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‘Professional and composed’ Spartans finish among America’s best in 2018 National Team Selling Competition

By Omar Sofradzija, communications manager

Spartans can sell.

That point was reaffirmed recently as the Michigan State University team finished third among 24 college teams in the prestigious National Team Selling Competition (NTSC), hosted by Indiana University on Oct. 10-12.

The MSU team in the 2018 National Team Selling Competition. Photo courtesy Justin Lawrence.
The MSU team in the 2018 National Team Selling Competition. Photo courtesy Justin Lawrence.

“While we weren’t able to take home the top prize, I couldn’t be more proud of this year’s team. They worked extremely hard in the weeks leading up to the competition and they ended up representing MSU extraordinarily well,” said Justin Lawrence, the team’s coach and an assistant professor of marketing in the Eli Broad College of Business.

“I received many comments from other coaches and students afterwards about how professional and composed our students were,” Lawrence said. “They gave it their all and they tell me it was an excellent learning experience. At the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.”

The Spartan team consisted of all sales minors: Rachel Carle, Nicolle Brennan, Ross Manssur (all communications majors and sales leadership minors), and Evan Farough (applied engineering science major, technical sales minor).

The sales leadership minor is a collaboration between the Broad College and the College of Communication Arts & Sciences. The quartet was selected following a role playing-based audition.

“Us four took it upon ourselves to meet almost every day leading up to the competition to prepare our sales pitch, role play, and critique our progress,” Brennan said. “The day we left for the competition, our team role played with Jen Rumler, the director of the sales leadership minor. The way down to IU, we also practiced with Justin in the car. Once we arrived at IU, we hardly stopped practicing/role playing!”

The MSU team in the 2018 National Team Selling Competition. Photo courtesy Justin Lawrence.
The MSU team in the 2018 National Team Selling Competition. Photo courtesy Justin Lawrence.

The Spartan team was chosen for the top three after winning its eight-team group after two rounds of sales appointments, Brennan said.

“If I may speak for the team, Justin’s involvement was amazing and exactly what we needed to advance,” Brennan said. “After our first appointment, we uncovered some pertinent information that eventually led us to changing our entire approach to our second appointment. Justin was right there with us helping reorganize and reevaluate our whole game plan for the second appointment well into Wednesday night.”

“We really could not have done as well as we did without Justin as our coach,” she said.

The NTSC, held at IU’s Kelley School of Business, is considered the nation’s premier sales competition, challenging students from some of the top-ranked business schools across the United States to take their in-class learning and apply those skills to realistic selling situations. An MSU team won last year’s competition.

“This is another outstanding accomplishment for our program, and is representative of the great talent and work ethic of our students and the quality of instruction they receive here at MSU,” said Douglas E. Hughes, chairperson of the Department of Marketing and United Shore Faculty Fellow in Sales Leadership.


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