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Scianna Hall’s Newest Addition: State-of-the-Art Professional Sales Lab

Thu, 09/17/2020 - 16:12pm | By: Bailey Harris

In order to prepare graduates for successful careers, the College of Business and Economic Development at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) has established a state-of-the-art Professional Sales Lab in Scianna Hall that includes physical and technical instructional and research resources.

The vision for this lab is to create a technology-enhanced, flexible learning environment for students that facilitates the development of high-demand sales, presentation and customer service skills.

The Professional Sales Lab, located on the second floor of Scianna Hall on USM’s Hattiesburg campus, includes three rooms equipped with Internet Protocol (IP) cameras and noise cancellation microphones that capture video and audio of all interactions in the space.

The footage captured will be used primarily to critique sales role-play exercises but the technology can also be used to record other activities, such as mock interviews, research simulations and business idea pitches. Faculty and authorized personnel will be able to observe and coach students in real time or at a later time using the recorded performance.

Mounted outside of each room is a QR code reader that students use to scan their unique QR code prior to beginning their sessions, allowing the students and faculty to later access their recorded sessions via a personal student account. Instructors can add timestamped, typed feedback, allowing students to click on each note and “jump” to the specific point in the video to which the comments refer. Additionally, students can create e-portfolios that can be shared with program sponsors and employers to assist with placement in the sales profession.

The need for a lab of this caliber was initiated by the continued success of students in the professional selling program. This year, three professional selling students attending the 13th Annual National Sales Challenge, ultimately being ranked No. 4 overall, No. 2 and No. 9 in the Top-10 Role Play Competition, and No. 9 in the Top-10 Sales Challenge Champions.

The lab will also support the healthcare marketing program. Over the last four years, eight Healthcare Marketing students have been selected for Eli Lilly internships. The Professional Sales Lab will be instrumental to growing the size and renown of the Professional Selling and Healthcare Marketing programs in the college.

There are plans to have a grand opening ceremony for the facility once it is safe to gather in large groups. Anyone interested in becoming a sponsor of the lab, should contact J.T. Tisdale at james.tisdale@usm.edu for more information.