March 21, 2018

Students earn sales experience and cash prizes at competition judged by Northwestern Mutual

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YPSILANTI – Eleven students at Eastern Michigan University stepped into the shoes of financial advisors from Northwestern Mutual and showed off their skills as they convinced a potential client (played by a judge) to commit to a savings and disability plan.

This competition, the annual Northwestern Mutual Sales Contest, took place on March 2 at Eastern Michigan University’s College of Business.

The winners were:

  • 1st place – Alexander Jewell ($500)
  • 2nd place - Garrett Warner ($225)
  • 3rd place - Bria Woods ($125)

Students are nominated by their instructors and the contest is open to all majors. This gives participants the opportunity to apply classroom learning to professional situations.

“Students get real-world practice and experience and a chance to learn about different sales careers, depending upon the sponsor,” said Lewis Hershey, head of the marketing department at EMU.

“Sponsors get a chance to build relationships with students over time, recruit internships where appropriate, and see how their investment in EMU is helping students realize their career potential,” Hershey added.

The competition was sponsored and judged by three employees at Northwestern Mutual, a Milwaukee-based insurance and financial services company.

Students were judged on a scale of 1 to 10 in the following categories: preparation, clear and concise data, presentation skills, enthusiasm/emotion and sales ability/effectiveness.

Students had the chance to prepare by joining the Sales Club, which provides students with extra training from the club’s advisor, part-time lecturer Sue Yarrington Young. This training helped students tailor their pitches toward the sales scenario presented by the sponsor.

For additional preparation, students met with an advisor from Northwestern Mutual to learn more about the role-play situation and ask questions.

Students can include these competitions on their resumes, which are the kinds of extra-curricular activities that companies search for when recruiting students, said Hershey.

Northwestern Mutual’s internship program has ranked top ten in the nation for 22 consecutive years, according to PR Newswire.

A handful of the student competitors caught the eyes of the judges and were invited to interview for internships at Northwestern Mutual.

Northwestern Mutual will also present its internship program at an upcoming Sales Club meeting, scheduled for Thursday, April 5 at 4 p.m. in Room 217 of the Owen building at the College of Business.

Since the contest, three new companies have expressed interest in partnering with EMU’s sales institute and future competitions.

About Eastern Michigan University

Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest university in Michigan. It currently serves 20,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Health and Human Services; Technology, and its graduate school. EMU is regularly recognized by national publications for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website.

Contact Geoff Larcom, glarcom@emich.edu, 734.487.4401

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