100 Professional Sales Students from Across the Country Visit for Russ Berrie Institute’s 11th Annual National Sales Challenge from November 15 to 17

This year, more than 80 executives from 13 sponsor companies are participating in the National Sales Challenge

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales (RBI) at William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College of Business is hosting the 11th Annual National Sales Challenge, an intense series of selling competitions and workshops, on campus, from November 15 to 17, 2017.

More than 100 college students representing 33 universities from across the country, as well as from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland, are participating.

The competition is designed by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute to strengthen students’ sales skills and offer them an opportunity to network with business executives from companies around the country who will judge the events and serve as sponsors.

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales was recognized in 2016 as one of the top sales programs in the nation by the Sales Education Foundation of Dayton, Ohio. Housed in William Paterson’s Cotsakos College of Business, the Institute was one of the first in the country to offer a bachelor of science degree in professional sales, and represents a unique partnership between the private sector and higher education designed to advance the field of professional sales. An estimated 85 percent of the program’s graduates find a job in six months.

This year, more than 80 executives from 13 sponsor companies are participating in the National Sales Challenge, including: ADP, Complete Document Solutions, First Data, Granite Telecommunications, Henry Schein, Lennox, Liberty Mutual, McKesson, Mutual of Omaha, North American Plastics, Polymershapes, UPS, and Tom James.

The RBI Sales Career Boot Camp was added two years ago and is designed to provide interaction in small group settings between students and industry leaders from the sponsor companies. The 2017 boot camp will address the transition from degree to work with sessions on how to craft a personal presentation story that will prepare students for job interviews. Senior sales and human resource leaders from ADP, CBRE, CDS-Xerox, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Graybar Electric Company, Henry Schein Dental, Liberty Mutual, McKesson, North American Plastics, Paycom, Polymershapes and UPS will serve as panelists.

“The boot camp provides students with an opportunity to learn directly from industry leaders,” says Siamack Shojai, dean of the Cotsakos College of Business. “This is part of our commitment for students to learn via the Cotsakos College of Business’s close connections with local, regional and national businesses. Our corporate sponsors are eager to participate because it introduces them to a new generation of up-and-coming sales leaders.”

The National Sales Challenge is one of only a few select such competitions in the country. Prior to the event, students competed on their own campuses in order to win the opportunity to compete in the National Sales Challenge at William Paterson.

Competitions include the sales-role play event, which uses a selling situation from sponsor ADP, and a speed-selling competition, which requires students to rotate through tables seated with company executives to pitch themselves for two minutes for a generic job. The event will be held in the Russ Berrie Professional Sales Laboratory, a unique computerized multimedia facility that simulates business office environments. 

Students from all 33 schools participate in the boot camp and speed-sell competition on Wednesday, November 15, and the role play competition on Thursday, November 16. Also on Thursday, the organizers have included a gala reception to facilitate opportunities for participants to hone networking skills. Finalists will compete on Friday, November 17.

Participating schools for 2017 are: 
Baylor University
Bloomsburg University
Clarkson University
Edinburgh Napier University
Farmingdale State College
Georgia Southern University
High Point University
Illinois State University
James Madison University
Metropolitan University of Denver
Morehouse College
North Dakota State University
Northern Illinois University
Penn State Harrisburg
Plymouth State University
Purdue University
Salisbury University
Siena College
Southern New Hampshire University
Temple University
University of Arkansas - Little Rock
University of Central Florida
University of Central Oklahoma
University of Louisiana-Lafayette
University of New Hampshire
University of North Alabama
University of Texas at Dallas
University of Texas-Arlington
University of Wisconsin-Parkside
University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Utah State University
Western State Colorado University
William Paterson University

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