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March 8, 2012

Dedication pays off, UW-Eau Claire ties for 6th at the National Collegiate Sales Competition

Sales Team

From left to right: Jerry Kollross (faculty coach), Breanna Begin, Christina Kubitschek, and Logan McCarville

Note: This article has been updated with official 2012 NCSC results received 3-16-12.

The University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire sales team tied for 6th at the 14th National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) held March 2-5, 2012 at Kennesaw State University.

The other 6th place winner was the University of Central Missouri.

Approximately 128 students from 64 universities around the country participated in the undergraduate competition division. 

Sonya Brooks from the University of Houston was named the 2012 NCSC undergraduate champion. The University of Houston was awarded the undergraduate team champion trophy for the second year in a row.

Christina Kubitschek, a UW-Eau Claire senior marketing major from Shoreview, MN, tied for 10th. Teammate Breanna Begin, a senior marketing-professional sales major from Maple Grove, MN, tied for 25th.

Jerry Kollross, UW-Eau Claire Department of Management and Marketing, was the faculty coach. UW-Eau Claire team alternate Logan McCarville, a senior marketing major from Wisconsin Rapids, WI, assisted the team as student coach.

Kollross was pleased with team’s performance and their dedication, which included weekly training sessions before the competition and early morning role play sessions during the event.

“Our team goal at the competition was to break into the top 20 and have fun,” he said. “Our students exceeded their expectations on both accounts.”

When the UW-Eau Claire students weren’t competing, they attended a career fair hosted by about 40 corporate sponsors, and participated in various social and networking events including a mixer at the Brunswick Zone and an awards luncheon.

“Everyone made some nice connections with employers that most likely will lead to job offers in the very near future,” said Kollross. “Over all, it was a very rewarding experience for all our students.”

Begin enjoyed the challenge and the networking opportunities which she hopes may lead to a job after graduation.

“There are several companies I am now pursuing,” she said. “I look forward to seeing what my future has in store for me.”

For McCarville, the competition helped him develop his selling skills. It also introduced him to new perspectives in the art of selling by allowing him to “pick the minds” of experienced sales professionals and business people.

“Before this competition, I had a general idea of how to make a sale,” he said. “I learned more about business and selling through this experience than any class could teach me.”

All members of the UW-Eau Claire sales team appreciated the training and support they received from Kollross.

“Jerry did an outstanding job preparing us and giving us the confidence we needed to do well in the competition,” Begin said.

Kubitschek agreed. “Having such a supportive coach mentor us through the entire weekend was the icing on the cake,” she said.

Kollross is already making plans for next year. Later this spring he will hold an information meeting for students interested in learning more about the team. Begin, Kubitschek, and McCarville encourage students to take advantage of this experience which they all described as transformative.

“Personally, there were times when I was out of my comfort zone and had to push myself through situations I wouldn't otherwise have been involved in,”  Kubitschek admitted. “Professionally, the world opened up. I was exposed to so many people, companies, and career choices."

How a top 10 sales team prepares for competition

Just like in any competition, training and preparation are key factors to doing well.

“Understanding the product, knowing the ins-and-outs of how conversation could go was crucial to performing well in the actual competition,” Kubitschek said.

To get ready for the competition, Kubitschek, Began and McCarville met weekly with Kollross both individually and as a team. During these sessions, they set goals, developed strategy and practiced sales calls.

“By meeting for a few hours a week and practicing several role plays, our group was prepared for any situation that could arise inside the buyer's office,” said McCarville. “Each one of us knew the product forward and backward and we were able to dissect the new role plays and prepare an effective selling strategy in a short period of time.”

Because the National Collegiate Sales Competition only allows two undergraduate student competitors per university, UW-Eau Claire team alternate Logan McCarville assisted the team as its student coach.  He worked with Begin and Kubitschek to develop sales strategies and he served as their buyer during practices.

“Logan kept us on task and challenged us during role plays,” said Kubitschek.

For McCarville, the most exciting part of the competition was seeing Began and Kubitschek perform to their full potential.

“We had worked so hard together and I know each of them put in a great amount of individual time and effort,” he said. “It was great to share the excitement of waiting for the results of their role plays to appear across the prompter.”

Excellence. Our Measure. Our Motto. Our Goal.