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ESC2020 (ESC): The University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt is organizing the European Sales Competition (ESC) in May. You are the responsible project manager. What is the ESC and why is the competition taking place in Wiener Neustadt this year?
Johannes Reiterer (JR): THE ESC is one of the most reputable sales competitions in Europe. It is a very inspiring event where sales enthusiasts from Universities (students and professors) and the corporate world are getting the chance to exchange experience. The University of Applies Sciences Wiener Neustadt has a focus on sales. Sales courses are an important part of the curriculum in several bachelor and master programmes. Our research is in the area of sales and we have a brand new Sales Science Lab since October 2019. Therefore, it is a big honour to organize such a great international event in the area of sales.
ESC: What is the goal of the ESC? What is the added value for students, universities and cooperation partners from industry? Is there an accompanying program?
JR: This sales competition is a great chance for students to develop their sales skills further. During the competition, participants are getting the chance to simulate international sales conversations with representatives from the corporate world. This is good possibility to get in touch with potential employers. Representatives from reputable multinational companies (e.g. Gartner, Sales Force Palo Alto) are attending in the event in several roles (as buyers in role plays, as members of the jury, as observers). The event includes the possibility of individual meetings between students and company representatives and offers companies the chance to meet talented students from several European countries. Universities and professors also have the chance to develop their international sales network further. The ESC is a place to share experiences in the profession of sales.
ESC: The active participants of the ESC are students. What are the study programmes of these students and in which semester do they study?
JR: The composition of the starting field is heterogeneous. Students from different semesters of undergraduate programmes are participating in the competition. Some participants are attending master programmes. The semester of participants doesn’t really matter. It is more important to have a passion and enthusiasm for personal selling.
ESC: What are the basic requirements for the participating students? Is there a selection process at the individual universities and are the participants specially trained beforehand? Is a registration still possible?
JR: It is totally up to the university how participants are selected for the competition. Some universities select students based on their overall outstanding perfomance for the competition. Other universities conduct internal sales competitions to select the most talented students. Another options is to participate in local or national competitions to identify the most promising candidates for the ESC. A lot of universities are offering additional training support for their participants. This is a great chance for students to get individual coaching from sales experts.
ESC: The competition deals with a fictional but very realistic business case, right? Is there a close cooperation with companies to make the business case as realistic as possible?
JR: The idea of the competition is to create a realistic scenario of a Business to Business selling process. The selling and the customer organization from the scenario are involved in the development of the case study. The objective of the competition is to sell a solution from Sales Force, the main sponsor of this event. The customer organization in the case study is an international operating trading company. The final case study will be launched in March 2020.
ESC: What is your personal goal for the event? What makes the competition an outstanding success for you?
JR: The main objective is to create an event which supports the development from the profession of sales throughout Universities in Europe. It should be an unforgettable experience for students to develop their selling skills.
ESC: Last question, can you give the participants a tip from your experience?
JR: Be prepared, be yourself – Just do it!
ESC: Thank you for the interview and good luck. In any case, we are very excited to see what great things will happen at the University of Applied Sciences Wiener Neustadt on May 19 and 20, 2020.
JR: I am looking forward to welcoming sales enthusiast in Wiener Neustadt!