Penn State Harrisburg MBA student takes first place in sales competition

With 37 other business students competing from across the northeastern United States, Irenitemi Famadewa, an MBA student in the School of Business Administration at Penn State Harrisburg, took the top position in the third annual Bloomsburg University BU/UPS Sales Competition in March. 

The competitors were narrowed down to the top three, and after the final round, Famadewa was judged to be the top competitor in the rigorous challenge. 

Famadewa is an international student from Lagos, Nigeria, who graduated from 

Penn State Harrisburg in December with a Marketing degree and Computer Science minor. She is now enrolled in the MBA program and plans to graduate in spring 2019.

“My role in the competition was to be an account executive for UPS,” reports Famadewa, explaining that her job was to convince three members of a company, including a customer care manager, operations manager and CEO, to make the switch from their current provider to UPS. 

To do that, she had to conduct a high-powered 15-minute sales call with each individual to see how UPS services could fit into their current operations. To match the company with the best solution, it was important that Famadewa had enough product knowledge of the solutions that UPS offers in the marketplace. 

With judges from UPS, she had to have a strong, well-targeted approach. It may have been an exercise in role-playing, but it had to be reality-based. 

“This was an opportunity for students to use their knowledge, but also their soft skills that relate to presentation, composure, speaking well, having confidence and being polished. In all these areas, “Temi” excelled and received the top honors,” says Darrell E. Bartholomew, professor of marketing at Penn State Harrisburg and faculty advisor for Pi Sigma Epsilon (PSE), the fraternity for sales, marketing, and management. 

Bartholomew points out that it was the first time Penn State Harrisburg students had competed in the event. 

“This is a nice regional competition that allowed us to compete with other universities from the northeastern U.S. In addition to the competition, there was a career fair with employers, like UPS, Tom James, Eli Lilly, Gartner, Sprint, Quadrant EPP USA, CED, and ADP, that offered a good networking opportunity,” adds Bartholomew. 

The competition was also a great way for the Pi Sigma Epsilon chapter at Penn State Harrisburg to demonstrate to potential employers their business skills in a setting that offered a mock sales presentation of UPS to potential business customers.

Among the other Penn State Harrisburg students participating in the competition were Jacob Nickalls, Samuel Krauter, Amin Ali and Cameron Eaby. Nickalls finished among the top 12 competitors.

Famadewa’s short term career goal is to land an internship for the summer, while her long term goal would be to find a job that mixes marketing with new technology. “I love what IBM is currently doing with Watson Marketing,” she said.

The key to her success in the competition was to use her skills in active listening, empathy, and precise communication. Making a good sales call takes confidence, which she has honed in her years at Penn State Harrisburg. She hopes that taking the top prize in the competition will give her exposure for recruiters and the possibility of exciting internship opportunities.

“All the training with my professor Dr. Bartholomew, as well as well the constant practice with other PSE members, helped me tremendously,” says Famadewa. 

For her victory in the competition, she received a new iPad Pro. She will also be fitted and measured for a custom business suit by Tom James, one of the competition sponsors. 

Setting her sights on her dream job, Famadewa would like to be able to make use of her marketing skills and computer skills in digital marketing and market data analysis. Thanks to a wealth of knowledge she has gained from working in the international student support services office, she wants to be able to start a business that fosters cultural inquisitiveness in the younger generation. 

“I'm not sure what the business would look like, but I'm excited to find out,” she says. “I 

believe it is an exciting time to be a woman in business, despite our current challenges. I believe my generation is taking more steps towards seeing equality in the work place.”

Employing the energy and poise that landed her the top spot in the BU/UPS Sales Competition, Famadewa puts in an engaging sales pitch for herself, “If someone from IBM is reading this article and they need someone who is super excited about the future of Artificial Intelligence in the world of marketing, I'm your [person].”