Students attend largest marketing competition

Left to right: Chelsea Davis, Ashley Niznik, Justin Chapman and Julia Mallinak.

Photo courtesy of Dave Payne

Left to right: Chelsea Davis, Ashley Niznik, Justin Chapman and Julia Mallinak.

By Kaitlin Erdman

This past weekend, The University of Akron’s Fisher Institute for Professional Selling sent four students to the largest sales competition in existence.

The National Collegiate Sales competition (NCSC), held at Kennesaw State University in Georgia, is an 18-year-old competition for sales students from sales programs around the world.

To qualify for this competition, students had to complete core sales classes and submit a video of their sales roleplay model. Director of the Fisher Institute Chris Plouffe and Associate Director Dave Payne reviewed the submissions and chose the top four to attend the competition in Georgia.

Senior Ashley Niznik and Junior Julia Mallinak were chosen to represent UA. Senior students Justin Chapman and Chelsea Davis also attended as alternates.

Mallinak, a triple major in sales management, marketing management, and integrated marketing communications, made it to the quarterfinals in competition. Niznik, double majoring in marketing management and integrated marketing communications, was knocked out in the wildcard round just before the quarterfinals.

The University of Akron has participated in the NCSC since 2001. Nearly 70 schools compete each year and UA has done well in the past, winning in 2003 and placing in the top 10 for several years. Students attending the competition this year went in as the eighth-ranked seat out of 100 schools due to UA’s previous success.

Involvement in the NCSC provides an opportunity for sales students to improve their skills in a professional setting and network with business professionals from around the globe.

“I feel competing in the NCSC will greatly increase my career opportunities after graduation and this may be a once-in-a-lifetime chance to compete on a national stage in sales,” Mallinak said in regard to her competition attendance.  

Alternate competitor Justin Chapman agreed.

“I feel the NCSC and sales training from the UA Fisher Institute for Professional Selling has opened up amazing opportunities to network and work with experienced corporate professionals,” he said.

The Fisher Institute for Professional Selling is the second oldest university-based sales program in the U.S. and has tripled in size in the last three years. The Institute offers options for UA students to gain a competitive edge with sales certifications for specialty disciplines such as healthcare and engineering. There are also options for a sales major, minor and general sales certificate. If you’d like to learn more about your options through the Fisher Institute, go to or ask your advisor.