Central Michigan University senior Ben Devereaux's sales skills led his team to be the first Pi Sigma Epsilon chapter to ever win the PSE National Pro-Am Sell-a-Thon competition three years in a row.
Devereaux, a Romeo native, was named the top sales person in the U.S. by winning the competition.
"Winning this competition is the epitome of my college career," Devereaux said. "To me it means that when you go into such competitions, if you focus on the team and not just yourself, success will follow."
More than 400 students from across the country participated in the competition, which began in the fall of 2014 at the regional level and culminated with this event.
Eight students from CMU participated in the April 17 competition in Houston a part of the Pi Sigma Epsilon national convention. Seniors Hannah Carpenter of Flushing and Tyler Wallner of Lowell, junior Delaney Dillon of Walled Lake, and sophomore Jake Mitchell of Lowell also placed in the top 25.
By winning the competition, Devereaux was awarded $1,500 dollars and a $1,000 custom-tailored suit from Tom James Co., a sponsor of the event.
Making a national mark
Not only is CMU's professional sales program growing rapidly on campus, its students are being noticed and getting hired throughout the country.
Established in 2008, the CMU professional sales program has grown to more than 400 students. Those coming out of the program have a 100 percent job placement rate within three months of graduation.
CMU students are working in sales positions – both full time and internships – at more than 50 companies nationwide.
Mark Franklin, director of recruiting and talent acquisition for Dallas-based MultiView, began recruiting CMU professional sales students two years ago.
"As a Texas-based company, for us to start recruiting at CMU was something we needed to really think about but since CMU students are so strong it was really a no-brainer for us," Franklin said."
The first CMU alumnus to be hired full-time by MultiView made more than $100,000 in his first year. Three more students have secured positions with the company after graduation in May, and six more will intern there this summer.
"CMU students have the three things you need to be successful in the sales industry – desire, coachability and adaptability," Franklin said.
Devereaux says CMU's program has set him apart in the sales industry.
"I have been given a sales process structure sets me apart from other sales individuals. It already has through my internships, where I have set company standards, and will for the rest of my life," Devereaux said.
CMU's professional sales program, offered as both a major and a minor, features an innovative curriculum based on Carew International's industry seminars and workshops, with classes focusing on personal sales, sales management, advanced selling, and negotiation and organizational selling.
The Sales Education Foundation named CMU's professional sales program to its 2014 Top University Sales Programs list for the fifth consecutive year.