Exploring Sales as a Career and a Major

By: Amanda

It is easy to hear the word “sales” and have your mind automatically jump to a stereotypical salesperson: motivated only by money, willing to do anything for commission, and making wildly unrealistic promises to close deals. Those looking to choose a career path often say they would do anything but sales. 

All of this being said, these preconceived notions are far from the truth for most positions. Building relationships, working to solve problems, and helping others are just a few characteristics that make sales roles fulfilling and worthy of considerations. Nearly every job has a sales component. 

Sales is becoming increasingly demanded as a career path, with more than 50% of college graduates’ first job being some type of sales-related position. 

Text: Sales as a career and major
Photo: coffee cup on wood desktop

UMD’s Labovitz School of Business and Economics (LSBE) has a Sales minor, Sales Club, and newly established Sales major, making this the ideal time to pursue a Professional Sales career. 

Through the Professional Sales Program, students are taught analytical skills to meet the customer’s needs, gain experience with data analysis to facilitate buying decisions, and are exposed to customer relationship management systems. While all of these technical skills are great, arguably the largest benefit to students through this program is the real-world exposure and networking it provides. Students in the program are given the opportunity to work on projects for companies, participate in mock presentations at local and national competitions, and interface with industry professionals. 

Personally, I am majoring in both Marketing and Sales. I am excited to be apart of the Professional Sales Program at LSBE and I know it is going to be a perfect fit for me for a variety of reasons. I am passionate about connecting and building relationships with others. I know each person has their own story to tell and I go into conversations curious to connect and learn more. Sales is a perfect way to connect my analytical mindset to my love for working with others. Through a Sales internship position with CUNA Mutual Group this past summer, additional job shadowing opportunities, joining the Sales Club at UMD, and an upcoming Sales internship with Land O’Lakes for summer 2020, I have been able to fully delve into a variety of sales areas. By no means am I close to an expert in sales, but I have learned a few things along the way. Based on what I have learned, if you are considering a career path in sales, think about the following ideas: 

  1. We sell to our coworkers and managers all the time. Whether it be a new idea for the office or a proposed team bonding activity, we are basically selling on a day to day basis in some way. 
  2. Think about how you interact with others. Do people find it easy to talk to you? Maybe you’re good at remembering details about people you just met. 
  3. Consider how you manage your goals. If you are thinking of pursuing a career in sales, it is critical to be driven to succeed. A large piece of this is being able to set goals, break them down into actionable steps, and reach them successfully.
  4. How do you solve problems?  Think about the times in your professional and personal life when you have had an issue come up. In sales, it is often helpful to be able to look at a problem and come up with innovative solutions quickly, while also weighing alternatives. 
  5. Look at your personality. In sales, it is common to hear no, or a negative response, on a regular basis. It is important to be upbeat and be able to power through setbacks. Salespeople are also passionate. Passionate about changing lives, making an impact, growing their careers and the product or service they are working with. 

Hopefully, these ideas have helped you figure out whether a career in sales could be the right fit for you. Here at Career & Internship Services, we understand choosing a major, minor, or career path is not an easy decision. We are here to help you through every step of the way. Stop by Solon Campus Center 22 to chat and make a plan today. 

Of Possible Interest:
Choosing a Major – all our blog posts on the topic
Turn Your Major into a Career; Boost Your Career in College – our Pinterest boards filled with articles & resources
• Check out Amanda’s Instagram takeover from her summer internship at CUNA Mutual.

Read Amanda’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash | Garrhet Sampson

What to do with an Organizational Management Degree?

By: Rachel

What is Organizational Management?
Organizational Management is a major within the Labovitz School of Business & Economics (LSBE). It can cover such a wide variety of areas that it’s difficult to sum it all up in one line, but here is the description provided by LSBE: “The Organizational Management major provides students with an understanding of management principles to direct the skills and efforts of people within an organization and to make strategic decisions that meet organizational needs.”  

No matter what your area of study is, chances are you’ll be working in some form of an organization. Even if you’re a freelancer who works alone, you’ll probably be collaborating with other groups. Organizational Management is about a lot of things, but one of the biggest points I’ve picked up on is that it’s about leveraging people and forces at work to meet various goals.

plant leaves; What to do with a degree in organizational management.

What can I do with an Organizational Management degree?
Since it is so broad, there is almost no limit to the occupations where you could apply your Organizational Management degree. To start with an obvious job title, you could be a manager. It may sound basic, but think about how many different fields that title could apply to! You might be a manager of a restaurant, retail department, accounting firm, construction outfit, sports team, health care office, or engineering company.  

Some people jump into the workforce by applying for management positions, while others begin in an entry level position and spend years working their way up the ladder. It is also worth mentioning that many companies have management-in-training programs where you might be cycled through a variety of departments and even company locations to build the knowledge and skills necessary for a leadership role. Some companies might pair you with a mentor as well. If you know management is where you’d like to be, a program like this can expedite the process of getting there.

Going back to what I said earlier, we will all likely work in a business at some point. Wouldn’t it be helpful to have a knowledge of general business areas, such as accounting, marketing, human resources, and economics? Wouldn’t it be beneficial to go into a job with some experience and knowledge of how to work in teams effectively? If you enjoy your job and would like to move into a leadership position, wouldn’t you feel better prepared for that role with some prior study of what goes into being a great leader? My education at UMD in the Organizational Management degree has already helped me grow in these areas.

Of Possible Interest: 

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Photo source: Unsplash | Syd Sujuaan

 

Major Exploration: Cultural Entrepreneurship (CUE)

By: McKenzie

The University of Minnesota Duluth is the home of a very unique major. Nestled in the College of Liberal Arts is a program called Cultural Entrepreneurship (CUE, pronounced like “queue”) which stands proudly within the Department of World Languages and Cultures. However, this still leaves people wondering, what is CUE?

Exploring a major in cultural entrepreneurship

What is Cultural Entrepreneurship?
This is a frequently asked question. Many folks know what “Cultural” means and what “Entrepreneurship” is, however few know what they are when the words come together to become Cultural Entrepreneurship. Cultural Entrepreneurship is much like social entrepreneurship, but what’s the distinction? Social Entrepreneurship disrupts existing systems while Cultural Entrepreneurship disrupts belief systems.

Applying the Design Thinking Model
Design Thinking is a cyclical model used for identifying, understanding, and unraveling problems. The model is used primarily in Cultural Entrepreneurship to develop products and/or services which best alleviate problems faced by the organization’s customers. Students learn to implement the process through practice in their coursework. Each semester they invest their time into projects for the Cultural Entrepreneurship Fair which allows students to have cultivated their problem-solving skills as well as given them the opportunity to produce a tangible product/service for the community.

The Process:

  • Empathize: Get to know your customers. Research what they want and what will benefit them best.
  • Define: Identify your customer’s problems based on your research.
  • Ideate: Conjure up as many ideas as possible, even if they’re outlandish. No idea is a bad idea because any idea could lead to the best one.
  • Prototype: Create representations of your idea.
  • Test: Bring your prototypes to your customers to conduct further research.
  • Implement: Actualize your product/service for your customer

Remember the process is cyclical. Repeating each step more than once isn’t just likely, but ultimately necessary. In order to build the finest product, you must work for your customer and their needs by constantly reevaluating how things could be done better.

circle graphic defining the design thinking model

Building a product/service (CUE Fair)
Cultural Entrepreneurship majors begin developing products and services early on in their college career. Students learn to implement the design thinking model and incorporate it into their process. Each semester, the CUE program hosts the CUE Fair for its students. The fair gives students the opportunity to present their work to business professionals, many of whom are based in the local community, in order to receive feedback and make connections with other entrepreneurs. Furthermore, some students will apply for the UMD Shark Tank, instead of participating in the fair, and selected students compete for money by presenting their project to a panel of professionals.

The CUE Fair event is listed each semester on the Cultural Entrepreneurship Facebook page.

Securing an internship
Internships are an important piece of the Cultural Entrepreneurship major. Many students work with local business, entrepreneurs, and startups to learn integral skills for their post-graduate careers. This work prepares students for their future careers–whether it be building their own business or following a different path.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read McKenzie’s other posts

Photo Sources: Unsplash | Jess Watters; Nielsen Norman Group

Navigating Human Resources: Part 1

By: Tori

I came to college undecided. Not just on what I wanted to study, but on if this was the best school for me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Duluth. It was by far my favorite school, but I felt so much pressure to get everything right the first time; to meet all of my expectations. Soon I learned that when it comes to expectations, they sometimes are set too high. And when something doesn’t go how you expected it to, you get thrown for a loop.

I didn’t expect to be a Human Resource Management major. Honestly, it was not appealing to me at all. I was drawn to business, interpersonal relationships, and helping others, but I couldn’t figure out where all of this fit together. And then BAM! one day someone (actually it was my Strong Interest Inventory assessment) said, “What about Human Resources?” and I said, “What about it?”. So I learned more.

Human Resources is the “umbrella” of all businesses. It is where the development and managing of an organization and its people happens. Some would say that without Human Resources there would be no business. There are 5 overarching sectors to this “umbrella” that stretch across all aspects of an organization.

navigating-hr

Recruiting and Staffing
People are a necessity to an organization’s success; without them, organizations wouldn’t exist. But how do you figure out who you want to work in your organization? This is where Recruiting and Staffing come into play. Recruiters look for and “recruit” qualified employees to work for their company and staffing makes sure we have employees whose skills match with open positions. Interviews, phone calls, brochures, questions, job descriptions, and first impressions all happen in this sector of HR.

Compensation and Benefits
No one works for free; aka there is no such thing as a free lunch. If we want people to perform services and do their job, we need to reward them. Compensation and Benefits is the sector of HR that motivates employees. Compensation looks at pay structures, which determine how much money you want to pay your employees for their employment and tasks accomplished. Benefits are the alternative, non-financial parts of a business offered to employees, this includes stock, insurance, paid vacation, etc.

Employee and Labor Relations
Recognizing state and federal laws and abiding by them is the purpose of Employee and Labor Relations. Understanding the government, how it works, and how to maintain positive relationships with your employees are all important tasks for this position. Remaining discreet and ethical is vital in this area of HR.

Safety and Health
Safety and Health HR employees strive to minimize any legal action that might be taken against the company by implementing safety procedures and health guidelines. Their main goals are to provide for physical and mental well-being and prevent work-related accidents.

Training and Development
Training and Development is the first step to helping employees feel at home. So much so, training and development is usually part of the on-boarding process. This includes making connections, navigating new positions, and learning the company culture. Diversity inclusion, performance management, and team building all happen in this sector of HR. Keeping employees up-to-date will allow them to continue to be an innovative part of the company.

If after reading this post you are interested in learning more, check out the Human Resource Major at UMD and talk to your advisor or the department head. Or come into our office and meet with a career counselor. They are more than happy to help you navigate Human Resources and all the nitty gritty details.

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Tori’s other posts

Photo Source: Unsplash|Jose Martin

So You’re Thinking About Health Care Management

By: Cassie (an actual Health Care Management major!)

There is a common misconception that working in a hospital means that you have to be a doctor or a nurse. Well, I am here to tell you that that is WRONG. There are so many more opportunities in the hospital setting than what you see on the surface.

Health Care Management is the section of the hospital that works behind the scenes. They are the people who run the ship, so to speak, and they make sure everything is running smoothly and swiftly. The jobs they do include things such as scheduling, clinic management, financing, data analysis, quality management, and so much more. If you don’t know what some of those jobs entail, don’t worry, I’ll give you some examples.

Clinic Managers
These are the people who organize specific clinics in the hospital. By this I mean the sections of the hospital like pediatrics or orthopedics. As a clinic manager you wear a lot of hats so to speak. You are there to keep everyone happy. You work with nurses, physicians, and patients to make sure schedules are working and to make sure that everyone is having the best possible experience. Clinic managers also have to attend meetings to make sure they are meeting hospital standards. A large chunk of this job involves rolling with the punches and being able to think on your feet and be flexible, so if you are looking for a job that isn’t the same every day this is something you should really look into.

Financing
Health care is expensive and insurance is very confusing and it can be very hard for patients to figure out what they need to pay and why. Working in this area of the hospital means that you help patients work through how they are going to pay their fees and you work through how insurance can benefit them. If you are interested in math or money this job would be good for you. In this role you get to work with people and you get to help them and if those are areas that interest you, this is something worth looking into.

EHR’s and Coding
EHR stands for Electronic Health Records which in short terms are the health records that are attached to each person’s health history. By working in EHR’s you are focused on things like technology advancement, data collection, and troubleshooting. You can also go into coding which is the computer language EHR’s are written in. This is less people focused and more focused on progressing health care management into the future.

Community Outreach
Being a health care management major means you can also go into areas of public health. This means you are focused on the overall wellness of communities and focus on getting healthy habits out into the community. This would be things like focusing on nutrition, physical activity, water quality, and laws & acts to enhance the influence of health care. This area of health care really focuses on working in a team to decide how to benefit the lives of the community that you serve.

I know I’ve thrown a lot of information at you, and I want to emphasize just a few of the jobs and job areas that a health care management major can offer. The nice thing about a health care management degree is that you have SO many options of things to do. I hope you really consider this major because it is a field that is always growing and a field that allows you to help people and help the health care field.

Of Possible Interest

Read Cassie’s other posts

Career Planning for Business Majors

Are you one of the many students on the UMD campus with a business major? Odds are, you are. Our campus offers an array of business majors ranging from Accounting to Health Care Management to Economics to Marketing Analtyics. We’ve put together a few resources to help you through the career planning process. Included are: what you can do with your major, upcoming career fairs, and general job/intern search information.  Have fun working on your career plan!

Internship Programs – a lot of companies have internship programs that happen every year. We have listings (Minnesota, Regional, National) of some of these companies on our Internships page to get you started.

What Can I do With This Major In... Accounting, Economics, Finance, Human Resource Management, Logistics/Supply Chain, Management, Management Information Systems, Marketing

Business Majors

Read! Read! Read! Know what’s going on in your intended industry. Keeping up with trends and major happenings can be a key part of your networking and job/internship search preparation.

Career Fairs

Other Helpful Career Planning Articles

Photo source

When “Plan A” Doesn’t Work

By: Annie

Finding an internship is a stressful process, especially when you don’t know where or how to start. People might be giving you all kinds of advice on where to look for openings, how to write a resume, what to do in an interview, and so on. Many students attempt to navigate finding an internship while sitting neck deep in schoolwork and other responsibilities. If you feel like you are walking through a flooded corn maze, you are not alone.

Last year, I set a goal to find an internship for this past summer. I updated my resume, used connections in my network, attended career fairs, and I got several job leads that led to interviews. I was on the right track, right? Well, my search took place during a 19-credit semester (this was a lot for me). Managing my time has never been one of my strengths. It seemed like I was either on top of my internship search or my studying, but never both. Overwhelming myself made for a less than ideal end to my semester. My goal to have a summer internship was not met. It was not for lack of effort, but a combination of many factors. Regardless, I was in need of a new approach for finding an internship (now for the fall semester).

Interning during the school year is much different than interning in the summer. Having the time and reliable transportation becomes more difficult with school and no car.

The first thing I did was sought out someone who could help me modify my plan. Ellen, a Career Counselor in our office, made these two suggestions:

  1. Develop a proposal to create a marketing intern position where I was already working (Career & Internship Services)
  2. Read All Work, No Pay by Lauren Berger, the Intern Queen

The first suggestion was something I had never thought of before. It made a lot of sense because it eliminated my transportation issues, I already knew my co-workers and how the office worked, and there was a need for increasing our marketing efforts. Getting creative about where I looked for an internship is what brought me to my current position as the marketing intern for Career & Internship Services.

The second suggestion, reading the book, was helpful because it was a reliable source that supported many of the things I had heard about internships. As you can see from my experience, there is not one way to get a position as an intern. If you are getting different information about what to do, it can make the process more difficult than it has to be. In All Work, No Pay, Lauren Berger maps out the basic elements of an internship search. From preparing for your search to working as an intern, this book is an excellent navigation tool. The first chapter really struck home with me because it gave me a new perspective on managing my time (something I desperately needed). Having the time for an internship with school and work was one of my biggest concerns. Berger’s clever visuals, helpful checklists, and personal experiences make for an easy, beneficial read. In case you haven’t caught on, I would highly recommend reading this book!

Working as an intern is an important part of transitioning into the professional world, but don’t let it overwhelm you. Set a goal, make a plan, and be flexible to adjusting that plan as you go. Opportunities are everywhere; you just need to find the one that fits for you!

Of Possible Interest: 

Read Annie’s other posts