Colton Jones '16, a business administration major who graduated in December, understood how building skills through the Center for Sales Excellence at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln College of Business Administration could get him a head start on his future. Completing his certificate in professional selling his junior year, Jones is one of 36 students to complete the program since its inception in 2014. He leveraged his education to succeed in his internship with Sandhills Publishing.
“This certification will be something of great interest to future employers because of its exclusivity among other sales programs throughout the nation,” said Jones, a Norfolk Nebraska native. “The program was important to complete before my senior year, because I wanted to have a grasp on the selling and marketing techniques that would help me be successful in the future.”
He recently completed an internship at Sandhills Publishing in Lincoln, Nebraska, working as a sales and marketing media specialist. His experience in the sales center made him an attractive candidate for a Sandhills internship, and he was able to use skills he learned in the sales center in his new position. Conversely, he applied his work experience to his classes.
“Colton was in my sales management class and he exemplifies the values we strive to build into the program – dedication, hard work and a professional attitude toward sales,” said Dr. Ravi Sohi, Robert D. Hays Distinguished Chair of Sales Excellence and professor of marketing. “He has made full use of the resources available through the program, including doing an internship with Sandhills.”
Led by Sohi, the certificate program teaches students how to sell themselves to employers, how to pitch ideas and how to enhance their communication skills. Both business and non-business major students earn the certificate by taking 13 credit hours of required coursework. Students can also earn an advanced certificate by completing an additional three credit hours.
“The sales center helped set me apart from other applicants. During the interview process, I was able to explain how I would receive a certification in professional selling upon completion – something Sandhills Publishing would have a great interest in,” Jones said. “The techniques I learned in the program related to those techniques I would apply to my day-to-day tasks at Sandhills.”
Last May, the sales center was named a 2016 “Top University for Professional Sales Education” by the Sales Education Foundation (SEF). It is the second consecutive year the sales center has been recognized by SEF. For more information on the Center for Sales Excellence, visit cba.unl.edu/salescenter
“The part of the program that I really enjoyed was the real-world applications we learned and how that translates to what we would like to do for our careers,” Jones said. “It was interesting to see how the information we had learned can be applied to seemingly everything we encounter throughout the day.”
Jones now serves as the Arena Representative for Pinnacle Bank Arena. He is responsible for food, beverage and stock inventories for all events held.