The new Ivy Sales Program, already named a top university sales program, prepares undergraduate business students so they are ready for a career in sales as soon as they graduate.
“Sales is at the heart of most business enterprises,” said Raisbeck Endowed Dean David Spalding. “Creating a new sales program for students is an example that shows how we are setting our students up for success. We already have real strength in this area and we are building on it. Ours will be the strongest program of its kind in Iowa and in the region.”
There are more than 4,800 colleges and universities in the United States and less than 3 percent currently host academic sales programs. Within that, only handful such as Iowa State, belong to R1 category, which is the highest level of Carnegie Classification.
The Ivy Sales Program is being developed under the leadership of Dean’s Fellow in Marketing and Director of Ivy Sales Consortium, Raj Agnihotri. Before entering academia, Agnihotri held a number of sales and marketing positions from startup ventures to major corporations and currently serves on the advisory boards of startups based in US, Europe, and India.
Started in spring 2019, the new program is off to a great start. Sales Education Foundation, a non-profit organization that elevates the sales profession through college and university programs, recently named the new Ivy program a “Top University Sales Program in 2019.”
The new program, part of the Department of Marketing, fills a need as demand for sales in marketing classes has grown over the years. The new sales program will move to a state-of-the art space located within the new 45,000 square foot Gerdin Business Building expansion. Scheduled to be open in January 2021, the new space will include a dedicated suite for sales education and real-life practice.
The space is designed so students will walk in and greet someone at a front desk as if they are coming in for an actual client meeting. They will meet with an industry representative and make their sales pitch. Students will be recorded so their work can be reviewed and critiqued later.
The new sales suite will have a computer room where judges can observe and score sales pitch competitions.
In addition to the new undergraduate student program, the college also created a support system, the Ivy Sales Forum, a collaboration between academia and industry.
The Ivy Sales Forum, a partnership of 20 members who strive to advance the growth and effectiveness of professional sales, will work along with its corporate partners to provide sales certificate students with relevant experiential learning opportunities.
The new Ivy program has four tenure/ tenure eligible faculty members who primarily conduct sales research.