MARCH 13, 2003
CONTACT: Mike Stepanovich, 661/664-2456, mstepanovich@csub.edu

Sales Picture

Ron Pimentel is sold on sales. And the California State University, Bakersfield business professor is selling his students on the notion, too.

And they're buying into the concept, so much so that a team from CSUB entered the National Collegiate Sales Competition in Atlanta this year for the second time, competing against teams from 26 other universities across the country.

Pimentel, in his second year at CSUB, learned about the competition when he was a professor at the University of Central Florida in Orlando. So when the California native returned to his home state he decided to enter a team from CSUB.

That his team finished in the middle of the pack is of minor consequence to Pimentel. The value, he said, is that his students got an experience that would be difficult if not impossible to replicate in the classroom.

"Recruiters say that this competition is the mother lode," he said. "These are the top sales students in the country. Two of my students, Casey Vontz and Ruben Gonzalez, went last year, and both landed good jobs when they graduated."

The NCSC is a positive experience for all participants, Pimentel said. Corporate sponsors have the opportunity to observe and work with some of the top sales students in the country. The students have the opportunity to compete with their peers from other schools and demonstrate their skills to the sponsors. It's a positive for the involved faculty because it gives them the opportunity to exchange ideas with their peers, which can lead to a strengthening of their sales program.

The purpose of the competition is to:

  • Promote the sales profession as an attractive, honorable and viable career option for college students.

  • Provide an opportunity for corporate sponsors to preview and interact with top collegiate prospects for sales positions.

  • Provide an opportunity for highly talented and qualified students to exhibit and enhance their selling skills in a national competition.

  • Provide a venue for students, professors and sales executives to share different sales techniques and sales education methods.

    The competition is conducted over a two-day period. First and second round competition is held during the first day and the morning of the second day. The championship round begins on the afternoon of the second day of competition.

    Two different sales presentations are required: a good and a service. The products and the role-play scenarios are announced at least one month prior to the competition. Every competitor must sell one of each product type to a buyer described in the role-play during each of the first two rounds of competition. Students will compete individually. Cumulative scores will determine the team award.

    NCSC corporate sponsors supply buyers and judges for the role-plays (faculty members from the competing schools also serve as judges). Contestants must be enrolled as full-time undergraduate students. The top three scorers (combined service and product scores) at the conclusion of the first and second round will move to the championship round. The competition during the final round will consist of selling one of the two products as determined by the judges. Cash awards are provided for the top three finishers. Amounts will be determined depending upon the level of corporate sponsor support.

    "The competition is just like it is in the real world," Pimentel said. "It provides our students with real-life experiences that they can use when they enter the job market. It's such a great experience."

    CSUB's team members this year were Mary Dye and Ali Bakoo, both seniors from Bakersfield. Their local sponsors included Garry Kornbau of Coldwell-Banker America West Realty, Claude Brown of Kern's Paper Connection, Greg Lamb of Lincoln Financial, Cheryl Armstrong of Target stores, Carol Preston of McGraw-Hill Publishers, and Jackie Kennedy Harris of Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

    Pimentel said that prior to last year, no California teams had participated in the NCSC. CSUB broke the ice last year, along with CSU Sacramento and Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. Teams from those same three schools competed this year.

    Selling is such an important part of business, he said, that CSUB offers two sales classes, Marketing 304 and Marketing 405, to better prepare students for a career in business.

    For more information about CSUB's sales classes or the National Collegiate Sales Competition, please call Pimentel at (661) 665-6816.


    CUTLINE: Members of CSUB’s teams that competed at the National Collegiate Sales Competition are, from left, Ali Bakoo, 2003; Casey Vontz and Ruben Gonzalez, both 2002.