Story by Nicole Cooke, Copy Editor
After three years of hosting the State Farm Marketing and Sales Competition at UCM, two UCM students have won the overall title for the first time Oct. 26.
Senior marketing majors Eli Clark and Andrea Hamilton received a trophy for first place overall team, which is a result of averaging both of their scores from the day’s competition events.
The competition had two sections.
The first was presenting a prepared integrated marketing communication plan, which focused on a social media plan, to a panel of judges.
The second part was a sales role play, where they were given a scenario and had to sell auto insurance to a “buyer.” Sales role play was split into two rounds.
Clark and Hamilton were selected to represent UCM last April after an application process.
Their participation in the sales class and their individual success in the Federated Insurance Sales Competition helped secure their spots in the State Farm competition.
Once they were selected, they began to prepare.
Although they would be competing separately, the pair met several times over the summer.
When classes were back in session, they practiced twice a week for two hours with their coaches, Cheryl Shattuck, assistant professor of marketing, Lindsay Copeland, graduate assistant in the Department of Economics, Finance and Marketing, and Charlie Schwepker, professor of marketing.
Each student thought that one aspect of the competition was harder than the other. For Clark, it was the sales role play.
“It was more challenging because with the [marketing] plan you got there and made your presentation that you had prepared,” Clark said. “But with the sales role play, you’re in there with an actor and you have to sell insurance to them and you don’t know what they’re going to be like.”
To prepare for the sales role play, the team had other marketing students come in during their practices. The other students acted as buyers so they had different people to practice selling to.
However, Hamilton thought that presenting the marketing plan was more difficult.
“I thought the IMC was harder for me personally because it’s a lot on you individually to come up with a new creative idea,” Hamilton said. “Creating something that’s unique was a challenge.”
UCM’s competitors’ included students from the University of Missouri, Wake Forest University, University of Southern California, Western Michigan University, Duquesne, Louisiana State University, University of Northern Colorado, and the University of Houston.
Clark and Hamilton not only succeeded as a team against several big name schools, but they also placed in events individually.
Clark was awarded $2,500 for second place in the IMC plan. He also received $1,500 for placing second in the Best Individual – Overall Performance category, which is a combined score from both performances.
Hamilton was awarded $2,500 for second place in sales role play. The pair also obtained UCM’s first overall team win in the competition.
“It was so exciting [to be the first UCM team to win] against bigger universities with actual sales programs, because it’s a representation of all business students especially, but all students at UCM,” Hamilton said. “To be able to win for the first time was so neat. It’s such a great validation of our professors and the student body to be able to compete against big name schools.”
The State Farm competition allows students the opportunity to challenge themselves, as well as earn money to help pay for school. For Clark, it applied to his career goals.
“I am looking into going into sales in my career, so any experience you can get in that is going to be helpful,” Clark said. “It was also great to network with students from other schools and sales professionals.”
Schwepker agreed that experiences like the State Farm competition can be very beneficial to students.
“I think it helps make them better prepared for a career. It’s a great learning experience and it’ll look good on a resume,” Schwepker said. “As a student, you ask yourself, what are the ways I can improve myself, make myself more employable, how can I set myself apart. Doing things like this competition can help students do that.”