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Sales Program Leads to In-Demand Skill Development and Job Offers

Fifty-Five Students Earn Sales Certificates
Sales Program Leads to In-Demand Skill Development and Job Offers
The latest group of students to earn their undergraduate certificates in sales excellence were celebrated at a Center for Sales Excellence luncheon on May 3.

Fifty-five University of Nebraska–Lincoln students earned their undergraduate certificates of sales excellence and were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Center for Sales Excellence on May 3. The students successfully completed 15 credit hours of sales coursework that sharpened skills helpful to any career path.

The certificate in sales excellence is designed to enhance communication skills and relationship-building abilities. Students can opt to take another three credit hours to earn an advanced certificate.

“I joined the sales program to push myself in my areas of growth — the art of thoughtful persuasion, connecting with any individual and identifying others’ needs. I learned incredible skills I can apply to practically every aspect of my life,” said Jennifer Reiser, senior marketing major from Waverly, Nebraska.

The transferrable skills built within the program attract students of any major to the program.

“We take great pride in the fact the center works with students of any major at the university — as we all sell something. Whether it's selling our skills to a future employer, selling in our jobs or simply selling our ideas to others, sales skills are valuable. These students have a competitive edge in the job market,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean and professor of finance.

State-of-the-art technology within the Center for Sales Excellence role-play rooms allows students to practice pitching and get real-time feedback on their techniques, honing their communication and selling capabilities. Role-playing and other hands-on experiences build skills and confidence. Students also represent Nebraska and compete in regional and national role-play competitions.

“Each of our classes provides hands-on learning experiences to students. Some of these experiences include role-plays, actual sales assignments with a target quota and networking. Additionally, through our employer partnerships, we are able to provide students with access to some of the sales platforms they will be using in their jobs such as Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationships management software, and xiQ, an AI software platform,” said Ravi Sohi, professor of marketing, Robert D. Hays Distinguished Chair of Sales Excellence and executive director of the Center for Sales Excellence.

Senior supply chain management major Ryan Auer experienced the impact of his sales training on his career development.

“The interpersonal skills I learned throughout my sales courses enabled me to stand out from other applicants in the interview process and receive an internship offer with Dick's Sporting Goods that turned into a full-time role post-graduation. I will start as a retail business associate in their merchandising trainee program in Pittsburgh,” said the Naperville, Illinois, native. 

Sohi shared at the luncheon that more than 95% of these students have job offers upon graduation. Companies that recently hired sales students include Dell, Deloitte, Gallup, Hubspot, Mutual of Omaha, NRC Health, Oracle, Sandhills Global, Union Pacific and Walt Disney Company.

“Companies are pleased with the people they hire from our program and come back for more. It's the highest compliment,” he said. “They realized that students who graduate from our sales program have the necessary skills to succeed and are likely to stay longer in the sales role because they want to be in sales.”

The satisfaction of employers and program alumni alike builds the certificates' popularity. The center has awarded more than 350 certificates and 120 advanced certificates since its founding in 2013.

“Students receiving their certificates today are now our ambassadors to show others around campus and in the workforce what you can do with a certificate in sales excellence,” Sohi said. “I know these graduating students will do their best and utilize what they have learned. I encourage them to stay engaged with the program.”

The center has been named a "Top University for Professional Sales Education" by the Sales Education Foundation every year since 2014-15.

Students who earned their undergraduate certificate of sales excellence are listed below by hometown, with their year in school in the spring 2024 semester and academic major(s). Students who earned an advanced certificate in sales certificate are denoted in parentheses.


Alliance: Charles Otto, senior supply chain management

Bennington: William Huntley, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Columbus: Porter Discoe, senior marketing major

Cozad: Abigail Cornelius, senior marketing major

Elkhorn: Anna Hegge, senior marketing major

Firth: Noah Van Brocklin, senior finance and marketing major (advanced certificate)

Grand Island: Malaki Mileg, senior finance major

Gretna: Maeya Gydesen, senior advertising and public relations and global studies major; Lydia Yost, senior marketing and management major; Austin Zorinsky, senior marketing major

Hastings: Mia Tillemans, senior communication studies major

Hickman: Paige Wilkinson, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

LaVista: Kaylee Bray, senior psychology major

Lexington: Eli Young, senior marketing and management major

Lincoln: Chris Chavez, senior marketing major; Alaina Lewis, senior marketing major; Caitlyn Pfeiffer, senior marketing major; Faith Wanninger, senior accounting major

Norfolk: Brady Jackson, senior business administration major

Omaha: Courtney Archer, senior business administration major; Cole Bieber, senior accounting major; Riley Efaw, senior marketing major (advanced certificate); Nick Frerichs, senior marketing major; Sabrina Gates, senior marketing major; Nathan Hollenbeck, senior marketing major; Jacob Kannas, senior marketing major; Reese Pichler, senior marketing major; Sean Sindt, senior marketing major; Chloe Wieck, senior marketing major

Papillion: Alayna Auch, senior marketing major; Rayn Craver, senior marketing major; Brendan Roberts, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Tecumseh: Eli Waring, senior finance major

Waverly: Jennifer Reiser, senior marketing major


Centennial, Colorado: McKenzie Wager, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Highlands Ranch, Colorado: Madison Giacomo, senior marketing major

Oviedo, Florida: Gabriela Donahue, senior management and marketing major

Gurnee, Illinois: Evan Detina, senior agribusiness major

Joliet, Illinois: Nicolas Ragusa, senior marketing major

Naperville, Illinois: Ryan Auer, senior supply chain management major

St. Charles, Illinois: Joshua Schweizer, junior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Overland Park, Kansas: Caroline Gorley, senior marketing major

Cold Spring, Minnesota: Grant Martin, junior accounting major

Eagan, Minnesota: Christian Danko, senior marketing major; Jackson Hoover, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Eden Prairie, Minnesota: Abby Lawrence, senior business administration major

Edina, Minnesota: Eleanor Van Ness, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Lake Elmo, Minnesota: Erin Brandvik, senior marketing major

Maple Grove, Minnesota: Sean Bergstrom, senior finance major

Wayzata, Minnesota: Michael Walters, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Woodbury, Minnesota: Quinn Huppert, senior supply chain management major (advanced certificate)

St. Louis, Missouri: Ava Risch, junior marketing major

Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Mary Kate Statz, senior marketing major

Yankton, South Dakota: Liliana Dannenbring, senior marketing major

Casper, Wyoming: Taegen Tobin, senior marketing major (advanced certificate)

Published: May 6, 2024