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Professional Selling Program

Undergraduate - All KU Students

Mission and Goals

SEF Top Sales Universities BadgeThe mission of the professional selling program is to prepare students for successful careers in consultative selling. Graduates of the program will help consumers and businesses define their needs, understand and evaluate buying options, facilitate effective purchase decisions, and forge enduring relationships.

The program serves two broad constituencies: students and industry partners.

For students, the goals of the program are to:

  • Highlight burgeoning opportunities associated with a career in consultative selling
  • Equip them with the concepts, skill sets and mindsets required for consultative selling
  • Provide exposure to a portfolio of experiential activities

For industry partners, the goals of the program are to:

  • Identify graduates with interest and aptitude in consultative selling
  • Certify competencies associated with consultative selling


Certificate in Professional Selling

All undergraduate students at the University of Kansas, regardless of their major, can choose to obtain a certificate in professional selling.

Requirements for the certificate consist of a set of courses, a portfolio of experiential activities, and a reflection paper or presentation. The specific courses and menu of experiential activities are listed below. As detailed below, each activity has points allocated to it and students need to accumulate four points to satisfy the experiential component. In addition, the reflection paper or presentation will showcase the student experience and learnings while pursuing the certificate.

Required Courses
  • Introduction to Marketing (MKTG 305/310)
  • Sales Force Management (MKTG 315/425) (fall only)
  • Professional Selling Skills (MKTG 316/426) (spring only) or JOUR 611
Experiential Activities
  • Sales Panel (spring semester, 1 point)
  • Sales Summit (fall semester, 1 point)
  • Indiana University Sales Case Competition (fall semester, 2 points)
  • Job shadowing (both semesters, 1 point)
  • Sales Internships (2 points)
  • Approved leadership experience demonstrating sales skills (1 point)

Marketing 310, 425 and 426 are available to business majors only. Non-business majors must take MKTG 305, 315 and 316. School of Journalism students may take JOUR 611 in place of MKTG 316/426.

Is sales really a career? Isn’t sales cold-calling and getting customers to part with their money?

The sales profession is changing rapidly. Cold-calling and transactional selling are largely being replaced by solution-selling and problem-solving. Today’s salesperson is a consultant, well-versed in both hard, analytical skills and soft, relationship skills.  In short, wheeler-dealers are out and problem-solvers are in. Moreover, the boundary spanning role of the salesperson tends to be a fertile environment for future leadership positions.

What is the industry demand for sales professionals?

Some industry observers project that nearly 50 percent of all college graduates, regardless of their major, are intimately involved in the sales profession. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 1999 there were 12.9 million workers in sales occupations. By 2014, that number increased to 14.25 million. In addition, continued growth is expected as industries become more technology driven and service intensive.

I have heard that sales jobs are primarily commission-based. Is that true?

Yes, some part of compensation is based on commissions tied to delivered sales results. However, in the vast majority of industries, the variable component is less than 20 percent of the total compensation package.

Why do I need a certificate in professional selling to enter a career in sales?

A certificate in professional selling will expose you to the context, skill sets and experiences associated with a career in sales. Sales graduates are prepared for their roles through the highly specialized education and cutting-edge opportunities provided within the certificate. This ensures a high probability of success in sales. More importantly, recruiters greatly value the training and self-selection exhibited by graduates of sales programs. In fact, according to a survey of sales managers, sales program graduates ramp up 50 percent faster than their non-sales educated peers. They also experience 30 percent lower turnover.

Additional Requirements

Register for the Certificate

Register for the certificate

Questions? Contact Kristen Helling, Director of the Professional Selling Program, at khelling@ku.edu.

Grade Requirement

All certificate courses must be taken for a grade; credit/no credit is not permitted. Only grades of "C" or higher will count toward the certificate.

Apply for Graduation

Undergraduate students are required to apply for graduation from the certificate through Enroll & Pay, just as you apply for graduation from your degree program. Deadlines to apply for graduation align with the University Registrar’s graduation application deadlines.

Program Contacts


Kristen Helling

Director, Professional Selling Program
2152 Capitol Federal Hall
1654 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045

Professor Kissan Joseph

Academic Director, Professional Selling Program
2182 Capitol Federal Hall
1654 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045

Jennifer Jordan

Director, Business Career Services
Professional Selling Program Employer Liaison
1150 Capitol Federal Hall
1654 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
Contact Student & Academic Services
1160 Capitol Federal Hall
1654 Naismith Drive
Lawrence, KS 66045
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