New LSBE major teaches students to promote themselves along with their business

Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ 2019 3M frontline interns with Marketing Instructor John Kratz. Pictured from left to right: Alexa Hilger-Sawochka, Kaylee Wallner, Lizzy Fontes, Charlie Crist, Molly Arbuckl, Eliza Ebel, John Kratz. Photo courtesy of John Kratz

Labovitz School of Business and Economics’ 2019 3M frontline interns with Marketing Instructor John Kratz. Pictured from left to right: Alexa Hilger-Sawochka, Kaylee Wallner, Lizzy Fontes, Charlie Crist, Molly Arbuckl, Eliza Ebel, John Kratz. Photo courtesy of John Kratz

Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) has launched a new major this 2019-2020 academic year, professional sales, with an aim to recruit students from all areas in academia.

According to John Kratz, a marketing instructor and interim sales program manager, 50 percent of all college students, regardless of their major, will work in a customer-facing role sometime in their career. 

This means half of graduating students will end up interacting with customers, “and in business, we call that sales,” Kratz said. 

While sales end up becoming a prevalent part of many people’s lives, out of the approximate 4,000 universities in the country, only about 200 of them have one or more sales programs, Kratz added. 

“So, if 50 percent of all college students end up in a customer-facing role, why is it that less than five percent of universities have a sales program?” Kratz asked. “That’s a huge disconnect. So, what’s really driving our program is demand.”

He hopes that this new major will not only help give skills to business students but to students who want to learn more about promoting themselves in all walks of life, whether that be for job interviews or making strategic connections with people.

“Kratz’s favorite slogan is ‘everybody is in sales,’” Andrew Weisz, a student of business, said. “No matter what you do, knowing how to promote yourself to someone is really helpful.”

According to Weisz, an LSBE student double majoring in entrepreneurship and organizational management with a double minor in marketing and sustainable business operations, LSBE has been working on this major for a while. 

It took them this long just because they were waiting for accreditation, “but now it’s fully accredited and part of the business school,” Weisz, who also did an independent study with Kratz, said. 

“Since most marketing people tend to go into sales anyways, this is nice so they’re not just starting from the bottom and working their way up,” Weisz continued. “It prepares them for the future.”

According to Weisz, marketing and professional sales work really well together as double majors since there’s only about three extra classes to take in order to get the professional sales major with the marketing one.

“Sales is a great launching pad for starting your career because it teaches you skills for other opportunities,” Kratz said.

For the past two years, LSBE has offered a professional sales certificate and about 20 to 25 students graduated with it in Spring 2019, but Kratz has been wanting to expand this.

By Fall 2020 or Spring 2021, he’s hoping to replace the professional sales certificate with a minor instead. 

One of the biggest stepping stones to get to that future, however, is through funding. According to Kratz, LSBE has currently raised $375,000 for the professional sales program and are hoping to raise $500,000 by the end of Fall 2019. 

A lot of this money is coming from outside sources, according to Kratz. Private individuals who believe in sales education at the college level has been gifting the business school with funds.

“We’ve also had companies like 3M and Fastenal, who are in a high demand for salespeople, financially support our sales program a bit,” Kratz said.

With there currently only being seven students enrolled in the major, according to Director of Advising and Academic Services in LSBE Tracey Bolen, Kratz believes the major is on the rise.

“I think within five years, we could have as many as 100 students majoring in this,” Kratz said. 

To help build a community on campus for the professional sales program, the new major is launching a sales club and will be having a professional sales major open house on Tuesday Oct. 1 at 4:45 p.m. in LSBE 118. 

For more questions about the new major, contact John Kratz.

NewsBrianna Taggart