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Baylor MBA Students Take 2nd Place at National Collegiate Sales Competition

March 7, 2013

2nd Place at NCSC

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Mark Tarro (L) and Curtis Schroeder (R).

Baylor MBA students Curtis Schroeder (Waco, TX) and Mark Tarro (Pawtucket, RI) represented Baylor at the 15th Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC) at Kennesaw State University on March 1-4, 2013 and walked away with individual accolades and a 2nd place team finish.

The graduate division of the NCSC is limited to eight participating universities. The eight registered for 2013 were Baylor University (TX), Bloomsburg University (PA), Bryant University (RI), Florida State University (FSU), Oral Roberts University (OK), Texas State University (TX), University of Wisconsin - Parkside (WI), and Vlerick Leuven Ghent (Belgium). The 3 universities on the waiting list to compete were Ball State University (IN), the University of Central Missouri (MO) and Georgia Southern (GA). Each graduate business program sent a team of two MBA students to compete in the three-round competition.

Schroeder and Tarro were Baylor's first-ever graduate team at the NCSC and proved their mettle as sales competitors. Faculty members from Baylor's Center for Professional Selling - including Executive Director Andrea Dixon, Sales Coach Chuck Fifield, and Professor Bill Weeks - helped the team effectively prepare for competition. Schroeder and Tarro audited the ProSales 1 course in the fall to complement their MBA studies in preparation for the NCSC and completed an advanced sales independent study course this semester, where they focused on learning about sales strategies and preparing for different sales scenarios. The Center's undergraduate team also played an important role in preparing the graduate team for competition.

Competitors in the graduate division were tasked with selling an ADP payroll processing solution in a variety of small business settings across three rounds. Each round featured buyers from the competition's corporate sponsors and a group of 5-7 faculty and corporate judges who scored the role-plays in a judging room via a live video feed.

The first round was a 20-minute needs identification meeting, where competitors worked to uncover potential opportunities to sell ADP to a family workout facility.

"I learned a lot about myself and the sales process as we prepared for and participated in the competition," said Schroeder, who competed individually in Round 1 and placed third. "It was an honor to represent Baylor and to put our business training into action in a very practical way."

In Round 2, Tarro joined Schroeder for a 30-minute meeting with a physician's office manager and an IT specialist to discuss implementing the ADP payroll solution, RUN Mobile. The meeting provided business and ethical challenges, as one buyer was anxious to implement the solution while his counterpart was more skeptical.

"Collaboration was essential as we worked with two buyers who had significantly different needs," remarked Schroeder and Tarro after placing second in Round 2. "We had to really demonstrate how our product would create value for each of our prospective clients, so our product knowledge, ability to listen, and overall preparation was vital to gain maximum scores and to stay within the time parameters each round."

The final round for the graduate division was a post-implementation maintenance call with the same physicians' office after they had purchased the RUN Mobile solution.

"The scenario I received was intentionally vague and very similar to the second round scenario," shared Tarro, who competed individually and finished second in Round 3. "I had to prepare for a number of possible issues in the call, so I had to really stay on my toes and adapt my presentation on-the-fly."

While the competition was the focal point of the weekend, students gained much more than competition experience. Students also had the opportunity to engage with recruiters and executives from numerous corporate sponsors, many in the Fortune 500.

"It is a great feeling to have an ADP executive praise your team for the work you've done preparing for calls to sell and maintain their product," remarked Tarro. "Most other competitors had a background in sales or experience in other sales-related competitions, so for our first competition we couldn't be happier with the results."

The winners of the graduate and undergraduate divisions were announced at a lunch reception on Monday. Baylor's graduate team was edged slightly by Texas State but left with armfuls of hardware to bring back to Waco. The team's involvement in the competition is already paying dividends, as Tarro will join Oracle as a sales consultant upon graduation in May and Schroeder, who has one year of his MBA left, walked away with numerous contacts and opportunities to leverage this experience into a potential full-time position upon graduation.

About the Center for Professional Selling

Dedicated to excellence in sales education and based in the university's Hankamer School of Business, the Center for Professional Selling is recognized as one of the premier global information resources for the sales profession. For more information on the Center for Professional Selling, visit http://www.baylor.edu/business/selling.

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