A couple months back I compiled a list of some of the best sales course available in the UK and Ireland and after a heated debate with a colleague from the US (where she challenged my Anglo-centric agenda) we decided to put our heads together to help balance the books once and for all.
So, without further ado, here’s a healthy offering of what our cousins across the pond have to offer when it comes to kick-starting your sales career:
There really is only one, rightful way to start this list and that’s just off the shore of Utah’s Great Salt Lake in a small town called Ogden. That’s because Ogden is also home to Weber State University, the country’s first and only school to offer a 4 year degree program specifically aimed at sales. Thanks to a generous donation from the Alan and Jeanne Hall Foundation, in 2013, Weber State were able to open the Alan E. Hall Center for Sales Excellence – the hub for the entire program. The 10-strong faculty, led by Professor Carl Grunander, offers 55 separate course electives, from fundamental selling techniques, persuasive communication and sales proposals to principals to retail merchandising and buying methods. The center splits its associate of applied science degrees into 3 categories: Sales & Merchandising Technology and Interior Design and bachelor’s degrees in Professional Sales and Interior Design – Professional Sales. Did we mention it’s just 40 miles from Salt Lake City, too?
Heading east now, we find ourselves in Ohio’s upper northeast corner in the town of Akron and the university’s Fisher Institute for Professional Selling. One of only 13 certified professional sales programs in the world, Akron offers a major and minor in Sales Management, a Certificate in Professional Selling and a Certificate in Health Care Selling. Probably its biggest selling point, however, is its housing of the Fisher Sales Laboratory. The seven room complex (six skill practicing with an adjoining lecture theatre) includes a monitor for each room, an intercom system for speaking as well as live video recording equipment available for all students. If you want to be truly prepared for the world of sales, Akron is definitely a place to start.
Sticking with Ohio, our third entry comes from Toledo and the Edward H. Schmidt School of Professional Sales. Here students have the option to focus on either communication/broadcast sales, financial services, insurance, international business, healthcare sales or technology. Their 7 strong faculty, led by Director Deirdre Jones, all bring professional experience to the table. A particular highlight is the program’s corporate partner panel series where the university is able to leverage some key industry influencers to shed insight into the industry.
Flying the flag for Chicago is DePaul University. Based out of their Center for Sales Leadership, both undergraduate and graduate students have access to a variety of sales education programs, split into two categories. First is Business Development Opportunities; a ground-up build of essential sales skills techniques needed in the field such as client communication, presentation delivery and product knowledge. The second is Category Management Opportunities, or the “science of retail” – a combination of consumer behaviour study, marketing and promotion strategy. A strong program with endless links and opportunities for further growth at Fortune 500 companies.
Last but not least, Texas. The Bauer College of Business’s research-based, custom sales programs expose students to a wealth of industry expertise. The program’s strength is research, with more sales-related work published in 2009-2010 than any other institute worldwide. It’s also host to the annual Houston Conference in Selling and Sales Management that draws in speakers and presenters not just from Ivy League backgrounds, but diversified attendees from across the globe. There are both undergraduate and graduate options both again, with strong industry tries.
So there you have it; albeit a very brief insight into one of the world’s strongest academic systems, it will hopefully give sales hopefuls a taste of what’s on offer over the Atlantic. Any further recommendations? Please, jot them down in the comment section below.