School of Business hosts second KU Professional Selling Program/King’s Hawaiian Sales Competition

Kelsey Cipolla, communications coordinator

LAWRENCE — Students from across the country participated in the second KU Professional Selling Program/King’s Hawaiian Sales Competition, which took place April 8-9 at Capitol Federal Hall.

This year’s competition featured teams from the University of Kansas School of Business as well as the University of Arizona, University of Central Missouri, Emory University, University of Iowa, Kansas State University, Loyola Marymount University, Marshall University, University of Minnesota, University of Nebraska, University of North Dakota and Texas Tech University.

Sponsored and judged exclusively by King’s Hawaiian, the events included an individual speed-selling competition and a three-round, tournament-style team case competition, which featured a business situation designed by the company. Winners received cash prizes and were recognized during an awards ceremony.

Winners of the team case competition

  • First place: University of Central Missouri ($3,000)
  • Second place: University of Nebraska ($2,000)
  • Third place: KU ($1,000)

Winners of the individual speed-selling competition

  • First place (tie): Hannah Besedin, University of Arizona ($300); and Thanh Tan Nguyen, KU ($300)
  • Third place: Brenna McCarthy, University of Minnesota ($100)

“We challenged dozens of students with a 90-second speed-selling scenario, as well as a complex case study,” said Kristen Helling, director of the KU School of Business Professional Selling Program. “Not only did the next generation of sales professionals deliver, they exceeded expectations.”

Last year’s inaugural KU Professional Selling Program / King’s Hawaiian Sales Competition was hosted virtually due to ongoing COVID-19 concerns. This year, students had the opportunity to connect with one another and network with members of King’s Hawaiian sales team and top executives in person.

“While hosting virtually our first year felt like an accomplishment, having the teams in Lawrence took the event to a whole new level,” said Zach Vitztum, director of sales and retail operations for King’s Hawaiian. “Each team represented its school incredibly well by applying their classroom learnings to the real-life scenario, and their performances were fantastic. King’s Hawaiian is excited to continue to host this event at the University of Kansas for years to come and build this into one of the premier selling competitions in the nation.”

Photo: KU students placed third in the team case competition. From left, Simon Miller, Phuong Truong, Thanh Tan Nguyen, student coach AnnMarie Growney and Ethan Schreiber.