OSWEGO — A recently approved academic minor in sales will help make SUNY Oswego graduates more marketable and better equipped for relationship management and other key professional skills.
“This will not only improve our students’ job placement and promote their long-term career advancement but also professionalize the practice of selling in New York state and beyond,” said marketing faculty member Napatsorn (Pom) Jiraporn, who coordinates the minor. “A career in sales offers outstanding earning potential, flexibility and a good job market even during an economic crisis. Smart companies do not lay off sales people easily.”
Jiraporn said data backs up the minor’s relevance. Among SUNY Oswego students graduating in the past three years, 43% of marketing majors, 25% of business administration majors and 27% of finance majors earned sales jobs. Among non-business students, 8.7% said they have sales jobs.
The minor aims to provide knowledge and skills needed for students to perform sales-related tasks such as customer service, customer relationship management and negotiation. It complements Oswego’s School of Business emphasizing pitches and presentations in many of its classes.
The courses helping develop soft skills could benefit even those who do not take sales jobs, as Jiraporn noted that a survey study from LinkedIn found persuasion among the top skills that employers sought in 2019 and 2020.
The 18-credit minor encompasses six marketing courses, including three new offerings: “Professional Selling,” “Negotiation” and “Advance Selling.”
“The negotiation and professional selling courses will introduce students to sales-related concepts and skills,” Jiraporn said. “The advanced sales course is a capstone course for the minor, so it will challenge students to apply what they learn to experiential activities such as in-class role plays, shadowing sales professionals and actual field sales.”
Prabakar Kothandaraman, dean of the School of Business, “has years of experience in running one of the top sales programs in the country so he is well connected with sales professionals and firms in the New Jersey/New York area,” Jiraporn said.
“We also have faculty members who have had top management positions in sales before joining our faculty team, so we are confident that we have the knowledge and resources needed to help students succeed in this field,” Jiraporn added. This includes Maureen Melville, who will teach key courses and brings around two decades of sales, marketing and management experience.
Organizers expect interest from students majoring in business, education and communications, as well as others who seek to combine their majors with a sales component.
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