University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire


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Three UW-Eau Claire Students
First to Compete in National Event

 MAILED:  May 23, 2003

EAU CLAIRE - Three University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire students recently competed in the National Collegiate Sales Competition, held at Kennesaw State University in Atlanta, Georgia.

Elizabeth Coy, Madison, Jarred Onarheim, Eau Claire, and Mathew Strong, Lily, all senior comprehensive marketing majors, were the first students from UW-Eau Claire ever to attend the national competition after scoring the top spots in a similar competition held at UW-Eau Claire earlier in the month.

"The experience was absolutely amazing," said Coy. Onarheim and Strong agreed that it was extremely valuable.

"I can't thank the UW-Eau Claire marketing faculty enough for organizing this," said Onarheim, noting that he hoped the experience would be available to UW-Eau Claire students every year from now on.

Dr. Robert Erffmeyer, professor of management and marketing, traveled with the students to Atlanta, where a total of 55 students representing 28 universities competed in the event.

The students, he explained, were given 20 minutes to make sales presentations to experienced buyers from some of the top companies in the nation. Coy and Onarheim handled the presentations for UW-Eau Claire, while Strong acted as their coach. Ceiling mounted video cameras captured the action for teams of five judges, each comprised of three corporate representatives and two faculty members from non-competing schools. Students went through two rounds of competition, selling a product in the first round, and a service in the second. Judges selected the top three students, who then competed in a third round of competition, which all the other competitors were allowed to watch.

The University of Akron in Ohio, which has a sales institute on campus, came away the winner, Erffmeyer said, but he was pleased with the UW-Eau Claire students' performances and pointed out that they were competing with more well-known schools, like Purdue University and Texas A & M, neither of which were winners either.

Aside from the competition, social gatherings during the three days offered the students opportunities to meet and talk with corporate sponsors for the event, as well as students from other participating schools.

"I got the chance to talk to some of the largest companies in the nation, and after this trip, I now feel that I would not be the least intimidated going into any interview for any company out there," said Coy. "I feel that my skills and confidence within a professional sales atmosphere have been increased tremendously."

"Next year UW-Eau Claire will be more prepared because now we know what to expect," Strong said. "Look out for UW-Eau Claire next year!"

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 Judy Berthiaume, Director
UW-Eau Claire News Bureau
Schofield 201
(715) 836-4741

Updated: May 23, 2003