Schey Sales Centre offers students top sales education, prep for future work
The Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre, housed in the College of Business, prepares Ohio University students for their next steps after graduation by providing hands-on sales and professional development experiences, which are critical skills needed in companies to be successful, especially now in a pandemic.
The Schey Sales Centre has developed and prepared students entering the workforce for over 20 years, and the students are seeing their hard work and dedication pay off as the center boasts a 100% job placement for graduating seniors with the sales certificate. Students use the transferable skills they learn through the center to land a role in variety of professions, not just in sales. The center’s commitment in helping students succeed is unwavering.
“Students experience hands-on learning and are able to apply what they learned in the classroom into real job experience,” said Greg Scott, director of partnerships in the Schey Sales Centre. “There are applied learning opportunities for all students.”
One company that consistently sees brilliance in Schey students is Lower.com, a modern mortgage company, whose CEO is Dan Snyder, an ’03 College of Business graduate.
Lower.com is one of the fastest growing FinTech, or financial technology, companies in the country and is headquartered in New Albany, Ohio. They provide direct-to-consumer home lending solutions to consumers in over 40 states today. Snyder created the company alongside colleagues from a previous mortgage company in hopes of creating a better home-buying experience for consumers. In just over a year since launching, they have brought on almost 200 new hires and continue to add more.
“We really wanted to build a financial technology company that focused on simplifying and optimizing home ownership,” Snyder said. “Our aim is to make home ownership more accessible, and it is working; our customers are loving the experience and we are growing like crazy.”
Snyder noted that recent college graduates don’t normally think of working in the home lending field. So, to keep up with the demand for growth he has found his own process to find new talent: recruiting, onboarding, training and promoting recent college graduates.
“If you want to find the best talent, you have to be willing to put the work in to cultivate it,” Snyder said.
Out of all the universities that Snyder recruits from, he said OHIO’s Schey Sales Centre students come out on top consistently.
“We’ve found that students from the Sales Centre at Ohio University have performed two to three times better than the average. That’s why we keep doubling down on our partnership with Ohio University and the Sales Centre in any way that we can,” Snyder said.
Given the current pandemic, sales are still seen as a valuable resource in the workplace. Therefore, exceptional sales education, like that provided in the Schey Sales Centre, is pivotal in helping companies adapt in the new economic climate.
“I find it interesting when people study all sorts of disciplines in college but overlook the value of learning basic sales principles. Whether you are on a path to become a lawyer, run a non-profit, become the president of a hospital system, or manage a software company, being an elite salesperson will more than likely lead your business to sustained success,” Snyder said. “What the Schey Sales Centre provides is practical sales knowledge, that can help students regardless of their career path.”
The Schey Sales Centre is open to all majors to join and currently boasts 700 students in its program. Students go through an application process and an interview to join, and about 25% to 30% make it into the program. Students then take four classes and complete an internship to earn their sales certificate.
If students don’t make it into the program after their interview, the Schey Sales Centre advisors offer to give students critiques on how to do better if they want to reapply.
Recently, two students from the Schey Sales Centre placed fifth out of more than 75 universities in the 22nd Annual National Collegiate Sales Competition (NCSC), the longest-running university sales competition.
“We continue to see exceptional performances from students in the Schey, not just in the classroom, but on the national level in competitions. It is incredible to see and I am so proud of these students and of the growth of the Schey,” said Dr. Adam Rapp, executive director of the Schey Sales Centre and marketing professor.
The center historically performs well in national competitions, and this is their best performance in the NCSC in nearly a decade. It is only one of two programs in the country to place in the top 10 in every national competition in the last two years. Additionally, this year OHIO students Brody Gilliand and Grace Brezina had to practice and prepare for the competition from their own homes due to the pandemic. Gilliand and Brezina currently serve as the center’s student co-chairs.
“The Schey Sales Centre for me has honestly had the biggest impact on me throughout my college career. There is nothing else that can really touch what [the center] has provided me,” Gilliand said. “Being an organization as large as the Schey, there’s just unlimited opportunities for you to really do whatever you want to do and there are so many resources that come with the way we work. It has really been amazing to me.”
OHIO was one of the first to create a program specifically in sales education, and the center continues to focus on providing innovative curriculum and exceptional experiences for students.
“I am incredibly honored and proud to be the director of the Schey Sales Centre. With over 700 members and nearly 50 corporate partners, we attract some of the best talent on campus and place students at some of the top companies across the country,” Rapp said. “By providing over $38,000 in scholarships this past academic year, the Schey rewards tenacity demonstrated by students to ensure their future success.”
Those corporate partners, like Lower.com, recruit and work with students while they’re enrolled in the program, providing students unique opportunities to learn and find out what type of role best suits them.
“Each semester we have corporate partners come to our own Schey-specific career fair. That’s been incredible for me. I’ve received three different internships directly from our corporate partners,” Gilliand said.
Gilliand highlighted access to leadership roles and corporate partner connections, along with being able to compete in national sales competitions, as being crucial resources to him as a student, along with the faculty and staff that have helped him along the way.
“Would I advise people to join? Absolutely,” Gilliand said. “For every single person that I come into contact with, there’s value to be had, no matter your year or major.”
The Sales Centre was established as an academic center by the OHIO Board of Trustees in 1997 after a group of successful OHIO alumni met to talk about the need for sales education. During the process, Ralph Schey, longtime CEO and President of Scott Fetzer, followed the development of sales education and promised funding. In 2006, through the generosity of the Schey family, it then became known as the Ralph and Luci Schey Sales Centre.