned.”

USI sales team members Lucas Ball, Cody Sharkey and alternate Adam Kaps (freshman) were recruited by global organizations such as Tom James, UPS and Vantive and by national companies such as Wyndham Vacation Ownership and Cox Media Group. Adam Kaps is contemplating summer internship opportunities with Tom James and Wyndham. Cody Sharkey is considering job opportunities with UPS, Cox Media and Xerox.  After interviewing with six companies, Lucas Ball is still considering job offers from Tom James and Wyndham.

Adam Kaps noted, “The 2012 NCSC offered invaluable experience not only to the competitors, but to the alternates as well! Aside from actually competing, I was able to observe and participate in role-plays with the USI team leading up to the competition, and make connections with professionals from multi-million dollar companies, at the career fair, that will surely aid me in my future endeavors! I cannot thank USI enough for these opportunities!"

Lucas Ball says that the NCSC experience highlighted that “life is all about relationships.” The team worked hard to prepare for the competition, meeting three times a week to train. Lucas says it was worth it, though, and that he “learned that success depends on you.  If success in life is important to you the amount of success depends on how hard you work.”

According to the team’s coach, Chad Milewicz, Assistant Professor of Marketing, “The purpose of the NCSC is to encourage students to strive to reach their unimagined potential. The students who pursue that challenge are rewarded with potential job offers and a powerful learning experience that will stay with them the rest of their life.”

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