University News

College Sales Students from Across the Country to Participate in National Sales Competition at William Paterson University

--Finalists will compete on November 16 from 1:30 to 3 p.m. in Sales Role Play and Speed Selling

Students from Zwolle, The Netherlands, and Newington, Scotland will join students from 21 states to participate in William Paterson University’s National Sales Challenge, an intense series of selling competitions and workshops to be held at the Cotsakos College of Business on the University’s campus in Wayne, N.J., from November 14 to 16.

The competition has been designed by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales to strengthen the 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. There will be approximately 40 executives from 16 companies participating in the event.

“We have more companies sponsoring the Sales Challenge than ever before. This level of response demonstrates a renewed focus on sales in our region, which is a strong indicator of a recovering economy,” says Rajiv Kashyap, Ph.D., interim dean of the Cotsakos College of Business.

The National Sales Challenge is one of the few such competitions in the country and hosted by the University’s Russ Berrie Institute for Professional Sales. 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 recent years, despite a depressed economy, students in the program have boasted approximately 80 percent employment rates by graduation day, according to P.K. Kothandaraman, executive director of the Institute and director of the National Sales Challenge. 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. For the first time, RBI is conducting a championship speed sell involving six finalists. 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, and other locations in the University’s 1600 Valley Road building.

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.