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NIU ‘super sales’ team takes fourth at challenge

December 8, 2011
Corey Kravitz, Robert Peterson and Paul Nowak

Corey Kravitz, Robert Peterson and Paul Nowak

NIU College of Business seniors Paul Nowak and Corey Kravitz won high honors at the 2011 Russ Berrie Institute National Sales Challenge at William Paterson University.

At the November competition, teams of sales students from some of the nation’s leading business programs interacted with representatives from major corporations in competitive events.

Those included a sales role-play and a speed-selling round in which students had two minutes (plus a one-minute, question-and-answer period) to convince potential employers to hire them.

Nowak placed third in the speed-selling event and was ranked second in the overall NSC competition. He and Kravitz also earned fourth place team honors in the competition.

“It was a frenetic, real setting,” said Kravitz, adding that the experience helped build his confidence and improved his sales abilities.

Robert Peterson, an associate professor of marketing in NIU’s nationally respected Professional Sales Program, served as faculty coach and adviser for the team. “One of the goals of our program is to not only teach theory, but also to practice learned skills. Our students excelled when it came to game time, which is a credit to the sales program here at NIU.”

Twenty-nine schools participated in the 2011 National Sales Challenge, including Indiana University, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Ball State, Western Michigan University and the University of San Francisco.

The NIU College of Business was one of the first in the nation to create a program devoted to preparing students for careers in sales.

The program continues to be ranked among the best in the nation and has been an innovator throughout its more than 20 years, introducing creative ideas such as taping sales calls for later review and creating a course to teach students how to turn a round of golf into a role-play.

Graduates from the program are consistently in demand by some of the largest corporations in the United States.

The NIU Professional Sales Program will host its own sales competition, the World Collegiate Sales Open, in February.