University News

A Record Number of Students and Corporate Sponsors Will Visit William Paterson University for 7th Annual National Sales Challenge from November 13 to 15

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales (RBI) at William Paterson University’s Cotsakos College of Business will host the RBI National Sales Challenge, an intense series of selling competitions and workshops held at the University’s campus in Wayne, N.J., from November 13 to 15.

More than 100 college students representing 37 universities from 23 states, as well as from Windesheim University in the Netherlands and Edinburgh Napier in Scotland, will participate in the competition. This is the largest number of students to date.

The competition is designed by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales to strengthen students’ sales skills and offer them an opportunity to network with business executives from companies around the country who will judge the events and serve as sponsors.

Every year the event attracts more students and sponsors. This year more than 60 executives from 17 companies will take part in the event, including new participants such as Oracle Corporation and Michelin Tires. The competition includes sponsors from technology, healthcare, retail, engineering, automotive, fashion and infrastructure sectors.

“Just like our academic program in sales, the National Sales Challenge continues to grow both in the number of universities and the diversity of our sponsors,” says Prabakar Kothandaraman, executive director of the Institute and associate professor in the department of professional sales. “Corporate sponsors are eager to participate because it introduces them to a new generation of up-and-coming sales leaders.”

The National Sales Challenge is one of the very few such competitions in the country and is hosted by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales. The competition attracts aspiring sales managers from colleges and universities that offer courses in professional sales as an academic discipline. Prior to the event, students compete on their own campuses in order to win the opportunity to compete in the National Sales Challenge at William Paterson.

Competitions include the sales-role play event, which will use a selling situation from sponsor ADP, and a speed-selling competition, which requires students to rotate through tables seated with company executives to pitch themselves for two minutes for a generic job.

The competition also features “table-talk,” where students in small groups interact with executives to discuss topics central to the sales profession.  The top four sellers will compete in a final championship round on the last day. To see a detailed schedule of events, please click

The National Sales Challenge will be held in the Russ Berrie Professional Sales Laboratory, a unique computerized multimedia facility that simulates business office environments in the University’s 1600 Valley Road building.  William Paterson offers a bachelor of science degree in professional sales through the Department of Professional Sales, and provides training programs for sales professionals in the Laboratory. In recent years, the degree program has boasted approximately 80 percent employment rates by graduation day.

The Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales was created in 2002 when the late Russ Berrie, the founder and chief executive officer of Russ Berrie and Company, Inc., donated funds to establish the program at William Paterson University. Housed in the University’s Cotsakos College of Business, the Institute represents a unique partnership between the private sector and higher education designed to advance the field of professional sales.