KALAMAZOO—A senior at Western Michigan University earned top honors in a national sales competition, securing $5,000 in scholarships, and a second WMU student placed fourth, taking home $1,000.
Aleks Jogerst, a senior sales and business marketing student, took first place overall in the 2012 State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition held at the University of Central Missouri in October. Junior Brian Curlett took fourth in the sales portion of the event.
"What a fantastic way to showcase the quality of our SBM students and their sales and marketing skills," says Dr. Kelley O'Reilly, assistant professor of sales and business marketing and coach of the students at the event. "Aleks and Brian certainly put the College in the spotlight and generated a great deal of positive buzz for WMU's Sales and Business Marketing program. I am extremely proud of their preparation, performance and professionalism."
The State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition brings together high performing marketing and sales students for a competition consisting of two primary components: an integrated marketing communications plan presentation and two sales role-plays based on scenarios involving the sale of auto insurance to fictional young adult buyers. After the role-plays, the top four students competed in a final round. Both Jogerst and Curlett qualified for the final round.
Overall winners for the event were determined by combining each student's scores. Jogerst placed first overall, securing top honors for WMU and beating out competitors from Duquesne University, Louisiana State University, University of Central Missouri, University of Houston, University of Missouri, University of Northern Colorado, University of Southern California and Wake Forest University.
Jogerst says he was well-prepared but still found parts of the competition challenging. "During the final role play, I was given 30 minutes to prepare for a 15-minute sales call in which I knew very little about my customers and very little about the situation; given limited product information, this was a very challenging situation to be placed in. Luckily, the sales program at Western helped me thoroughly develop my ability to adapt and excel in these types of situations. I was congratulated by the senior vice president of State Farm for conquering the challenge, and walked away feeling like I handled a difficult scenario professionally," says Jogerst.
Curlett, who is president of the WMU Sales and Business Marketing Association, said he put in months of preparation for the event, including time spent learning about integrated marketing communications plans. "As a sales student, marketing is not my strong suit so a majority of my preparation time beforehand was allotted towards this part of the competition. In the end, I was able to deliver a strong presentation with a solid idea behind it," says Curlett.
The sales and business marketing major has an intense sales-focused curriculum and prepares graduates to start their careers in professional sales and business marketing. The sales and business marketing major at WMU is considered one of the best sales programs in the country and was recently named a "Top University Sales Program" by the Sales Education Foundation.