Student sales team nets 'Rookie of the Year' award

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Photo of students Cody Schievink and Lauren Steele.

From left: Cody Schievink and Lauren Steele

KALAMAZOO—A team of two Western Michigan University students earned the Rookie of the Year award at this year's International Collegiate Sales Competition, a tournament-style series of role-play challenges, hosted by Florida State University.

Seniors Cody Schievink, of Grand Rapids, Mich., and Lauren Steele, of Livonia, Mich., both sales and business marketing majors, were each awarded $250 for being named the top rookies.

"Knowing that we were competing against some of the top sales programs in the nation made the motivation that much stronger," says Steele. "At times it was nerve-wracking, but knowing that WMU has such a good program, we were confident we would perform well."

"I am proud to be a Bronco. I am so grateful that I had an opportunity to represent WMU," says Schievink. "Western and the sales program along with the Sales and Business Marketing Association have given me so many opportunities to be successful as a student and as a young professional. It was great to be able to put the hard work in and give back to the university by competing the best I possibly could."

The competition

During the competition, teams participated in four rounds of selling challenges, including a business-to-consumer challenge, business-to-business role-plays, selling to an international company and selling via a web conferencing tool. The goals of each round ranged from getting a second appointment to making a sale, but judges scored teams on their approach to the challenge, the presentation, overcoming objections, gaining commitment and communication skills in addition to specific requirements of the role-play.  

"Lauren and Cody worked incredibly hard preparing for the competition and it showed. They represent the high quality students in the sales and business marketing program," says Dr. Steve Newell, professor of marketing and faculty advisor to the team. "We are excited about competing again next year."

About the program

The WMU sales and business marketing program is one of the largest and most recognized sales programs in the country. Its intensive sales-focused curriculum prepares students with adaptive, relationship-focused selling skills that lead them to success at many of the country's top firms. The program has been named a "Top University Sales Program" by the Sales Education Foundation since 2007 and is rated the No. 2 program in the country by Education-Portal.com.