The World Collegiate Sales Open

The following guest post is written by Senior Marketing Major Abbey Vanderwoude. 

Nicole and Abbey prepping 300x198 The World Collegiate Sales OpenLast weekend was the culmination of a 9-month long sales competition, the World Collegiate Sales Open.  The WCSO was designed by the legendary Dr. Dan Weilbaker himself, and is unlike any other sales competition. Nick Kochetta, Nicole Weldon, and I were deemed finalists who joined the other 17 students from around the world for the final series of events: a voicemail, appointment call, two role plays, two elevator pitches, and reverse job fair.  I have competed in other sales competitions in the past, but the WCSO was an entirely new experience. I was pushed way past my comfort zone with unusual events like the elevator pitch and the reverse job fair. The competition was also unique because it incorporated a series of curve balls to keep us on our toes. While these curve balls made the events more difficult, the effect was that the combined events added up to a realistic portrayal of the sales professional’s journey to earn an account’s business.

Abbey Groza Jerry 300x198 The World Collegiate Sales OpenAmidst the competitions events, we had the chance to mingle with the other contestants and learn about other sales programs around the world. The students each brought their own perspective to sales, and I know I learned a lot from them. When I walked out of my Final Four Role Play, I was down on myself for not “controlling the meeting,” and not running the call the way I planned. I spoke to another finalist at the Awards Banquet, who, interestingly enough, happened to be an accounting major, and his response was this: “It wasn’t your meeting.” He was absolutely right, and I am so glad to have learned that perspective from him. In addition to networking with other contestants, I really enjoyed networking with the competition sponsors and judges. Companies including White Lodging, ADP, McKesson, Bosch, Adobe, and Sure Payroll generously sponsored the WCSO, and all were eager to get to know the students.

Barsema Hall 300x198 The World Collegiate Sales OpenOne of my main takeaways from last weekend is that the NIU Professional Selling Program prepares its students extremely well for sales careers.  Although we were sitting in a room with students from the top sales programs around the world, our skills as NIU students stood out.  Our team was extremely grateful to be coached by the best, Dr. Peterson, and we know we would not have made it to the finals round without his guidance. From our experience in Marketing 350 and Marketing 450, we were able to overcome the curve balls thrown our way and, as Dr. Peterson would say, not let “the wheels come off.” It was an absolute honor to be a part of such an esteemed competition, but even more of an honor to represent the NIU Sales Program and make our peers proud.

Prizes 300x195 The World Collegiate Sales Open

 

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

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.