There were more than shiny trophies to be had this year at the Northeast Collegiate Sales Competition (NISC), held Nov. 11-12 at Bryant University. Back in person for the first time since pre-pandemic, the two-day event drew hundreds of students and corporate sponsors together for a far better prize: experiential education and in-person networking.
In its 11th year, NISC is a tournament-style contest that gives students a forum to showcase their interpersonal and persuasive communication abilities, as well as gain new talents through skill-building sessions. They’re challenged in individual and team events, from a quick “hire me” elevator pitch to round after round of role playing a 10-minute sales meeting with a fictional company.
More than 230 students and faculty coaches from 27 colleges and universities across the country participated. Stefanie Boyer, Ph.D., Professor of Marketing at Bryant University, is Founder and Executive Director of NISC.
“Every year, NISC brings together the brightest students from across the country for a competition like no other,” she says. “At Bryant, we’re proud to champion the next generation of sales professionals and link businesses with this top talent. While layoffs are on the rise and the job market is unstable, sales talent and development is still a major priority.”
The 2022 corporate presenting partner, Insight Global, is an award-winning staffing agency headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. Eli Doster, Chief Talent Officer, appreciates the event’s attention to training.
“Our most successful people at Insight Global pour themselves into their own development,” he says. “They’re in a constant state of learning, and that’s what a competition like NISC provides. It’s an opportunity to take action and develop yourself as a sales professional before embarking on your first sales career.”
In all, 20 corporate sponsors sent more than 100 representatives to campus for the event. Their mission: serve as judges and buyers during the role play and gain valuable introductions to potential future employees.
The latter paid immediate dividends for Bryant University junior Joel Blenkhorn: "The weekend resulted in me securing two internship interviews. I can't emphasize enough how valuable the practical lessons in networking, professional advice, and the competition itself truly were."
During competition, students were evaluated on a range of variables, including their approach and rapport, needs identification, presentation, confidence, passion, handling of objections, and closing. University of Kansas competitor Abby Struebing took first runner-up in the Spanish “speed sell” event and was grateful for the experience: “NISC was hands-down one of my favorite college memories. I cannot wait to compete in future competitions.”
The weekend’s overall champion was Middle Tennessee State University.
The colleges represented: host Bryant University, Arizona State University, Bloomsburg University, California State University-Chico, College of St. Rose, Indiana State University, Kansas State, Middle Tennessee State University, North Dakota State University, Pace University, Ryerson, Southern New Hampshire University, Temple University, University of Arizona, University of Central Florida, University of Kansas, University of New Hampshire, UMASS-Amherst, UMASS-Lowell, University of North Alabama, University of New Mexico, University of San Diego, University of South Florida, University of Tampa, University of Toledo, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater, and University of Wyoming.
In addition to Insight Global, corporate partners included: Gold Level (BUNZL); Silver Level (Atlas; Colony Hardware; Comparion Insurance Agency, A Liberty Mutual Company; Cox Media; Datadog; Eliassen Group; Huhtamaki; memoryBlue; Multiview; Nasuni; Paycom; Rogers Gray; Samsara; Shopify; Signature Consultants; Softworld, Inc.); and Introductory Sponsors Connection and SynQor Inc.