With entrepreneurial vision and top-notch negotiation skills, students in the Seufferlein Sales Program (SSP) at California State University, Chico boast a long reputation of success. Earlier this month, they added another accolade to their resumes by winning first place at AT&T’s second annual National Sales Competition in Dallas, Texas.

The competition selected 35 schools from across the country to compete in its sales simulation. CSU, Chico beat out schools such as Central Michigan University, University of North Alabama and University of San Diego, coming out on top against some of the country’s other top sales programs.

Led by SSP Executive Director Tom Villa (Business Administration, ’82), the National Sales Team consisted of students Ryan Brumfield, Kendall Harding, Michala Pelren, Xavier Sanchez and Hayley Weik. The competition included two rounds, the first being a virtual discovery call with a potential buyer, and the second round was an in- erson sales meeting to pitch AT&T business solutions with the goal of closing the deal.

Out of the 35 nationwide schools that competed, only 12 schools made it to the finals in Dallas for an exciting and team-building agenda coupled with fierce competition. They kicked off the event at Top Golf with guest speaker Chris Donan, vice president of national business for AT&T, who spoke about his journey with AT&T. The weekend concluded with an awards ceremony at the AT&T Stadium, home of the Dallas Cowboys, hosted by Alicia Dietsch, chief marketing officer for AT&T Cybersecurity. 

“The AT&T National Sales Competition was the most memorable event in my entire college career,” said Sanchez. “This competition gave me the opportunity to challenge myself, sharpen my sales skills, and grow professionally. I was able to connect with so many successful professionals and like-minded collegiate students across the nation. I’m grateful to have competed in this competition and would advise other students to challenge themselves before graduation, because the payoff is tremendous.”

Team participants got an exciting and in-depth look at AT&T’s headquarters, culture and continuous innovation, and also had the opportunity to experience what professional sales is like post-graduation. Participating in this competition gave students not only real-world sales experience, but also national recognition, enhancing their professional sales skills to make them ready to enter the work force.

“Our sales program has received national recognition with this win, and I am extremely proud of the students, faculty, and staff at Chico State that made this happen,” said Villa. “Our program is for all students enrolled in any college because everyone has a need to learn foundational sales and negotiation skills.”

The Seufferlein Sales Program received $10,000 in prize money, and each student team participant won $2,000 and entry into AT&T’s B2B Sales Development Program.

“Chico State is one of only two CSU schools with a sales program and one of a handful in California,” said Terence Lau, dean of the College of Business. “The Seufferlein Sales Program has transformed thousands of students’ lives by providing them the training and opportunity to enter the highly desirable B2B sales positions with companies like AT&T. This was a tough competition to win, and our students performed exceptionally well. I’m grateful to all the faculty in the College of Business for delivering a high-quality business education and especially grateful to faculty in marketing who dedicate themselves to sales education every day.”