University of Nebraska–Lincoln junior C.J. Adamson, a marketing major from Lincoln, Nebraska and sophomore Callahan Eckardt, an accounting major from Shawnee, Kansas, received firsthand sales experience and networking opportunities at the International Collegiate Sales Competition (ICSC) November 2-5. Held at Florida State University in Orlando, employers around the nation sponsored students to encourage attendance.
Assistant Professor of Practice Chad Mardesen, who accompanied the College of Business Administration students, evaluated a list of applicants and selected Adamson and Eckardt based on past experience, grades and class participation.
“The ICSC has been a long standing event that is very well respected,” Mardesen said. “The other schools who were going made up an impressive list.”
Featuring more than 80 schools and more than 200 students, Adamson and Eckardt participated in different rounds of sales-based role play scenarios, where they received a business situation, or case, to formulate questions, create presentations and meet with potential customers one by one.
“The competition is held in a hotel so it’s very realistic. All the role plays are videotaped, then the judges view them to determine who moves on to the next round,” Mardesen said. “Every round is a different meeting with a different potential customer from one company.”
Adamson, who advanced to the second round of the competition, discussed post-graduation employment opportunities with several companies.
“The experience was amazing. Being able to see other people’s sales styles and techniques gave me a perspective of what it would be like competing for a sales position in other areas of the United States,” he said. “Meeting business professionals and company executives during the competition’s career fair opened several doors for me.”
In addition, both students competed in speed selling, where they had 90 seconds to introduce themselves to employers and share their resumes and conversely for companies to give background information about their organization and future employment opportunities.
Eckardt, who was offered an internship with Laird Plastics, also credits the networking aspect of the competition.
“There were many companies that brought executives. I got my name and resume in front of several people from across the nation,” he said. “It was also great getting to network with many different students from multiple universities who had comparable skill sets and goals to me.”
Serving as a judge for ICSC, Mardesen commended both students on their results and said he’d like to take students to similar competitions more often.
“Sponsors are there because they want to hire students. They are looking for the best and the brightest throughout the U.S.,” he said. “We’re already a nationally ranked sales program, which is great, but it’s these kinds of competitions that are really going to get us on the map.”