While other teams were getting some sleep the night before their big presentations at the National Team Sales Competition, UW-Parkside students Joshua Frazier, Carlyse Mayfield, Jeremy Mishork and Nathan Whittaker were meticulously working through the night to perfect theirs.
The National Team Sales Competition, held at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University, attracts top teams of undergraduate sales students from America's leading universities.
Having competed at the competition since 2009 and placing well but always just shy of the top five, the 2013 UW-Parkside team was determined to go all the way or at the very least top the university's past finishes.
Going up against 21 big-name schools including Baylor, Michigan State, Syracuse, Northern Illinois and UW-Madison, UW-Parkside was immediately pegged as the underdog. Listed second from the bottom on the list of participating schools on promotional items, and assigned to present last in the competition, it was clear the Rangers had something to prove.
The competition seemed to be going well and the UW-Parkside team completed the first round without a hitch. "We were feeling pretty confident about the presentation we had built for the second day," Mayfield said. "Then we got a little extra motivation." A competing team mentioned that the Rangers were indeed underdogs. "That's when we decided to double check the presentation," Frazier said. "We realized some of the information and numbers we had generated were incorrect, and all the comments about being the underdogs started to feel accurate."
Down, maybe. But not out.
That night, the UW-Parkside team began rebuilding its presentation while the competing teams had checked in. Working through the entire night, the Rangers completed their presentation and felt they gave it everything they had the next day. "We received positive reviews from the judges and we really thought we had a chance to take first place," Mishork said.
However, as the team awards were being called, the name University of Wisconsin-Parkside was not. Syracuse, fifth; UW-Madison, fourth; Indiana, third; Toledo, second. "The disappointment started to set in when it seemed like we wouldn't even top our previous teams," Whittaker said. That's when they realized they had just been announced as the first-place national title winners. The team that other school's tabbed as the underdog had won the 2013 National Sales Team Competition.
Team coach and co-chair of the UW-Parkside Business Department Dr. Peter Knight said the victory brings a real sense of pride to the university and the College of Business, Economics, and Computing. "The tireless work reflects the drive to excel of these students," Knight said "We have produced some excellent sales students in the past five years but this group was truly special."
The championship also reflects the evolution and effectiveness of the UW-Parkside sales certificate program, one of just two certified by the Sales Education Foundation in Wisconsin and one of 62 worldwide.
The sales certificate program at the UW-Parkside continues to provide students with invaluable real-world experiences, growing incredible talent right here in southeastern Wisconsin.
This National Title reinforces the success of the certificate program and has set the bar high for future University of Wisconsin-Parkside sales teams.