Niagara College shines at American Sales Decathlon


NC Sales and Marketing student Mark Hales won two awards in the top 20 final rounds at the Illinois University Sales Decathlon.

It’s a sales competition that draws a select group of students from top post-secondary institutions across North America and for the second consecutive year Niagara College has ranked among the best.

Mark Hales a second-year Sales and Marketing student from Niagara College was the only Canadian student to advance to the top 20 finals at the 2014 Northern Illinois University Sales Decathlon – formerly known as the World Collegiate Sales Open – and won two awards in the final rounds.

The contest drew 150 students from 21 different post-secondary institutions – including five students from Niagara College. After the first three competition rounds that began in February 2014 only the final 20 were selected to advance to the final rounds of the competition held Oct. 2-4 in Dekalb Illinois. His competitors in the top 20 were from American universities including Michigan State Baylor Ball State High Point Kansas State University of Akron University of Wisconsin-Whitewater and Northern Illinois.

At the finals students faced challenges in 10 areas of the sales process mimicking real-world activity that takes place within an entire selling cycle. Hales won two awards at the contest: third place in the Face-to-Face Role Play and third place in the Email Follow up event.

“We are thrilled to celebrate Mark’s success at the Sales Decathlon. He has not only been able to show his sales skills at the competition but he is now in a very strong position for job prospects after graduation” said NC dean of Business Hospitality and Tourism Vivian Kinnaird.

Kinnaird noted that Hales’ success is indicative of the strength of the Sales and Marketing program at Niagara College. “Our program provides an opportunity for students to focus on developing their sales skills both within the classroom and through extracurricular activities. These skills are increasingly sought after in all sectors of business” she said. “Students get the opportunity to engage with our experienced and well-networked faculty who go that extra mile to give them the chance to shine and recognize their potential.”

Professor Derek Spence said the contest was a valuable learning experience. “Students not only learn how to apply skills and knowledge gained from their course work but they are also able to learn how to effectively compete in the business world and set themselves apart from others in the job market” he said. “There are numerous opportunities for students to network with other business students and employers who are actively recruiting at an event that draws the best of the best in sales students.”

Hales 20 of Burlington said the most rewarding part of participating in the contest wasn’t just the two plaques he brought home from his wins but the fact that he has already secured job prospects for after he graduates in June 2015.

“I feel very honoured. I wouldn’t be in this position without Niagara College” he said. “I chose NC because it was the highest-rated college program for sales in Ontario and I’m a huge fan of the program.”

In 2013 Niagara College’s first entry into what was then called the World Collegiate Sales Open two NC students advanced to the top 20 finals winning two firsts two seconds and a third place at the event.

For more details about the event visit the Sales Decathlon website here:

Niagara College is one of two colleges in Ontario that offers a sales-focused business program. View details about the program here:

Niagara College offers more than 100 diploma bachelor degree and advanced level programs at campuses in Welland Niagara-on-the-Lake and Niagara Falls; as well as more than 600 credit vocational and general interest Part-Time Studies courses. Areas of specialization include food and wine sciences advanced technology media applied health and community safety supported by unique learning enterprises in food wine beer horticulture and esthetics. For more information visit



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