The St. Ambrose University Business and Healthcare Sales Program has been elevated to full membership in the University Sales Center Alliance (USCA), joining 55 other college and university programs in the U.S. and an additional three in Europe.
Launched in the fall of 2016, the St. Ambrose program is the only undergraduate sales degree program in the state of Iowa with full USCA status.
"St. Ambrose University's Sales Center has met the rigorous requirements for full membership in the community of sales educators who are dedicated to advancing the sales profession through teaching, research, and outreach," USCA President Andrea Dixon, PhD, said in a letter announcing the St. Ambrose program's elevation from associate membership.
The USCA was formed in 2002 with nine foundational members. It seeks to advance its mission of "enhancing the sales profession through setting and monitoring sales program standards, sharing best practices, enhancing sales curricula, and preparing students for a career in sales."
Maritza Espina, PhD, Dean of the St. Ambrose College of Business, said the program's new status follows a Fall 2020 visit by USCA officers. The growing strength of the Sales program, its students, and its faculty were accentuated by the COB's move to the new McMullen Hall, which features a state-of-the-art Sales Lab, Espina said.
"We had to demonstrate we have faculty members who are qualified and engaged in scholarship and service, and that we had curriculum and resources in place," said the dean. "Then we had to show our students compete in national sales competitions, and succeed."
Since the program's inception, SAU sales students have competed and won honors in events such as the International College Sales Competition and the Collegiate World Cup of Sales.
"Our students are well prepared," Espina said. "They compete and they succeed."
More importantly, graduates compete in the workplace. The vast majority of the program's 30 graduates have been hired by regional employers who provide internships and experiential learning opportunities to SAU sales students. Those employers also continually marvel at the head start the sales program offers sales staff they previously spent years training for work.
"Sales are a skill. Having a professional education in that skill set is a huge competitive advantage," attested Dusty Brown, director of sales for Flex-Pack, a Midwest regional distributor of industrial packaging solutions, facility and safety supplies.
Noted Espina, "The community and employers recognize the quality of our program as well. Our students find internships, they find great jobs when they graduate. It is a strong, innovative program and not one you'll see at many universities."
The program's full USCA membership is further proof of the program's quality.
"It is a seal of quality," Espina said. "We knew we had a strong program but it's always good to have external confirmation."