Growing up in Lincoln, Nebraska, as part of an immigrant family, Passmore Mudundulu became inspired by his mother’s work ethic and sacrifice to earn her college degrees, allowing him and his four siblings to remain in the United States. His inspiration to carry forward her will and drive led to success as a sales student and student-athlete at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln, and ultimately, a sales career at General Mills after graduating this spring.
“My mom always emphasized the power of education. She not only went back to school to get her associate degree, but she also got her bachelor’s, master's and now finishing her doctorate this spring. My mom is why I do what I do, and I am blessed to have her as a role model in my life,” said Mudundulu, a marketing major from Lincoln, Nebraska.
Mudundulu competed as a student-athlete on the Husker Track and Field team, running in the triple and long jump, and was named Academic All-Big Ten for 2021 and 2022. Like his athletic career, he leaped into sales at the College of Business Center for Sales Excellence.
“It wasn’t until taking Sales Communication (MRKT 257) that I found my true passion. The Center for Sales Excellence provided me with a great network of local sales professionals and numerous sales role-play competitions to prepare me for the professional world,” he said.
His experience in the center led to an internship in Dallas at General Mills, the multinational consumer foods manufacturer known for brands like Betty Crocker, Cheerios and Häagen-Dazs. Assigned a solo sales call, he depended on what he learned from the center’s curriculum to guide him.
“The moment felt nerve-racking in the beginning, but I remember telling myself to just rely on what I learned from the sales center to guide me through this call, and my nerves were eased. The sales center taught me real and relevant skills that I have used in my professional work and will continue to build on for years to come,” Mudundulu said.
That moment is one many students in the center go through, according to Blake Runnalls, assistant professor of marketing, who teaches courses for the center. It was after taking Sales Practicum 1 (MRKT 371) with Runnalls that eventually led to Mudundulu earning the General Mills internship.
“Passmore earned his job at General Mills by being prepared and proactive. Applying the content he learned in MRKT 371, specifically strategically designing his LinkedIn profile, Passmore successfully connected with a university recruiter at General Mills. As they say, the rest is history,” Runnalls said.
As someone who enjoys talking with people and building relationships, Mudundulu explained how his career in sales was the right path for him. Runnalls noted how Mudundulu’s ability to relate to people helps him thrive in sales.
“Passmore’s genuine interest and understanding of social exchange and reciprocity allowed him to excel in alleviating customer buying concerns through his trustworthiness and natural focus on developing and maintaining close, meaningful business relationships,” he said.
Mudundulu also got involved on campus through organizations such as N-Volved, a discussion-based social climate leadership group. There, he helped facilitate discussions around a range of topics like political tensions, gun laws and cultural diversity, something he sees as necessary for people to have today.
“I truly love being a part of this group because the dialoguing skills I have been able to develop in N-Volved carry over into so many other relationships in my life,” he said. “Inclusion doesn’t look like only respecting people who believe the exact same beliefs as you but rather positioning your heart with a desire of understanding and respect for those who have different beliefs than our own. This has been by far my favorite lesson I have learned in N-Volved, and I am so happy to be a leader in the group.”
From volunteering at the F Street Rec Center and other after-school programs, giving back and making an impact are among Mudundulu’s top priorities.
“I often think about all the people who have poured into me, and it is a blessing to now be able to pay it forward to others. Ultimately, I hope to leave something that lasts longer than me. One of the best things you can do in life is help another person. When it's all is said and done, I hope I'm remembered for my impact on others rather than the titles I hold or things I buy,” Mudundulu said.
With a fervor for the College of Business, Mudundulu intends to return someday to earn his MBA.
“I had an incredible experience being a student of the College of Business over the past four years. I never had a professor in this college who did not care for me with a genuine desire to educate. Coming out of high school, I didn’t truly know what area of business I wanted to go into, but the College of Business gave me a well-rounded curriculum that allowed me to find what areas I was stronger in than others,” he said.
Hungry to start his career, Mudundulu looks forward to beginning selling for General Mills. His role will center around working with restaurants, hospitals and other institutions to promote and sell General Mills products, getting the chance to work on new product rollouts.
“Selling food is a lot of fun! I have always had a passion for cooking and eating, and I decided to pursue a company that could combine my love for selling and food. I discovered General Mills, and it became my new home quickly,” Mudundulu said.
Published: May 16, 2023