University hosts first Sales Challenge

14 students battle to be top seller

Date posted

5 May 2016


Students from Edinburgh Napier, Abertay and Dundee universities will go head to head for the title of top seller in the first ever Scottish Universities Sales Challenge.

Fourteen students - each studying an element of sales - will take part in the pilot competition, designed to replicate, on a smaller scale, the fierce sales contests held in the US.

The event next week is the first of its kind in the UK and is being organised, in part, to help promote and develop a deeper understanding of sales and its significance to Scottish enterprise and the economy.


It’s being hosted by Edinburgh Napier’s Business School and sponsored by recruitment consultancy Edgar Stewart, which recruits for a number of sales roles on behalf of its clients, such as those in professional services, water and energy, and start-ups and SMEs.

Dr Tony Douglas, who is Edinburgh Napier University’s Director of the Edinburgh Institute of Sales and Chair of the Institute of Sales Management (ISM), said: “Sales often gets a bad reputation but it’s one of the key and most important roles in business.

“The industry is crying out for sales-ready graduates and we’re already seeing an increase in uptake in our relatively newly-launched sales modules.

“By hosting this event, we’re not only trying to emulate the popular sales competitions of America, but champion sales as a wise career move.

“Whatever way we dress the titles up – business development executives, account managers or marketing representatives – there are far more sales jobs out there than we might initially think.

“There is an industry-led need for sales and we’re hoping to encourage our students to leave Edinburgh Napier with the added advantage of having sales skills under their belts to help boost their employability and overall appeal to global employers.”

The students taking part on the day will firstly take on an Apprentice-style sales challenge in a bid to impress the judges with their business ideas and persuasive techniques as part of a role play exercise in which they will be required to improvise.

In the second part of the challenge, Edgar Stewart will throw down the gauntlet as part of a Speed Selling exercise, in which the participants will have two minutes to present a sales pitch which focuses on themselves and could culminate in an actual job.

Edgar Stewart’s Craig Jackson, who is on the judging panel, explained: “We are on the lookout for two graduates to join us to help grow the business and would be delighted if the participants demonstrated the key attributes we are looking for – and were keen – to join the Edgar Stewart team.

“We can’t scale businesses in Scotland without sales but, sadly, it’s an area people rarely invest in. That’s why we’re hoping to buck this trend.”

The Scottish Universities Sales Challenge will take place at Edinburgh Napier University on Wednesday 11 May between 8.30am and 3.30pm.

If successful, the event could be rolled out on a larger scale in Scotland.