May 8, 2024

55 Huskers earn certificate of sales excellence

Program helps students develop in-demand skills

About two dozen university students pose on a staircase with their certificates of sales excellence.
Murengezi Atali Benimana | Business

Murengezi Atali Benimana | Business
The latest students to earn their undergraduate certificates of sales excellence were celebrated at a Center for Sales Excellence luncheon May 3.

Fifty-five University of Nebraska–Lincoln students have earned undergraduate certificates of sales excellence and were honored at a luncheon hosted by the Center for Sales Excellence on May 3.

The students completed 15 credit hours of sales coursework to sharpen their communication and relationship-building skills. Students can opt to take another three credit hours to earn an advanced certificate.

Student Success graphic

“I joined the sales program to push myself in my areas of growth — the art of thoughtful persuasion, connecting with any individual and identifying others’ needs,” said Jennifer Reiser, a senior marketing major from Waverly. “I learned incredible skills I can apply to practically every aspect of my life.”

Skills built in the program attract students from a variety of majors.

“We take great pride in the fact that the center works with students of any major at the university — as we all sell something,” said Kathy Farrell, James Jr. and Susan Stuart Endowed Dean of the College of Business. “Whether it’s selling our skills to a future employer, selling in our jobs or simply selling our ideas to others, sales skills are valuable. These students have a competitive edge in the job market.”

State-of-the-art technology within the Center for Sales Excellence role-play rooms allows students to practice pitching and receive real-time feedback on their techniques, honing their communication and selling capabilities. Students also participate in regional and national role-play competitions.

“Each of our classes provides hands-on learning experiences to students,” said Ravi Sohi, department chair and professor of marketing, Robert D. Hays Distinguished Chair of Sales Excellence and executive director of the Center for Sales Excellence. “Some of these experiences include role-plays, actual sales assignments with a target quota and networking. Additionally, through our employer partnerships, we can provide students with access to some of the sales platforms they will be using in their jobs, such as Salesforce, a cloud-based customer relationships management software, and xiQ, an AI software platform.”

Ryan Auer, a senior supply chain management major from Naperville, Illinois, has experienced the impact of his sales training on his career development.

“The interpersonal skills I learned throughout my sales courses enabled me to stand out from other applicants in the interview process and receive an internship offer with Dick’s Sporting Goods that turned into a full-time role post-graduation,” he said. “I will start as a retail business associate in their merchandising trainee program in Pittsburgh.”

Sohi said that more than 95% of sales excellence students have job offers upon graduation. Companies that have recently hired sales students include Dell, Deloitte, Gallup, Hubspot, Mutual of Omaha, NRC Health, Oracle, Sandhills Global, Union Pacific and the Walt Disney Company.

“Companies are pleased with the people they hire from our program and come back for more,” Sohi said. “It’s the highest compliment. They realized that students who graduate from our sales program have the necessary skills to succeed and are likely to stay longer in the sales role because they want to be in sales.”

The Center for Sales Excellence has awarded more than 350 certificates and 120 advanced certificates since its founding in 2013.

“Students receiving their certificates today are now our ambassadors to show others around campus and in the workforce what you can do with a certificate in sales excellence,” Sohi said. “I know these graduating students will do their best and utilize what they have learned. I encourage them to stay engaged with the program.”

The center has been named a “Top University for Professional Sales Education” by the Sales Education Foundation every year since 2014-15.

Following is a list of students who have earned a certificate of sales excellence, listed alphabetically by hometown, with their year in school and major(s). Students who earned an advanced certificate are denoted in parentheses.


  • Alliance: Charles Otto, senior, supply chain management
  • Bennington: William Huntley, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Columbus: Porter Discoe, senior, marketing
  • Cozad: Abigail Cornelius, senior, marketing
  • Elkhorn: Anna Hegge, senior, marketing
  • Firth: Noah Van Brocklin, senior, finance and marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Grand Island: Malaki Mileg, senior, finance
  • Gretna: Maeya Gydesen, senior, advertising and public relations, and global studies; Lydia Yost, senior, marketing and management; Austin Zorinsky, senior, marketing
  • Hastings: Mia Tillemans, senior, communication studies
  • Hickman: Paige Wilkinson, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • La Vista: Kaylee Bray, senior, psychology
  • Lexington: Eli Young, senior, marketing and management
  • Lincoln: Chris Chavez, senior, marketing; Alaina Lewis, senior, marketing; Caitlyn Pfeiffer, senior, marketing; Faith Wanninger, senior, accounting
  • Norfolk: Brady Jackson, senior, business administration
  • Omaha: Courtney Archer, senior, business administration; Cole Bieber, senior, accounting; Riley Efaw, senior, marketing (advanced certificate); Nick Frerichs, senior, marketing; Sabrina Gates, senior, marketing; Nathan Hollenbeck, senior, marketing; Jacob Kannas, senior, marketing; Reese Pichler, senior, marketing; Sean Sindt, senior, marketing; Chloe Wieck, senior, marketing
  • Papillion: Alayna Auch, senior, marketing; Rayn Craver, senior, marketing; Brendan Roberts, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Tecumseh: Eli Waring, senior, finance
  • Waverly: Jennifer Reiser, senior, marketing

Elsewhere in the U.S.

  • Centennial, Colorado: McKenzie Wager, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Highlands Ranch, Colorado: Madison Giacomo, senior, marketing
  • Oviedo, Florida: Gabriela Donahue, senior, management and marketing
  • Gurnee, Illinois: Evan Detina, senior, agribusiness
  • Joliet, Illinois: Nicolas Ragusa, senior, marketing
  • Naperville, Illinois: Ryan Auer, senior, supply chain management
  • St. Charles, Illinois: Joshua Schweizer, junior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Overland Park, Kansas: Caroline Gorley, senior, marketing
  • Cold Spring, Minnesota: Grant Martin, junior, accounting
  • Eagan, Minnesota: Christian Danko, senior, marketing; Jackson Hoover, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Eden Prairie, Minnesota: Abby Lawrence, senior, business administration
  • Edina, Minnesota: Eleanor Van Ness, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Lake Elmo, Minnesota: Erin Brandvik, senior, marketing
  • Maple Grove, Minnesota: Sean Bergstrom, senior, finance
  • Wayzata, Minnesota: Michael Walters, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)
  • Woodbury, Minnesota: Quinn Huppert, senior, supply chain management (advanced certificate)
  • St. Louis, Missouri: Ava Risch, junior, marketing
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota: Mary Kate Statz, senior, marketing
  • Yankton, South Dakota: Liliana Dannenbring, senior, marketing
  • Casper, Wyoming: Taegen Tobin, senior, marketing (advanced certificate)

For more information on the Center for Sales Excellence, click here.

News Release Contact(s)

Executive Director of Communications, Marketing and External Relations, College of Business

High Resolution Photos

About two dozen university students pose on a staircase with their certificates of sales excellence.