I, along with 22 other 3Mers, had the amazing opportunity to attend the inaugural University of Toledo Invitational Sales Competition this year. The undergrad students, most of whom had little to no experience in sales competitions, seemed to appreciate having an opportunity to participate, interact with sponsors and get competition experience earlier in their careers.
There were 31 universities from all over the nation that participated in the competition. Each one was able to bring two students to compete: a freshman or sophomore and a junior. This competition, sponsored in part by 3M, was the first of its kind to focus entirely on undergrads.
One of my 3M colleagues, Noah Thacker (a former 3M intern himself, now a marketer for our Industrial Adhesives and Tapes Division), wrote a case for the students to tackle. It allowed the students to sell 3M VHB™ Tape to an electric bus manufacturing company. There were five rounds, in which students continued to be eliminated as the competition went on. Each round of the competition focused on interactions with both the business end user and the distributor.
Running simultaneously with the competition was a career fair and one-on-one coaching and interviewing sessions. This allowed me and my 3M colleagues not only to share our real-world experiences with students (that’s a 3Mer named John Sebastian in the photo above), but also to identify potential future talent for the company. There was no question that we were extremely impressed with the raw talent demonstrated by the students. Their hard work most definitely paid off – literally, as the top five competitors in each category went home with a cash prize, but also with the possibility of future job opportunities.