Photo by Caleb Revill / MTSU Sidelines
MTSU business majors will now be able to get more hands-on experience in sales and interview skills after MTSU held a ribbon-cutting ceremony for its new Mel Adams State Farm Agent Sales Lab in the Business and Aerospace Building on Tuesday.
The sales lab was created in honor of retired State Farm Agent and MTSU alumnus Mel Adams who has supported MTSU’s new Professional Selling concentration. Adams cut the ribbon to the lab at the ceremony, opening it to be viewed by ceremony attendees. MTSU President Sidney McPhee and MTSU College of Business David Urban both attended the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The idea behind the sales lab is to introduce students to hands-on training in sales and interview skills by providing a sales scenario simulation that is recorded and monitored by instructors in a separate area. The lab is a small room split into two sections. The entrance area of the lab has a desk and monitor which can be used to observe the second section of the room where students practice their sales skills.
After the simulations, instructors and students can review the recordings and learn what it is that they need to improve on.
Laura Buckner, an MTSU instructor in the Department of Marketing, explained the function and importance of the new lab.
“This is where our students come to practice sales, communication skills (and) relationship-building skills,” Buckner said. “They’re able to videotape themselves as they role-play with peers or with business professionals. Then (they) can critique their performances, (and) we as faculty can watch and coach them better in the process.”
Buckner said that the facility will be operated by a graduate assistant every day of the week for student use.
“The center is open every day of the week,” Buckner said. “We have a graduate assistant who’s trained to not only video the students but to coach in real time. So they’re watching the students as they’re on their sales call practice, and they’re able then to engage the students and talk to them about what they felt like went well in the call (and) what they felt like they could do better.”
Buckner said that this reflection for students will also help instructors to improve on their teaching techniques for individual students.
“As instructors, we watch the videos so that we can get a handle on what do we need to cover more for (a) particular student (and) what we need to bring back to the class to make that learning more complete,” Buckner said.
McPhee said that he sees the opening of this lab as a “first step” in further improving MTSU’s already competitive Professional Selling concentration. He said that it is possible that the lab itself could grow in size over time.
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