Published: May 08, 2018

The University of Tampa has announced a new institute tasked with the primary mission of educating interested students of all majors in sales methodologies and preparing them for careers in sales.

The Institute for Sales Excellence, based in UT’s Sykes College of Business, will have four specific functions: (1) prepare students for careers in professional business-to-business sales, (2) encourage networking between students and businesses, (3) serve as a staffing resource for regional, national and global firms, and (4) provide learning resources for local and regional businesses.

The institute will provide world-class sales education and training through relevant business-to-business (B2B) sales methodologies and research to enhance the sales curriculum in the Sykes College of Business.

“Industry demand for students with an educational background in sales continues to grow, as top sales program graduates have an average job placement rate of 92 percent, and more than 50 percent of college graduates will hold their initial job in sales,” said Stacey Schetzsle, associate professor of marketing and director of the institute. “The sales institute will offer UT students from any major the opportunity to develop the professional skills to meet this need, providing students with business readiness skills that will prepare them for the realities of professional business environment.”

The institute will feature a curriculum focused on the application of professional selling skills in an experiential learning environment, which allows students to encounter entry-level sales position through role-playing and real sales experience.

While the institute formally commences on June 1, already this year the institute staff hosted the Spartan Sales Challenge, in which UT students applied their communication and selling skills in an elevator pitch competition and a B2B professional sales role-play. The staff also coordinated a reverse career fair, in which students created their own exhibition with the objective of attracting recruiters to stop at the display, engaging the recruiters and obtaining the next steps for a potential employment opportunity.

Frank Ghannadian, dean of the Sykes College of Business, said he has been approached numerous times from employers and outside recruiters about sales training. “The establishment of a sales institute marks the importance of sales for our business students who venture into sales as part of their future careers,” he said.

Schetzsle added that a wide range of businesses in varied fields would have a strong interest in hiring UT graduates with a sales education. “Many of these businesses are eager to participate in the development and operations of the institute, including guest speaking, sponsoring events and providing training and seminars,” she said.

The institute staff will also offer programming opportunities for regional businesses to educate and train their sales staff. These events reinforce the collaboration between academic programs and corporate recruitment/sponsorship. This will be accomplished through seminars, workshops, certificate programs, as well as various networking events.

Lastly, the institute will offer UT faculty and staff learning opportunities, collaborative research ventures and industry connections. These opportunities will be extended to interested faculty/staff within the Sykes College of Business, and then to interdisciplinary faculty/staff as interest grows outside of the college.

The Institute of Sales Excellence will join five other learning centers or institutes that are housed within the Sykes College of Business: the Center for Ethics; the TECO Energy Center for Leadership; the Naimoli Institute for Business Strategy; the Lowth Entrepreneurship Center; and, the Florida Directors’ Institute.

For more information, contact Schetzsle at (813) 257-3145 or