Spotlight on university sales competitions

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Taking part in sales competitions can help students win prestigious roles with top industry businesses around the world – but what do they actually involve?
Students from all over the UK and Europe travel to take part in these competitions, going head to head in a test of nerve and skill to prove they can deliver pitches, communicate and present solutions.

Sponsors and judges from the world of industry keep a watchful eye over the bright young stars of the future and students who have earned success in the competition have gone on to land dream jobs.

Edinburgh Napier’s Craiglockhart-based Business School hosted the Gartner-sponsored first UK Universities Sales Competition, promoting the importance of professional selling to the UK economy and giving students a platform to use key techniques in real world situations.University sales competition

Those taking part included not just people interested in pursuing sales and marketing careers, but also would-be engineers, scientists, accountants and entrepreneurs.

They impressed judges from the world of industry in role-plays in which they played sales executives and presented detailed pitches to customers following initial meetings to identify business needs.

They were assessed on their approach and their effectiveness as communicators, as well as their ability to gather information and present solutions.

The main event was preceded by a ‘Speed Selling’ curtain raiser in which students highlighted why they should be hired in two-minute sales pitches about themselves to experienced recruiting executives.

Competition Director Dr Tony Douglas, from Edinburgh Napier’s Business School, said: “These events deliver great sales job opportunities and help students hone not just selling skills but skills for life. It is a win for students, sponsors and Business Schools with Gartner, Salesforce and Textron attending and taking part, and student talent being connected to businesses eager to fill their sales graduate programme pipelines.”

The universities which took part included Edinburgh, Edinburgh Napier, Abertay, Aberdeen, Liverpool, Coventry, Lancaster, Keele, Sheffield Hallam, York, Greenwich, Kansas State and Perth College. Many of the students who took part were offered internships and work placements as a result of their performances.


“These events deliver great sales job opportunities and help students hone not just selling skills but skills for life."

Dr Tony Douglas

Director of the Centre for Sales & Business Development

It’s not just in the UK where Edinburgh Napier students can showcase their sales skills - Business School undergraduates Calum Hutchison and Marta Patay both achieved top five finishes at the 5th European Sales Competition at the Euridis Business School in Paris.

Students and academics gathered from 15 Business Schools who deliver sales teaching, with 40 students taking part in the main event, the sales role-play. Both Calum and Marta progressed to the final stages, which were live streamed to an audience of 100 academics and students and sponsors at the event. 

Tony Douglas, who accompanied the students to the event, said: “Once more Edinburgh Napier students were great ambassadors for the Business School.

“The number of Business Schools offering professional selling and sales modules is growing across Europe, and the 2019 competition will take place at Avans University of Applied Science in Breda in Holland.”


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