Students Excel in Immersive Sales Simulation Program
As part of their “Negotiations and Sales” class, students took part in a unique and hands-on sales program, honing their skills by role playing with a bot. Several students placed in the top five percent of the thousands who took part in the program, earning the “rising star” recognition.
November 23, 2022
By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications
Wenka Vil ’23 had the opportunity to build her sales skills this semester by role playing with “Alex” – an artificially intelligent bot. Vil excelled, honing her skills and earning recognition as a “rising star” for her efforts.
Vil and her classmates in her “Negotiations and Sales” class were part of the RNMKRS sales simulation program. The 14-week program for college students enabled more than 3,000 students from across the U.S., Canada, and Europe to improve their ability to communicate persuasively through engaging and interactive practice. Vil, who was among the top five percent of all students in the competition, also had the opportunity to network with RNMKRS partners and mentors.
“The RNMKRS sales simulation program showed me what is required and needed to be successful in a sale,” said Vil, a business management major. “I learned about the sales process and how to properly implement it by practicing with an AI bot. I feel honored to be recognized as a rising star. My determination and work ethic have shown me that hard work pays off and never goes unnoticed.”
‘A stepping-stone for students’
When students interacted with Alex, the bot listened, responded, and adapted while scoring students and offering detailed feedback in real time, helping them refine and improve their communication and sales skills. Students could take part in the role play right on their phone, talking to Alex much as they would to Siri or Alexa. Students learned how they could improve and how they were doing compared to other participants.
“I have learned a lot from the simulation program,” said John Rossetti ’23, a legal studies major who was also among the top five percent of students in the competetion. “I’ve learned to be patient, and I’ve gotten to try new things in the simulation. It felt great to be a rising star, and I am honored to be one.”
The program is part of a “Negotiation and Sales” class and offers students an immersive sales role-play experience. Their professor, Angeli Gianchandani, M.A., a brand marketing and sales executive, is the students’ coach.
“Motivation and success are what drive individuals in any profession,” said Prof. Gianchandani, a practitioner in residence in the University’s Accounting, Finance, and Marketing Department. “In a school setting, it is critically important that we celebrate and recognize the outstanding things that students accomplish, both inside and outside the classroom. The rising star recognition is an acknowledgment of the hard work and grit it takes to be in a sales profession. It is a stepping-stone for students as they prepare for their own career journeys.”
‘A great opportunity to network’
For Hailey Polisano ’23 MBA, the competition was a great chance to gain experience. Polisano, who plans to attend law school and pursue a career in entertainment law, placed 18th in the initial practice role-play leaderboard nationwide, also earning the rising star designation. She’s particularly grateful for the networking opportunities the program offered.
“It was an honor to be recognized as a rising star,” she said. “Being in the top five percent of all students across the nation in the competition means that my hard work is not going unnoticed. It sets me up for success in a future career, since I now have experience professionally selling and negotiating a deal. There was a plethora of representatives from different sales companies across the nation, giving me the ability to connect with potential future employers to get my foot in the door.”
For Vil, the business management major, the program was a great opportunity to apply what she’s learned at the University in a unique, hands-on, and fun way.
“Practicing with the AI bot allowed me to implement my knowledge from the classroom and practice the sales process through a virtual sales call,” she said. “After each practice, the program allowed me to review the virtual call and it critiqued me on what needed improvement. RNMKRS offers students a great opportunity to network with businesses and other students.”