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Students receive many opportunities and resources when pursuing a sales certificate

Friday, April 26 2019 02:45pm

More than 600 business and non-business students are pursuing a sales certificate through the Schey Sales Centre.

By Meghan Morris

The Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre elevates the process of earning a sales certificate into a well-rounded experience that gives students more than 500 hours of sales knowledge and experience. Each student involved with the Schey must complete the requirements to earn their sales certificate, which hasn’t stopped more than 600 business and non-business students from taking advantage of the program.

Taylor Woodford, a senior studying marketing, said she became interested in the Schey after getting to know seniors who were in the program and who spoke about how it shaped them.

“They were so professional and had so many internship experiences that I really looked up to them,” she said.

The structure of the Schey ensures that every member strengthens their leadership capabilities by holding roles that are essential in running internal operations. Besides Adam Rapp, director of the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, and a few other high-level professional staff members, Schey candidates do it all from recruitment to social media to philanthropy. Students can work their way up the organization’s hierarchy, starting as a team member, becoming a director, then a vice president, and finally a co-president of the entire organization. Positions are assigned for the calendar year instead of the academic year.

Kelly Thaxton, a sophomore studying MIS and data analytics, serves as the vice president of strategic initiatives. Lately, she has met with department chairs of different OHIO colleges to find out how the Schey program can benefit more students outside of the College of Business.

“Being in this leadership role has taught me a lot, regarding what motivates people and how to help effectively,” she said. “If I were to go onto a managerial role in the future, I’d have this to look back on and evaluate.”

Schey candidates can receive even more experience outside of the classroom from completing a specialized certificate, participating in the competitive sales team, and attending alumni and corporate partner visits.

Workshops, one way alumni and partners support the Schey, help students get to know professionals on a personal level while learning about interesting topics.

“At the Monday night workshops you’re always learning something new, whether it’s personal branding or how to effectively build relationships,” Thaxton said.

Each workshop has about 30 or 40 participants so that students can receive more in-depth answers to questions. A recurring theme of the workshops is inclusion and acceptance of diversity in all aspects at workplaces. AnEnterprise representative spoke about mentoring at the company and how that leads to connections across generational gaps, which is important in building a unified staff.

If Schey candidates wish to have more consistent communication with an industry professional, they can participate in the coach and candidate program. Schey alumni volunteer to be mentors. Woodford has formed lasting bonds with her coaches. Her first mentor through the program was a Nationwide employee who specialized in training and development. They talked over the phone and even met for coffee in Columbus. Woodford’s second coach applied even more to Woodford’s intended career of marketing because she currently worked in that field.

“She gave me some great advice when I was going through the job application process of little things I can do to stand out,” Woodford said.

It’s common for Schey alumni to give back to the program, whether on their own time or through their current company. Jenn Gesing, vice president of sales at ADP, graduated from Ohio University in 2003. The company she works at has been a corporate partner for Schey for the past two years. Gesing loves connecting with professors and students as a Schey corporate partner. It’s important to her that Schey candidates receive the valuable mentorship she had. So far, Gesing has returned to Athens for career fairs, candidate interviews, workshops and panels. She’s determined to have ADP represented at every major Schey event. 

“The Schey Sales Centre gave me real-world experience along with a lot of guidance,” Gesing said. “It’s very rewarding to return to Ohio University and pay it forward by helping out students who need direction.”

Bryan Hackett, an enterprise account representative for Dell EMC and 2010 OHIO alumnus, has enjoyed participating in the coach and candidate program. One of the students he mentored currently works at the same company but in a different department. He values the mentoring program because it allows students to take full advantage of a connection to someone in the business world, beyond just receiving professionalism tips. He wants to guide students on how to achieve a work-life balance, earn promotions, and sell themselves.

“I attribute my career and success to alumni who gave back, were involved and loved that I wanted to take advantage of their experience and their network and wanted to establish my own,” Hackett said. “We should want to do that same for students who are proactive enough to take advantage of resources.”

In a way, Schey connections helped Thaxton acquire both of her internships. She had an internship with a Schey partner, Palmer-Donavin, the summer after her freshman year. Thaxton had first met the company recruiter during her interview to be accepted into the Schey program.

“Having the ability to sit down and talk with her one-on-one and get to know her really helped me build a relationship that launched me into a perfect internship,” she said.

This summer, Thaxton will work for Hyland Software. The head of inside sales, a Schey alumna, interviewed her for the position.

The skills and opportunities earned through the Schey program can benefit any student, even if they aren’t sales-oriented, because of the professional development opportunities, said Rapp. Students can choose between certain electives that may apply more to their major.

Woodford will start her career in an advertising position at Chicago-based Convercent Media. During her interview, they seemed impressed by her knowledge of sales on top of relevant marketing experience. It gave her a “unique value,” she said.

“I didn’t realize that it would not only be a student organization and an academic program but a job and connection to faculty, students, and professionals in the industry,” Woodford said. “It has really shaped my career more than I could have imagined."

Learn more about the Schey Sales Centre.