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December 9, 2016

CSU, Chico College of Business Students Take Top Prize at Sweet 16 Sales Challenge

Mallory Winston chatting with a representative during the Sales Sweet 16 Mixer on Thursday, December 1, 2016 in Chico, Calif. (Haley Traynor/Student Photographer)
Student Mallory Winston chatting with a sales representative during the Sweet 16 Sales Mixer

Showcasing their ability to excel in high-level professional sales, four California State University, Chico College of Business students walked away with cash prizes following last week’s Sweet 16 Sales Challenge, a student sales competition.

Prizes were awarded to the top four Business Administration students:
1st Place:  John Roeckl-Navazio, $500
2nd Place:  Max Dickstein, $375 
3rd Place:  Avery Wolfe, $250 
4th Place:  Austin Burback, $125

The four winners of the Sweet 16 Sales Challenge pose for a photo with their sales certificates
Sweet 16 Sales Challenge winners from left: Avery Wolfe (third-place); Max Dickstein (second-place); John Roeckl-Navazio (first-place); and Austin Burback (fourth-place).

The Sweet 16 competition placed 16 CSU, Chico students in a 12-minute long role play scenario requiring each student to convince an employee from a mock engineering company that needs engineers to enter a contract with the Aerotek employee staffing agency to supply those workers. The event occurred on December 2.

The students’ role-playing efforts were live-streamed to corporate representatives from 24 companies who were stationed in nearby rooms in Glenn Hall and served as judges.

The event is designed to give companies a “sneak peek” at talented business students they might want to later recruit, while giving students the opportunity to fine-tune their professional sales skills.

The 16 students—who had advanced through several other University-only competitions to reach last week’s Sweet 16 event—are among the 88 students enrolled in an upper-level marketing course, “Strategic Personal Selling.”

Efforts such as the Sweet 16 and the business school’s Seufferlein Sales Program have helped vault CSU, Chico into the vanguard of U.S. universities that offer scholarship and applied learning to prepare the next generation of sales talent.

Early last year, Chuck Seufferlein (BS, Business, ’74), the 2004 Distinguished Alumnus for the College of Business, gave the college a six-figure gift to revamp a portion of Glenn Hall to accommodate the growing interest in sales by students.

CSU, Chico’s College of Business has offered a 21-credit Professional Sales Certificate since 2008.

More than 100 students have applied to be involved in the sales program for the upcoming academic year, a rise from 70 students during 2015, said Tim Heinze, executive director of the Seufferlein Sales Program and associate professor of marketing.

The number of corporate partners—companies that provide employment for program graduates and funding and other assistance for program operations—is also on the rise.

CSU, Chico’s sales program recently partnered with IBM, representing the technology giant’s first official partnership with any university-based sales training program in the U.S., said Heinze.

All this comes amid research from global employment consultancy Manpower last year that found that sales positions remain among the hardest for companies to fill, while other studies indicate the aging of the sales workforce is expected to create a glut of open sales positions in the next few years. 


Michele Chandler
Public Affairs

Read the story via Chico State News here.