Winona State’s Sales Team excels at national competition


Mikaela Mohr, a member of Winona State University’s Sales Team, pictured with a $1,000 check after taking first place in the “Sales Challenge” at the team’s last competition.

McKenna Scherer, Editor-in-Chief

Winona State University’s Sales Team won big at the National Shores Sales Competition in Maryland, the nation’s third largest sales competition, wrapping up their competing season for the school year.

Winona State’s Strauss Center for Sales Excellence, part of the college of business, has been recognized several times as a top program for professional sales education, including in the Sales Education Foundation’s (SEF) 2022 roundup. Notably, Winona State has a 100% success rate for its sales students landing jobs after graduating from the program, according to the SEF. In comparison, the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities also has a 100% success rate and the University of Minnesota-Duluth has an 88% success rate in SEF’s 2022 publication.

From February through March this year, the Sales Team traveled to six competitions, traveling in state and to nearby states like Illinois, all the way to Florida.

Mikaela Mohr, a marketing and sales student on the Sales Team, described the competitions as a whirlwind of activities and competing as soon as they arrive with unique opportunities outside of the competition too, like getting to enjoy sports events and nightlife.

“From my experience I’ve spent four days on one competition,” Mohr said. “Most competitions are provided with entertainment the night between the two days of competitions. From previous competitions I’ve been able to go to a hockey game, the official Perdue Farms, and even a waterfront nightspot.”

Of course, the Sales Team competes in hopes of learning and absorbing as much as they can and potentially walking away as winners, something Mohr is no stranger to following the team’s last competition.

Mohr took home first place and a $1,000 check from the National Shores Sales Competition hosted by Salisbury University from March 31-April 1. After finding out she was in the top five of all competitors in the competition’s “Sales Challenge,” snagging a coveted finalist position, Mohr and the other finalists were given a case to study and prepare for one hour before presenting to an audience filled with student competitors, coaches, judges and sponsors.

“The experience of being a finalist was beyond memorable,” Mohr said. “I remember walking out of the roleplay room with this personal sense of proudness – knowing no matter the result, I just did that.”

The Sales Team is typically made up of 20-25 students and for Mohr, the team dynamic is what made her win all the more memorable.

“The true moment of this entire competition however was walking into the auditorium of those who just watched my round live. Hearing the cheer from everyone in that room and seeing my team so proud of what I had just done, was the win for me, and I don’t think I’ll ever forget that feeling,” Mohr said.

Alongside Mohr’s first place win, Ben Prom made it to the competition’s semi-finals and Stefan Einarson was a Speed Sell Finalist with Mohr, further displaying Winona State’s skilled and eager sales students. Bailee Thorson, Kaitlyn Janisch and Aria Charboneau were also competitors representing Winona State’s Sales Team.

Director of the Strauss Center, Marianne Collins, is right there with the Sales Team every step of the way. As a founder of the team and co-coach alongside Dr. Mike Behan, Collins has led the team for the past decade.

“Dean Collins has played such an impactful role in not only the Sales Team, but in my own life as well. It’s because of her we even have a Sales Team,” Mohr said. “She is there to get us into competitions, coach us through the cases, travel with the competitors, and support us all through wins and losses.”

While Mohr has one more semester at Winona State before she graduates, she plans to continue surging on with the Sales Team in the fall.

“I plan to squeeze every experience I can out of it, as it’s truly changed my college career. However, after I graduate, I’m going to miss it, all of it,” Mohr said.

After sharing the news of her big win online on LinkedIn, she received more than 60 comments of congratulations, including a congratulatory note from Jenna Hahn, a sales ambassador and mentor at Salisbury University, a sales representative from 3M and others, as well as Einarson, who Mohr credits as the person who encouraged her to join the Sales Team.

“My advice to any students interested in joining [is] just do it. Even if you’re scared of not knowing anyone, or having the time, or knowing how to sell,” Mohr said. “We’ll meet you, work with you, and teach you. Just apply, join our team–you truly won’t regret it.”