By Megan Rule | Staff Writer
The Baylor Professional Selling Program held its Explore Pro Sales corporate visit Wednesday afternoon, hosting companies that are interested in recruiting students and learning about Baylor.
“I think what’s valuable about the Explore Pro Sales model is that as the variety of different companies come in and ask questions of the students, they actually learn from their colleagues, so there’s multiple layers of learning here,” said Dr. Andrea Dixon, associate professor of marketing, executive director of the Keller Center and executive director of the Center for Professional Selling.
The event took place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Paul L. Foster Campus for Business and Innovation. Pro Sales students rotated throughout the visit to show the wide array of talent as well as speak with the visiting executives about various aspects of the program. By holding the open panel and question-and-answer discussion, recruiters were able to learn about the program and vice versa.
“Baylor does a good job of saying, ‘We’ll take you anywhere you want to go,'” Sugar Land senior Nicole Lindsay said. “They give us the skills and tools so they’re at our fingertips.”
The students spoke to the executives about their experiences in the Pro Sales program, the skills they have learned, how these skills can be applied and their various experiences as Pro Sales students. All the students emphasized learning management in various aspects, such as time, classes and group work.
“Pro Sales is all about how much you want to set yourself apart,” Lanexa, Va., junior Shelby Stewart said. “You can be an OK student or you can be a great student; it’s all about going the extra mile to get there.”
Other topics the students touched on included the benefits of double majoring as a Pro Sales student and the Top Gun retreat held every semester. Students agreed that double majoring allows them to learn different aspects of business and give multiple ways of thinking about things. Students can apply what they learn in one field to other classes they take. The students also agreed that the Top Gun retreat helped in preparing for interviews and learning how to better their resources. The retreat helped with networking and learning ethical aspects of business, Dallas senior Luke Stainback said.
“Double majoring has given me the best of both worlds because I get the technical side of business with MIS and the softer side of business with Pro Sales,” Lindsay said. “It is challenging to look at business from different perspectives but really helpful to be able to draw parallels.”
As students expressed extreme gratitude for Dixon and the way she runs the program, executives at the event expressed how impressed they were in general during the question-and-answer segment. The students are not only learning the Pro Sales lifestyle, but are also living it because of how the program is conducted.
“One of the companies I talked with said, ‘We have some internal systems work we have to do. We see what the value of the talent is and we don’t have the operation ready for them to walk in to, so we need to make some changes,'” Dixon said. “So that’s always a fun conversation because you know they’re going to be on the horizon.”
Clint Corley, an enterprise account executive from KaiNexus and alumnus of Baylor, said there was a lot he learned in the Pro Sales program that became applicable once entering the work world. The biggest thing, Corley said, was the preparation to know how to learn in different types of environments. Corley also said that as a Pro Sales student, he learned lots of strategies and was prepared for any role.
“Even now, I can equate that [learning] back to things I learned in the program and then only continue to build off those things,” Corley said.
Corley said he enjoyed experiencing the other side of the table as he came back to Baylor to look at recruiting students. Corley graduated during Dixon’s first year in the program and said he wishes he had more time with her. Corley said, thinking about where he was as a junior or senior, the students that spoke Wednesday seemed to be further ahead, which is exciting for the future of sales professionals.
“One of the things that stuck out the most to me today is the fact that the people that are here are taking the correct approach to a sales career of how does what I do help the person that I’m working with,” Corley said. “That, to me, is great.”