More B-Schools Add Sales Courses
A company's sales force is its lifeblood. But you'd never know it by looking at the typical M.B.A. curriculum.
Because they're lighter on theory and research than other academic subjects, sales courses are surprisingly scarce in M.B.A. programs. "It's sad that something as important to the economy as sales shows up as a footnote in the principles of marketing course at most graduate business schools," says Andy Zoltners, a professor at Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management, which has long offered a sales-force management class.
But the sales function seems to be slowly gaining more respect as a few other major schools, including Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of North Carolina, create M.B.A.-level sales courses. Harvard Business School has taught sales management for many years, but lately it has been focusing more on the selling process itself, with lessons on making sales presentations to corporate customers, influencing people and closing the deal.
"Many people view selling as tactical and haven't taken the broader view that you will need sales skills even if you aren't managing a sales force," says David Godes, an associate professor at Harvard. "If you're going into banking or consulting, how do you get clients and how do you raise money?"
It's about time. Superior salespeople are always in short supply. They succeed based on solid, long term relationships.
Posted by James Zellmer at April 11, 2006 10:19 AM
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