Neither Ashley Castillo nor Joseph Mendola had ever done anything like this before. But both students turned their keen interest in business sales into winning performances, making a name for themselves and the College of Business at the recent International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC).
The competition focuses on developing the critical skills today’s collegiate sales graduates need. This marked the first time that Florida International University (FIU) business students participated in this kind of sales competition.
The new kids on the block learn a lot—and get noticed for their effort.
“I knew I had a passion for sales but prepping for this competition taught me that winning a sale involves much more than showing up on a sales call,” said Mendola, director of the college’s American Marketing Association sales club. “You have to do a lot of homework before you can close the deal.”
Mendola made it all the way to the semi-final round of the four-round competition, as 70 students—many representing schools that have been participating in national sales competitions for years—were whittled down to 16.
Along with the competition, 29 companies from various industries participated in the related job fair and scouting for sales talent.
“I have never been so aggressively recruited,” Mendola said. “The exposure was amazing.”
“Preparing for the competition was challenging,” she said. “But I learned a lot about myself, my strengths and best selling techniques.”
The effort truly paid off for her. Not only did she win the Netsuite Challenge at the event, but she also had the opportunity to interview with one of the sponsors, Johnson & Johnson.
“Being part of this competition provided exposure to the company and allowed me to stand out from the typical college graduate,” she said.
Nancy Rauseo, who teaches Personal Selling, coached the students and traveled with them to Tallahassee for the weekend competition, hosted by Florida State University. Two FIU sponsors, ADP and City Furniture, also attended, providing much-appreciated feedback and encouragement.
Next steps? The eight-student sales team is preparing for more national sales competitions in spring 2013, including the most prestigious of all: National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) at Kennesaw State.