Business Students Shine in Regional Sales Competition

Author Julia Shiels '24 is a Graphic Design major and works as a student assistant at JWU, contributing to JWU News.

Recently, five Johnson & Wales students competed in the Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition (NISC), a tournament-style sales competition for college students that provides a risk-free environment for students to put their classroom knowledge to use. NISC contestants are judged on a variety of sales skills, such as their approach and rapport, identification of needs, handling of objects, presentation, closing, and communication. The goal of this competition is to provide a setting for companies and students to meet, learn from each other and launch successful careers.

This year’s NISC took place at Bryant University in Rhode Island with more than 20 colleges competing. Each competitor completed a 10-minute sales pitch of a fictional company. Sponsor representatives acted as judges and evaluated participants on their demonstration of sales skills rather than the outcome of the pitch. The JWU team was coached by Professor Diane Santurri and Professor Kristen Regine.

Preparation is the Key to Success

Alex Coutcher ’25 is a Finance major who made it to the semi-finals. Thanks to JWU’s excellent business program, he felt prepared to take on this challenge.

“JWU has many great resources that helped me prepare for this competition,” says Coutcher. “First off, our coaches did an amazing job preparing the entire team. Beyond taking time out of their busy schedules to help us practice, they used connections and resources they had to get the team more insight into the competition. Towards the beginning stages, we used a virtual reality practice simulator that helped the team understand the environment we'd be going into.  We also reached out to professionals in the sales industry to get valuable advice on the correct ways to sell.  All in all, I felt extremely prepared going into the competition thanks to the help JWU provided.”

On the left, a boy looks at a laptop on a desk, on the right, a girl uses a virtual reality headset while standingTEAM MEMBERS AIDEN ANNINO '24 (LEFT) AND KYRA NORTHUP '24 (RIGHT) PREP FOR THE COMPETITION USING VR HEADSETS.

Small Classes Equal Big Impact

Caroline Kornberg ’25 is an Marketing & Advertising major who owes her strong performance at NISC to the team preparation meetings and the small class sizes at JWU.

“JWU played a crucial role in my preparation for this competition,” says Kornberg. “Our team convened under the guidance of our coaches, meeting weekly to delve into the competition criteria. Our sessions involved role-playing exercises and case study analysis, equipping us with the skills and knowledge necessary to excel in the competition.”

The classroom environment at JWU is designed to set students up for success, and Kornberg feels that JWU’s small class sizes have been essential to her success in real-world situations such as the NISC.

“One of the primary reasons I chose JWU for my major is the university’s commitment to providing an intimate learning environment,” says Kornberg. “With class sizes capped at no more than 30 students, I felt this setting would be conducive to my learning style. I’ve always known that I can get easily distracted, and I realized that I wouldn’t  thrive in a large lecture-style setting.”

Students and professors at NISC
Perfecting the Art of the Pitch

Aiden Annino ’24 is a Marketing major who also made it to the semifinals. He used provided information about one of the judge’s start-up travel bag company to tailor the services his fictional company, Insight Global, would provide to satisfy the needs of the buyer.

“NISC was my first in-person sales competition, but I still felt prepared going into it thanks to the opportunities I had previously,” says Annino. “Apart from in-class experience, our coaches were very helpful and supportive throughout the whole process. We had a great team of students and faculty working on this and I’m very thankful for the opportunity to build new connections and step out of my comfort zone."

Congratulations to these Wildcats for proudly representing JWU at the 2023 NISC!


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