Marketing Students Excel at Sales Competition

JMU Team - ICSC - Disney - 2018

Pictured (L-R): Nate Gross, Jake Allen, Morgan Burks (standing), Melissa Hadley (behind), Miranda Via and Alex Cole

by Melissa Hadley

Six marketing students with a focus on sales recently returned from Florida State University’s International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC) in Orlando, Fl., held Nov. 7-10. The ICSC attracts top sales students from over 80 universities, including a handful of international participants. Cash prizes are awarded to top finishers. This year 41 corporate sponsors including IBM, Microsoft, Gartner, Citrix and many others participated to recruit, interview and offer jobs to competitors and alternates. 

The JMU team, led by Center for Professional Sales (CPS) director Richard Tate, competed in all three events. The students were selected based on their performances during JMU’s Fall Sales Competition and their contributions to JMU’s sales program and to the CPS, which sponsors students to participate in two intercollegiate competitions each semester. 

Melissa Hadley, a senior marketing major, placed in the top 10 of 150 students in the speed selling competition. After her remarkable performance, she reflected, “There is no bigger honor than representing the JMU College of Business at this fantastic event. The ICSC is not only an opportunity for students to compete among tremendous sales talent, but to network, learn and grow. I would recommend it to any student looking to improve their portfolio, breach their comfort zone and be bold.”    

Melissa Hadley & Alex Cole - ICSC - Disney - 2018
Melissa Hadley and Alex Cole

Melissa Hadley and Alex Cole, a senior marketing major with a concentration in sales, both competed in the sales call role-play event, an interactive challenge where students act as sales representatives for an assigned company and attempt to close a sale with a mock buyer during a 20-minute recorded sales call. Hadley placed first in her heat and advanced to the quarterfinals. Cole also advanced to the quarterfinals, making this the first time that both JMU competitors did so in this event. Cole commented, “ICSC allowed me to apply my classroom-learned skills to a real-world sales experience. The feedback that I received from multiple sales professionals allowed me to grow and learn while making important connections.” 

Senior marketing majors Nathan Gross and Morgan Burks participated in the sales management case competition, a marathon of data analysis, forecasting and presentations, all completed without coaching or external help. The duo represented JMU well but did not advance past the first round. Gross concluded, “ICSC was an incredible networking opportunity and a great way to connect with the collegiate sales community. I learned a lot while working with Morgan on a with a very tight timeline to fix a real-world business problem.” Burks added, “Although we were unable to defend JMU’s title as the reigning sales management case champions, the loss seemed to pale in comparison to the professional opportunities, bonds formed and lessons learned!” 

Jake Allen and Miranda Via participated as competition alternates and took full advantage of the career fair and corporate networking opportunities. Allen stated, “The career fair was my favorite part. Walking into a room where 30-plus companies are actively trying to hire you was an amazing experience.” Via added, “I cannot put into words how influential, both personally and professionally this past weekend was. The opportunity to network with so many companies and explore the amazing opportunities that are out there has already paid off with multiple interviews lined up for some truly intriguing positions.”

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Published: Thursday, November 15, 2018

Last Updated: Thursday, January 23, 2020

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