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USM Business Student Takes First Place in National Sales Challenge



Members of the University of Southern Mississippi Professional Sales Program attended the National Sales Challenge hosted by William Patterson University of New Jersey – and walked away with several awards.

Maggie Gressett, senior marketing major and EAGLE Scholar, took first place in the sales role play competition and finished fifth place overall. Kennedy Lambert, senior marketing major, also advanced to the second role play round and scored exceptionally well. Maggie and Kennedy’s high scores earned USM a spot in the Top 10 University Sales Team Champions coming in at fifth place.

Reflecting on the experience, Maggie said, “In my 21 years of life, I have never felt as much school pride as I did that entire week in New Jersey. From first impressions on day one to the friends we made all throughout the week, I was so proud to be from a school where every single person wearing a USM name tag was kind, helpful, and humble. The connections I made at the competition will, I’m sure, last well into my adult life and career.”

Advancing from student competitor to now student coach, Kaela Barnicle notes, “Maggie and Kennedy’s dedication and growth mindset were showcased at this competition. Their performance contributes to the tremendous success that the Sales Program has seen this year.”

“My favorite part of the award ceremony,” Maggie mentioned. “Even above winning, was as I walked back to our table, we did the S-O-U-T-H-E-R-N chant… at the top of my lungs… to the point of hoarseness. One team.”

NSC invites 50 sales students from 25 different universities across the country. This competition consists of two main events: a sales role play with three elimination rounds and a speed selling competition.

The Southern Miss team walked away with several awards, both industry and academic connections, and even a job offer in Colorado for Maggie! Sales students incur minimal costs to attend competitions thanks to sales program sponsors. Sponsors for 2023-2024 include Cintas, Jones Logistics, Howard Technology Solutions, and Fastenal.

For more details on the professional sales undergraduate certificate, competing at collegiate sales challenges, or learning about the program, visit the LinkedIn website or email Kevin Buckley at

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