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WMU sales and business marketing program ranks in top 50

by Mark Schwerin

July 14, 2011 | WMU News

Photo of WMU marketing class led by Dr. Stephen Newell.
Dr. Stephen Newell leads a business marketing class at WMU
KALAMAZOO--The Western Michigan University Sales and Business Marketing Program has been selected by the Sales Education Foundation as being among the top 50 such programs in the nation.

Each year, the Sales Education Foundation selects the top university sales programs with an overall vision and dedication to sales education that demonstrate a strong sales curriculum, university recognition and support, and the opportunity for experiential learning, such as internships.

WMU's Haworth College of Business was one of three schools in Michigan and 48 schools nationally meeting the foundation's requirements for having a top program for educating students in the sales profession.

"The leadership and commitment to the program is critical to its success," says Dr. Kay Palan, dean of the WMU Haworth College of Business. "The dedication and hard work on the part of both the students and faculty have made the program what it is."

The program is spearheaded by Dr. Stephen Newell and Dr. Jim Eckert, professor and associate professor of marketing, respectively.

"The faculty and students who are part of the program are excited to be honored as one of the top sales programs in the country," Newell says. "We are constantly analyzing the program in order to make it better. Based on faculty, student and employer feedback, we have recently added another sales-focused class to the curriculum in order to help our students to be more prepared to succeed in their careers."
The faculty works closely with program alumni and professionals to ensure that the knowledge and skills of graduates match the needs of the industry, Eckert says.

"We are very proud of the quality and the success of our SBM program as measured by the excellent placement rate of our job-ready graduates and their professional accomplishments over time," Eckert says.

Students say the program has prepared them well for their sales career.

"The in-depth, interactive and real-life training I received as a student in the program allowed me to quickly adapt to an ever-changing sales environment," says Nathan Falk, an alumnus who is an account manager for Medtronic Inc. "It creates a passion for sales and providing solutions for customers. I owe much of my sales success to the techniques and processes I learned from the program."

The Sales Education Foundation was established as a non-profit foundation in 2006 to promote the profession of sales through colleges and universities with verified sales education curriculums. The USEF works with a variety of industry professionals and academic trailblazers to establish and support effective university sales programs across the globe.