University of Dallas students Rachel Sullivan, Michael Dinh and Dominic Del Curto returned from Florida International University’s sales competition with a lot to be proud of. The national competition consisted of 3 rounds with progressing levels of difficulty. The UD team was the only team who moved through all 3 rounds without losing a single member. Members of the group received a University of Dallas Experience Award to offset the costs of attending the competition.
Sullivan placed first in her group during all three rounds of competition. Del Curto placed third in rounds one and two and first in round three. Dinh placed second in round one and third in rounds two and three.
All three members of the team said that their success was due to their preparation and the guidance of their mentor, Dr. Laura Munoz. “When we got there, we were really nervous,” Dinh said. “But then when we heard people talking, we realized how well-prepared we were compared to the other contestants.”
In order to mimic the actual sales process, competitors were placed in role play situations, during which they were videoed making a mock sales call. They were given research materials in advance and were expected to learn about not only about the product they would be selling, but also about the industry itself. This required research into the needs of potential clients as well as possible objections. “It was sometimes hard to know exactly what we should prepare ahead of time,” said Del Curto. “So we just did lots of research and lots of role-playing.”
Sullivan said that the entire process of preparation and competition helped her realize that any career will require the skills learned in sales. “Everyone should take a sales class,” she said. “Anyone working with people needs these skills, like doctors working with their patients.”
Dinh echoed that thought. “I think I learned how to instill trust,” he said. “And I know in the future I might have to sell my boss or a coworker on my ideas and having these skills will help me do that.”
Del Curto said that the both his sales class and the competition taught him to actively listen. “I learned to probe and question and to try to understand the other person’s problems,” he said.
The competition also included a career fair, and Sullivan, a senior, was contacted for an interview by one of the participating companies. Dinh has accepted a position as Pricing Strategy and Analytics Intern with the Walt Disney Company after his graduation this May. Del Curto, a junior, has a summer internship with the Fund for American Studies in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Laura Munoz, the group’s coach, said she could not be more proud of them: “Having competed gives them an edge in their professional lives. Here at Gupta College of Business, we pride ourselves in engaging in experiential learning and the competition allows them to do so. They learned the professional selling process and skills needed and were able to analyze and articulate this knowledge as the competition evolved. The training and actual competition allowed them to get to know themselves better and equally important, gave them a huge affirmation that they are capable, confident and smart young professionals.”
The UD Experience (UDE) awards encourage students to engage in activities in which they will present themselves professionally in pursuit of their vocational goals. Speak with your advisor and consult the UD website for specific details about the application process.