After weeks preparing with her team to attend the National Team Selling Competition at Indiana University this month, Sara Schuham, ’20, says it was a thrill to finally compete on a national stage. 

“It was truly a team effort all around,” Schuham said. “The parts we each did individually at the competition were the product of the whole team collaborating behind the scenes.”

She, along with Lizzie Andre, ’20, Alex Carroll, ’20, Tanner Lacey, '20, and Xavier McCormick, ’20, used cases from past years to practice for the competition, guided by their coaches, Jeff Carlson, assistant professor of marketing, Adam Marquardt, associate professor of marketing, and Bill Bergman, instructor in marketing.

Because of their hard work together, Schuham was recognized as a top salesperson award. The honor is only given to three students out of the national competitors.

“It felt less like an individual award but rather a recognition of the work we all did as a team,” Schuham said.

She credits her coaches, and her team members, with the win.

“I couldn't have done my part without constantly receiving constructive feedback from the coaches and my other teammates from practice through preparing the final presentation, Schuham said. “I was so impressed with the way we all improved and were able to come together and perform our best at the competition. Any one of us on the team could have been picked as top salesperson and been deserving of it!”

The Indiana University National Team Selling Competition invites students from all over the country to compete, and is designed to give students a real-life selling scenario before they enter the professional job market.

Students proceed through multiple challenge rounds, restructuring their sales pitch to fit a client’s needs.

“For me, the biggest lesson from the competition was how important it is to be able to adapt for the client,” Schuham said. “We practiced each appointment before the competition expecting the conversation to go one way, but it was important to listen to the client and adjust our direction in the moment when they responded differently than we expected. Everyone on the team did a great job of jumping in and helping each other out when this happened. Active listening and thinking on our feet were very important here.”

Jeff Carlson, who coached Schuham and the team from the beginning, says that attitude helped her stand out to the judges.

“This is a great honor, and is only the second time that a Richmond student has been recognized for this award,” Carlson said.

A Robins School student last won the award in 2013. And though the team did not come home with the trophy, Carlson and Schuham agree they all share this award.

“It felt really good to be recognized by the judges after the hard work we all put in both before and during the competition,” Schuham said.

The Robins School has competed in the National Team Selling Competition annually since 2009, and have placed in the top three multiple times since then, including a first place win last year. You can learn more about the previous competitions that the Robins School placed in here.