Student finds career in childhood passion


By Trevor Allison

Childhood career aspirations rarely pan out, but for some students, childhood dreams can be a good indication of career skills.

Fort Collins, Colo., senior Hannah Kroening has rediscovered the passion for business she had as a child and has found a way to make it a career through the professional sales program at Baylor.

Kroening said her family jokes about how she was always selling things as she was growing up.

“I turned a profit on the playground selling hand-made crafts,” Kroening said. She said she would also sell s’mores while on family camping trips.

This week, Kroening will compete against hundreds of college students from around North America in the World Collegiate Sales Open Thursday to Saturday in Chicago.

Then, she will compete in the National Collegiate Sales Competition March 2-5 in Atlanta.

The competition is in its 13th year and is the oldest and largest collegiate sales role play competition.

Kroening competed in the preliminary rounds of the World Collegiate Sales Open last semester. She said it will be a high-stress competition because she will have two days to complete what she had done over several months in the preliminary rounds. At the competitions, she will be judged on sales presentations, voicemail messages, elevator conversations and role plays with potential customers.

Kroening said she also attended the National Collegiate Sales Competition in 2011 with Baylor’s professional sales team but did not compete.

“I’ve been preparing since last year’s [competition] for this one,” Kroening said. “That’s the one I’m looking to do well at.”

Kroening decided to major in fashion merchandising when she came to Baylor, but a friend in her sorority who was a professional selling major noticed she had the skills to be successful in sales. Kroening decided to apply to the professional sales program in the fall of 2010.

“The last 16 months has been a whirlwind of everything sales,” Kroening said.

She has been offered a job as a sales consultant for Oracle Corporation, a Fortune 100 software company, after she graduates in May.

“I think of it as a dream job,” Kroening said. She said she would be involved in developing sales demonstrations for the company, which she said she enjoys more than cold calls.

Dr. Andrea Dixon, the executive director for the Center for Professional Selling in the Hankamer School of Business and the professor who advised Kroening to enter the program, said her drive is what has made Kroening successful.

“She had raw ability for sales, but it had not been fully developed,” Dixon said. “She has the ability to focus on a goal and make it happen.”

Kroening was able to hone her skills in sales through internships with Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory and the McLane Company. She said at Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory she was able to gain experience in sales by cold calling and building relationships with potential customers.

Kroening said she has always been able to sell things.

“It’s something God has given me and has always come really easy to me,” Kroening said.