College of business administration to host fifth annual CMU Sales Challenge

Students learn to sell themselves in interviews and elevator pitches


Students interview business owners during the CMU Sales Challenge February 7, 2020, in Grawn Hall.

The Central Michigan University College of Business Administration is sponsoring the fifth annual CMU Sales Challenge. The event will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Feb. 3 in Grawn Atrium.

CMU students will be taking part in various events and have opportunities to network in “one of the better hands-on experience” events for students, Nizar Hussein, director of hospitality services administration and director of corporate relations for the professional sales program said.

In the CMU Sales Challenge, participants are selling themselves in a variety of activities. 

Participants will engage in mini-interviews with a variety of company representatives including Dow Inc., Rocket Mortgage and Waste management. The top performers in the mini-interviews will get to move on to the final round — elevator pitches.

According to CMU Public Relations Student Society of America, elevator pitches are short one minute speeches that involve students displaying their “best professional” selves. 

Elevator pitches start with an introduction of who you are, what you’ve done and what you want to do. This includes any skills or relevant prior experience students may have, as well as any large-scale goals. Students will then explain what they want from the interaction, and end the pitch by giving the listener their contact card.

In addition to these events, members of the Marketing 440 class will be participating in the Sales Management Case Competition. In this competition, participants will be presented with real-world business problems by professionals. Hussein said participants will be challenged to create solutions to proposed issues in the mindset of a sales manager. 

After the competition, the professionals will take the student responses back to their business headquarters, and potentially implement some of the proposed solutions into their own practices.

There will also be an alumni panel speaking on their professional experience, as well as a speaker who will be giving a presentation on international sales. This will involve information for selling outside of U.S. borders, and how to accommodate international sales and cultural barriers. 

In Hussein‘s own elevator pitch, he said his interest is helping students find their ways. 

“It's my goal, my vision and my mission to help develop young minds to go out and make a difference,” Hussein said. 

While registration for the event is now closed, Hussein said they are expecting 145 participants to attend the event. This is a substantial increase from the average of 90 participants in other years, he said.