Marshall Makes Its Mark at MIT Sloan Competition

MBA Students have Strongest Group Finish in Four Years of Participation in Top-tier Contest

January 17, 2013

Marshall students made an impact in the prestigious 6th annual MIT Sloan International Sales Competition this fall, with the overall team placing third and Alex Sotelo '14, placing second in the individual component of the contest, which draws teams from leading business schools across the nation and the world.

"I was ecstatic. It reaffirmed that I know how to sell and can compete with the best in the world," said Sotelo, who is concentrating on corporate finance in Marshall's MBA.PM program.

This year's contest included three phases. The first, a preliminary round in which 195 students from 27 top-tier b-schools including Columbia, Wharton and the London School of Economics took part, required participants to create a compelling five-minute telephone sales pitch in a hypothetical scenario. Judges selected the top three students from each participating school who were then invited to MIT Sloan in Cambridge, Mass., to take part in the final round, held on Nov. 3.

The two phases of the final round included a group case pitch in which participants were asked to role-play selling a global retailer on buying licenses for Microsoft (another of the contest's sponsors) Windows 8 software. Meanwhile, in the individual one-on-one phase, students were tasked with selling insurance analytics services aimed at lowering the costs for a hypothetical telecommunications company. The goal was to successfully meet with a senior vice president of human resources so that they could advance to a meeting with the company's CFO and CEO.

Sotelo, who said he had six years of selling experience as a founder of an engineering-based sales company focused on environmental cleanup products, credits Marshall adjunct Professor Steven W. Martin with inspiring the school's strong presence in the contest.

The three-member team, which included MBA.PM students Michael Exner '13 and Ryann Carissimo '14, were members of Martin's "Sales Management: The Art and Science of Sales" course. Martin has encouraged Marshall students to take part in the MIT contest for the past four years.

"This is our highest team competition finish in the four years USC has participated in this elite contest. Alex's second place finish is a great follow up to USC's win in the individual part of the competition last year," said Martin.