U of M Twin Cities and UMD compete in more than just sports.
Students in LSBE’s Professional Sales major—an immersive program since its beginning in 2019—engage in hands-on sales competitions to gain real-world experience. However, one competition features a friendly rivalry between members of the LSBE sales club (which is open to all UMD majors) and the Gopher sales team from the U of M Twin Cities.
The Second Annual Bulldog-Gopher Challenge, held this past semester (virtually), involved 11 students with each student playing the role of a sales representative for 3M.
As representatives of the company’s Personal Safety Division, the students had to sell ultra-fit earplugs to buyers of a manufacturing facility. Students met with the mock safety manager and had to get a commitment for a trial of the product to move to the next round. In the second round, students met with the mock safety director and had to get a commitment for a rollout of the product to move to the last round. Finally, students had to get a commitment from the safety director for a full rollout of the product along with a value-added service.
LSBE alumni and 3M representatives volunteered to role-play as buyers and serve as judges.
Students prepared for weeks in advance to take part in this two-day competition. UMD participants were senior Ashley Pughm, senior Chris Stingle, senior Katusha Becklin, junior Parker Schultz, junior Russel Tanner, and sophomore Austin Gordan.
“I participated in the Bulldog Cup because I wanted to challenge myself, build more meaningful relationships and participate in something that will enhance my sales and professional skills,” said Tanner, who is majoring in Psychology.
“I enjoyed the whole process of the competition. First and foremost being able to study and train with my teammates. I was able to learn so much from my team members and pick their brains on many different topics. The competition also felt like a real sales call. It was challenging, fun, fast-paced, and very rewarding at the end. Being able to connect with everyone involved in the competition was a chance to create meaningful relationships as well.”
Top students received monetary awards.
3rd Brynn Thompson (UMTC)
5th Sawyer Rademacher (UMTC)
6th Anthony Rothen (UMTC)
As professional sales teams, the Bulldogs and Gophers tied. The Challenge Cup will still be housed at the Twin Cities’ campus.
“From the students’ perspective, it’s not just about building sales skills but rather confidence in the ability to conduct business meetings effectively with good communication,” said Jessica Gardner, director of the Professional Sales Program.
“This competition will help my career by having improved my sales skills, professional skills, and relationship-building skills,” said Tanner. “The sales pitch and competition itself helped me learn more about the sales processes and professionalism during a sales call. The networking aspect of the competition allowed me to create new connections and relationships with many talented and amazing individuals.
“I am incredibly grateful to have been provided this opportunity, and I want to say thank you to everyone who made this event possible. I also want to thank Jessica Gardner for helping the team learn so much and being such a great leader and coach.”
History about this event can be found on the LSBE website in All News.