By Sarah Wang | Staff Writer
Residing within Baylor’s Hankamer School of Business, the Center for Professional Selling serves as a home for students majoring in professional selling (ProSales).
According to the Center for Professional Selling website, the facility was the first sales center in the country and is recognized annually as a top sales program. Offering education and professional development programs, it “strengthens the relationship between business and academia through programs tapping both areas of expertise,” the website reads.
According to Dr. Andrea Dixon, executive director of the Center for Professional Selling, the center was established in 1985 as the first university-built focus area in professional sales.
Dixon said ProSales is a competency-based program that has 13 higher-order competencies aligned with business-to-business sales professionals and senior leadership roles.
“Students, like athletes, have the opportunity to engage a set of muscles on multiple occasions in order to become more skilled,” Dixon said.
Dixon said she has witnessed the growth of the program since she arrived in fall 2009, when there were only eight students in the program with an average GPA of 2.7.
Along with other faculty members, Dixon said she worked to reform the program. They implemented a framework that resembles a high professional sales organization and looked for ways people could get and stay connected over time.
Dixon said today, as a result, there are over 100 students in the program with an average GPA of 3.6.
“We’ve been able to systematically grow the program, but importantly, continue to grow in a way that maintains a very high standard for the students involved,” Dixon said. “This allows students who come in to know that they’re with other like-minded students who are also interested in doing their best work and excelling academically at Baylor.”
While the Center for Professional Selling aims to provide knowledge and hands-on experience for students, members have also found their own “ProSales family” within the facility, establishing a lifetime bond among faculty, students and alumni.
Dixon said that when a student enters the program, they are matched with a “ProSales big” — an older student in the program. Additionally, they are matched with an executive mentor. According to Dixon, this means each incoming student is immediately put in a position where two people are invested in their success.
“Students become excited about the model because they get feedback and someone is pouring into them,” Dixon said.
Lewisville senior Sofia Reyes said her experience with ProSales has made her learn and grow in her professional life. Moreover, she said ProSales is a family because everyone is welcomed and supported along the way.
“It’s a great family because we’re all super different, but we’re all super proud of it,” Reyes said. “We are proud to support each other in our differences and see ourselves in our full potential.”
Reyes said she expects to enter the field as an account executive or a business development representative. She said she believes the real-life scenarios, competitions and networking offered with ProSales have prepared her sufficiently for future challenges.
“It has built me into who I am and who I am becoming and has helped me to become a more equipped professional,” Reyes said.
According to Dixon, a lot of the mentors are actually alumni of the program who wanted to stay involved and give back. Even though they weren’t at Baylor at the same time, she said the ProSales experience has made them feel they are connected to one another.
“When they say [ProSales] is the family, they mean its children of each year, who are all connected to one another,” Dixon said.