By Brent Fritzemeier
Beginning in the fall 2018 semester, the Kansas State University College of Business Administration will launch a major in professional strategic selling, becoming just the 19th university in the United States, and the only one in Kansas, to offer a major in sales. The Kansas Board of Regents recently approved the new major, which will be administered by the college’s National Strategic Selling Institute. The institute has been recognized each of the last six years by the Sales Education Foundation as one of the nation’s top sales programs, and is a member of the University Sales Center Alliance, a professional academic organization focused on best practices and quality standards in sales education.
“We are proud to be a national leader in sales education curriculum, and the addition of this major will allow us to continue to be an innovator in this space,” said Kevin Gwinner, Edgerley family dean of the College of Business Administration. “Sales are the foundation of businesses at all levels, and this new major will provide companies with a badly needed resource, resulting in excellent careers for our students — both within the state of Kansas and nationwide.”
Since 2013 the National Strategic Selling Institute has offered students from any major at Kansas State University the opportunity to earn a certificate in professional strategic selling. The demand for the certificate has grown significantly in the four years since, growing from 14 students in fall 2013 to 180 students in fall 2017.
According to Dawn Deeter, director of the National Strategic Selling Institute, the program features a curriculum focused on the application of selling skills through role-playing and real sales experience. That experiential learning environment puts students in the same scenarios they will encounter in any entry-level sales position. With the addition of a major in professional strategic selling, the college will be able to offer more classes and electives that will further enhance the student experience.
“I talk to companies all the time that rave about the professionalism and preparedness of our students,” Deeter said. “When you combine the work ethic and attitude of a K-State student with the selling skills we offer in our program, you get a dynamic prospect for a firm.”
Industry demand for students with an education in professional selling is huge. Kansas State University students with their sales certificate have found a 100 percent job placement rate after graduation, and each semester more than 20 corporate partners and prospective corporate partners attend the National Strategic Selling Institute’s Sales Career Fair, Deeter said.
“This highly specialized major and nationally recognized sales program reinforces the importance of joint collaboration between academia and corporate sponsorship,” said Kurt Auleta, senior vice president of Security Benefit, a corporate partner of the National Strategic Selling Institute since its inception. “The institute provides students with advanced business readiness skills that prepares individuals for the realities of an ever-changing global business environment. This unique program has resulted in high job-placement rates while lowering costs and increasing efficiency for new hire programs in the private business sector.”