Communication Skills Pay Off for the Winners of Northwestern Mutual Scholarship Sales Competition

First-place winner of UM Northwestern Mutual Scholarship Sales Competition

The winners of the Second Annual UM Northwestern Mutual Scholarship Sales Competition received special recognition and scholarship awards at a reception held Oct. 21 in the Gallagher Business Building. 

The $1,000 first-prize scholarship went to Nancy Wilson, who has dual graduate majors in business (MBA) and pharmacy (pharmacy doctorate).  The second-place scholarship of $750 went to Nick Kolendich (marketing). The third-place scholarship for $250 went to Ashley Olsen (management and international business).

The Northwestern Mutual Scholarship Sales Competition was open to all business majors and drew a great deal of interest from students and faculty alike.

Each presenter played the role of salesperson from an office supply company whose challenge it was to sell office supplies to a law firm.  The presenters were required to build rapport and create a sales presentation that could overcome objections.  The overall goal for presenters was to show the judges they could close the deal.  The judges also rated the presenters on specific verbal communication skills.

When asked why Northwestern Mutual sponsors the Sales Competition at the University of Montana, Mike Butler, Director of Development for Northwestern Mutual, stated that it was a “natural fit.”

According to Butler, “Northwestern Mutual believes that sponsoring education is a great way to give back to students in this state. The competition provides an opportunity for students to practice important communication skills they learn in the classroom.  Selling is about establishing relationships, framing information and asking for business.  These are the types of skills that any student benefits from honing.  Our firm is pleased to be able to reward students who are willing to put themselves forward and compete.”