World Collegiate Sales Open: Part 2

Part 2: Thoughts Afterward

(This part was written around 1 p.m. on Monday, February 27, 2012. The Monday following the competition.)

The World Collegiate Sales Open is finally over and I feel as though a weight has been lifted and that I have all sorts of free time that is no longer dedicated to preparation! My friend Corey placed third overall giving the NIU College of Business its only podium spot in the competition. Akron won first, Michigan State second and UW-Whitewater took fourth.

Once the competition started all the nerves I had going in were not there the rest of the weekend. I felt good, I felt confident and I had a phenomenal performance. It was fun going through an entire sales cycle all in two days. While I didn’t place amongst the final four, I’m still considered one of the best in the world (somewhere in the top 10 according to my results in each category of competition). The competition began with 192 students from 7 different countries that got trimmed down to 20 students from the United States, Austria and United Kingdom. While it is disappointing I went in looking to take first and ultimately fell short, I certainly learned a lot through it all. I received great pointers and advice from judges or buyers throughout the weekend, and I also met a lot of great people.

Considering this was the championship round for a world competition, everyone I met from all around the world were great people. There were only four people from overseas in the top 20, three from Austria’s University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt and one from the University of Portsmouth in the UK, as well as schools from east to west in the United States to round out the rest of the 20 finalists. Everyone was nice and friendly despite being there competing with each other. I can certainly say I made some new friends.

So much time, energy and effort was put into this weekend but it was definitely a blast. I told the College of Business’ Dean, Dr. Denise Schoenbachler, this morning that I wish I could come back and compete one more time because I loved every minute of it. Her suggestion was that I come back and participate as a judge. I absolutely plan on trying to come back next year and be involved on the other end of the competition.

I’m excited to start building the NIU Sales team for next year’s competition. There are certainly a lot of talented individuals that are in the early stages of our program. The important thing is, the talent is there and the NIU College of Business will continue to be amongst the best in the world with its sales program. I can certainly say I’m proud to have represented NIU and hope that all future NIU College of Business competitors bring that same pride and passion next year.

WCSO 2011 2012 384 300x200 World Collegiate Sales Open: Part 2

World Collegiate Sales Open: Part 1

Part 1: Thoughts Beforehand

(This part was written around 4 p.m. Thursday, February 23, 2012, the day before competition started. I just had a delay in posting it.)

It is the evening before the competition and I am extremely stressed. My nerves are running wild and I’m struggling to keep it under control. The NIU sales team has been told numerous times that this is the most intense sales competition there is, not just because it is a worldwide competition but because of the amount of events there are and having to complete them all back to back.

Additionally, the competition is hosted at the NIU College of Business and was founded by the head of our sales program. I feel like this adds more pressure because we want to excel in the name of our school and our program. At this point anything short of winning will feel like failure.

Professors, teachers, co-workers, friends and family all know how I’m feeling. Several of them have said no matter what happens, the marketing department is fully behind us and is proud of all we’ve accomplished in just making it to the finals. Another teacher, as well as my dad, said this should be a no pressure situation for me since I’ve already secured a job and my career isn’t riding on this competition. While the job aspect is true, I can’t shake the self-pressure. I know I shouldn’t be nervous, but the drive to do extraordinary in competition is what’s causing it.

Hopefully when the competition starts the jitters will go away and I can go into each event calm and relaxed like I need to be.

My final thought is how much I appreciate the support from all my professors and friends. I appreciate the recognition we’ve been given in the classroom this week, the wishes of luck thrown our way anytime we see someone, as well as any other words of advice and encouragement I’ve received. It’s very rewarding by itself seeing the pride others have in us as we go forward representing NIU in this international sales competition.

 

 

 

Worn Shoe Equals a Wet Foot

First world student problems: Yesterday as I was going through my classes I noticed my foot was wet and wasn’t sure why. Turns out I have a very small hole at the heel of my shoe where the rubber wore away just enough for water to seep in. It is absolutely annoying being in Barsema Hall for a nine hour day and having a wet foot. It drove me nuts!! Looks like I’m going to have to buy new ones, unless I only wear these when it’s dry outside.

As a ‘broke college student’ I don’t exactly have the discretionary income to spring for a fifty or sixty dollar pair of Adidas at the moment, but once June comes around and I have a full time base salary.. well… lets just say I’m going to hit the ground running (with dry shoes)!

Coasting Through a Hurricane

Senior year… there are far too many thoughts in my head about it. A lot of people coast through senior year and I anticipated being one of them. Unfortunately that isn’t anywhere near accurate.

I only have four courses, two of which are capstone courses but the work load is moderate to semi-high. Hurray. The next factor is adding in my job in the Office of the Dean, responsibilities as VP and President of a marketing organization and sales organization respectively, and being a finalist in the world’s largest sales competition. Luckily I’m not scheduled to work that many NIU athletic events this semester, phew.

I feel the pressure building because I need to be practicing all my material for the World Collegiate Sales Open so I represent NIU to the best of my abilities but it is tough to make this my top priority when I have homework, projects, quizzes, upcoming exams, board meetings and chapter meetings taking up time.

In the past two weeks I’ve capitalized on one of the perks of my job; free coffee. I still won’t classify myself as a coffee drinker (hate the taste) but it’s a cost effective way for me to get my caffeine fix so professors aren’t staring at my eye lids in class. I’m not trying to convey that I don’t like my classes, they are very interesting and I enjoy the material. But let’s face it, when you don’t have a whole lot of time to sleep the most interesting material in the world won’t keep you awake. Not this guy anyway.  I have several friends who are under just as much pressure with activities and feeling similarly overwhelmed, so I know I’m not alone.  It’s been more than worth it being as active and involved as I am and even though it’s tough, I wouldn’t change it for anything.

A former professor of mine tells us, “work hard; play hard.” I think it’s a fair mentality to have, working hard all week and having great times on the weekend with your friends. I don’t even care at this point how much sleep I’m getting or am not getting. I take a new direction in life three months from now so I have to squeeze every last drop out of college life while I can.

Duck, Duck, …Geese!

My dad graduated from NIU in the early 80s and when he was bringing me to campus for orientation and my private tour given by him and his knowledge of campus one of the memories he shared was that of William the Goose. He said everyone on campus knew William; it was as if he was the school’s unofficial mascot who almost always could be found at the East Lagoon. He even flew around the football field during one of the homecoming games as well. My dad said that despite William running after students, the goose would occasionally hang out by Altgeld and was actually very fond of NIU’s president and vice versa.

To this day if my dad calls on an NIU alum from that time he mentions William the Goose in his introductory sales calls. The memory of ‘NIU’s #1 Alum’ as they say, still lives on today..

Now 30+ years later as I prepare to graduate the relationship students have with the Geese on campus does not cease.  Whether it be the crazy protective goose a few years ago who chased people by the Chick Evans Field House or any of the other geese who can be spotted all over campus. These Geese have joined our generation unlike in my dad’s day. The geese now have a voice in the online social world via Twitter:  @NIUGeese.

Geese for whatever reason are still a humorously popular topic as the Northern Star has published articles about geese, students always have interesting incidents with geese, and now they have 281 followers as of February 13, 2012. It is only going to continue to grow as the NIU Geese turn out to be pretty comical with such posts as:

  • “I dream of the day when a goose can serve our country as president”
  • #30thingsaboutme 18. I have a higher vertical than Michael Jordan. If only I had hands to hold a ball!”
  • #30thingsaboutme 22. I enjoy chasing freshman around campus”
  •  “If Red Bull #GivesYouWings what does it give us? Maybe a weird third wing like the one my cousin Leroy was born with? #creepy”

What might be funnier than some of @NIUGeese’s individual tweets are the conversations they are carrying with people in the NIU community. Topics range from telling football fans that the Geese keep up with workouts in case Coach Doeren needs any wide receivers, all the way to students mockingly suggesting skinny dipping with the geese and not condoning drinking and flying.

If you’re on twitter and enjoy following something that will give you a laugh make sure you follow @NIUGeese.ducksoup 300x172 Duck, Duck, ...Geese!

We’ve Got Talent

Monday, February 6 was Talent Acquisition Night for marketing and sales students. (This event is the equivalent of other department’s Meet the Firm night.) This was my first experience at a school sanctioned internship/career event. Interestingly enough I along with everyone else in my Advanced Professional Selling class last semester were responsible for selling tables to companies for this event.

There were over 150 students that attended and nearly 50 companies. I thought it was a great turnout for a departmental event and it truly was set up quite nice. I’ve been to a professional sports career fair twice and the amount of people there forces you to wait in line for a large amount of time depending on the teams you want to talk to. The marketing departments Talent Acquisition Night was nothing like that. If you waited in “line” you were just waiting for a rep to free up. It didn’t take 10 – 20 minutes to speak with someone.  One thing in common though, there are lots of sales jobs out there. You could tell the companies in attendance last night are big supporters of NIU either coming from the Sales Advisory Board, the Interactive Advisory Board or they are just companies that attend all the job and internship fairs here on campus. It’s great to see that all these companies have such a vested interest in the students here.

I’m usually really excited for events like this but I was severely lacking enthusiasm for Talent Acquisition Night because I have a job lined up after I graduate already. I’ve been telling myself I keep looking and keep applying but the motivation is no longer there. I figured it can’t hurt to go to TAN to at least network with companies there whether I was interested in a lot of them or not. It turned out to be a great goal to just network since I wasn’t in need of a job. I also got some great insight about career paths and following passions from some of the recruiters there. Over all I certainly recommend to anyone whether you’re looking for a job or not, it’s great to go for the networking, the practice and the tips you can receive.  It is totally beneficial and worthwhile to attend and make those connections.