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A class offered in the College of Business Administration allows Marquette business students to obtain real life sales experience during their undergraduate years.
The main goals of the class, Professional Selling, are to understand the sales cycle; understand the myths and realities of the sales profession; develop skills in presentations, negotiations and question-asking and have the chance to practice skills during in-class role plays, adjunct assistant professor of marketing Alex Milovic said.
These skills are then translated to real life situations through working with local Milwaukee organizations, such as the Milwaukee Bucks, Marquette Athletics and Buena Vida Coffee. Students are able to make higher level business decisions while working with these organizations.
Part of Marquette’s Office of Research and Innovation is the Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship. The Kohler Center encourages innovation and creative cross-collaboration between students, faculty and staff from each of Marquette’s 12 colleges. Buena Vida Coffee is a not-for-profit company started through the Kohler Center whose vision is to provide fair prices to coffee farmers, support children living in Honduras and provide Marquette students with a hands-on entrepreneurial learning opportunity.
Tim Donovan, a student in the College of Business Administration and CEO of Buena Vida Coffee, has five students working alongside him to help expand Buena Vida Coffee’s sales presence in the Greater Milwaukee area.
“For Buena Vida, it is nothing unusual to have student help. We are exclusively a student-run business, so for us this is a great opportunity to provide more students with extracurricular work experience to better their understanding of the professional selling process. The program has been a great way to help both the students as well as Buena Vida. We have been able to grow as a company while students were able to apply what was taught in class to real world scenarios,” Donovan said.
Matthew Connelly, a senior in the College of Business Administration, said he enjoys working with Buena Vida Coffee because it is an organization associated with an awesome cause.
“The sales profession can sometimes get a bad reputation, but I think what we’re doing with Buena Vida really challenges that,” said Connelly, “We get to apply the sales concepts that we learn in class and use it to benefit such a great cause.”
Overall, Milovic believes students are enjoying the class.
“I often hear that students begin considering sales as an internship and/or career, that they enjoy the course flow and participation and that they find the guest speakers helpful in understanding what a career in sales might become,” Milovic said.
Many of Milovic’s students believe he is what makes the class so great.
Sam Brucks, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, had Dr. Milovic for Introduction to Marketing and is happy to have him again for Professional Selling since he makes classes entertaining, interesting and relevant.
Other students in the class agreed with Brucks.
“Dr. Milovic is one of the most engaging and interesting professors that I’ve had in class over my four years and he has done a great job introducing how the material we learn in class is applicable to the world of business and sales,” said Matthew Connelly, a senior in the College of Business Administration.
“I like the class a lot, but Dr. Milovic is what makes the class so great,” said Catherine Szuba, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration.
Brucks added that the class has helped build her confidence overall because Milovic gives real world advice on how to market yourself.
“Learning how to present and selling yourself or the company you work for is an important skill to have,” Brucks said. “Dr. Milovic and the topics the class covers has given me the confidence to go after internships.”
Providing students with hands on learning opportunities, like Professional Selling, prepares them for the future by infusing entrepreneurial minded learning into the classroom culture.
“We’re also really starting to explore innovative teaching and learning spaces where experiential learning will thrive and students will get out of the rows of chairs they are confined to and get out and change the world,” said Linda Menck, a professor in the College of Communication.