Two students from The University of New Mexico’s Anderson School of Business recently took top honors in the Fall 2020 RNMKRS (pronounced “Rainmakers”) international College Sales Skills Competition.
Ryan Mora, a senior who just completed his BBA in marketing in December, won the award for student leadership excellence. He also represented UNM at the RNMKRS Rising Stars event. Hussam Amer, also a senior working toward his bachelor’s degree in general business, placed in the top 5 percent worldwide and was the top performing student from UNM. Amer will receive a $500 scholarship from the UNM Center for Sales and Business Development.
RNMKRS integrated Alex Taylor, an artificially intelligent customer bot, in simulations where students learn and practice selling and communicating with Alex using voice activations on their cellphones. Alex listens, adapts and responds, allowing students to train virtually. Real-time scoring allowed coaches to see how their students were doing as they practiced building rapport, empathy and trust with the customer bot. Students benefited from instant feedback on their performance, and coaches were able to concentrate on teaching the concepts that students need to succeed in business.
Mora commented on his RNMKRS experience: "I was impressed by the commitment of my fellow classmates and the RNMKRS Rising Stars Group in their efforts to help one another succeed. I created the LinkedIn group to give us a space to share best practices, which helped us all perform better."
“I enjoyed the real-world experience the RNMKRS competition provided,” added Amer. “I feel proud of the result.”
Dimitri Kapelianis, Ph.D., Anderson associate professor, served as RNMKRS team coach. “I was incredibly impressed by our students’ commitment to mastering the sales process for the RNMKRS competition: over the course of the semester they collectively logged more than 500 training sessions with Alex the A.I. bot,” he said. “The group they created was an added benefit, where they shared best practices and tips with each other.”
The worldwide sales competition recognizes students for their skills and draws employers including Dell, Gartner, Herc Rentals, Tom James, TTi, EMI and YRC Worldwide so they can hand select students for jobs.
In total, 40 Anderson students competed in the international sales competition, among more than 2,100 global competitors.
“Fifty-nine schools and 2,176 students competed, and the number of practice rounds students played this semester shot through the roof - over 40,000!” said Stefanie Boyer, RNMKRS co-founder and Bryant University professor. “Many students used the bot as a companion to talk to when distancing and this gave them a competitive advantage.”
The Spring 2021 RNMKRS sales competition is slated for April 14-15.