Marketing students interview during a job fair. The Marketing Department's Professional Sales Program boasts a 100% job placement rate.
Marketing students interview during a job fair. The Marketing Department's Professional Sales Program boasts a 100% job placement rate.

The Sales Education Foundation (SEF) has named the Marketing Department’s Professional Sales Program to its list of “Top Universities for Professional Sales Education.” The ranking appears in the 14th edition of the SEF Annual magazine, utilizing data collected from university sales education programs in the United States and throughout the world.

Most remarkable, however, is the fact that the Professional Sales Program currently boasts a job placement rate of 100 percent. Impressive numbers, considering the recent rise in the U.S. unemployment rate reported by the Bureau of Labor Statistics in early April. In contrast, recent statistics by the U.S. Department of Labor estimate that professional sales positions are expected to increase 7 percent by 2026, making professional sales one of the most rapidly growing job sectors in the U.S.

“Even in downturns we are seeing sales jobs being the last ones which are rescinded,” explains Brian Collins, director of the Sales Center. “With COVID-19, our sponsors have pushed some start dates out, but none have cancelled full-time positions. Salespeople are usually the last to fire and the first to hire because they are the ones that generate income for the business.”

To be listed among SEF’s top sales universities, a sales program must: offer a minimum of three sales-specific courses; receive an accreditation from an external source; and, have university recognition of the program. The Professional Sales Program possesses accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, Pi Sigma Epsilon, the Global Sales Science Institute, and is an associate member of the University Sales Center Alliance.

The program, which began in 2011, comprises both the Professional Sales Minor and the Professional Sales Concentration and is open to students in all majors.

“The importance of sales skills is something I realized early on in my career,” explains Rajesh Bagchi, department head of the Department of Marketing. “Selling skills are as important as product development skills, and although sales skills are critical for marketers, they are equally important for other professionals too. In fact, they are essential in our personal lives as well.”

Students going through the Professional Sales Program are exposed to rigorous and unique classes designed to hone the skills and attributes that top recruiting companies seek. Courses such as the Buyer Seller Relationship, Advanced Professional Selling, and Sales Force Management are offered each semester as part of the program’s curriculum. Students also have the opportunity to earn a spot on the school’s national sales competition team, which competes in sales role-play competitions throughout the U.S. each year.

“We are grateful to be the only minor with a corporate board that provides substantial financial support for our students,” says Bagchi. “Those companies recognize the quality of the graduates we have, and their funding makes it possible for VT to compete nationally as a premier sales school.”

According to their website, since 2007 the non-profit SEF has elevated the sales profession by planting the seed of providing sales education through college and universities both in the United States and worldwide. SEF proudly partners with academic trailblazers and industry professionals to establish and support effective sales education and has become a clearinghouse of information from around the world.

For more information on the Professional Sales Program, please visit the center’s site or contact Brian Collins at