KU Professional Selling Program/King's Hawaiian Sales Competition sees record growth

LAWRENCE – A record 52 students from 13 teams across the U.S. competed in the fourth annual KU Professional Selling Program/King’s Hawaiian Sales Competition on April 5–6 at Capitol Federal Hall.

This year’s competition featured teams from the University of Kansas School of Business, as well as the University of Arizona, University of Central Missouri, Indiana State University, University of Iowa, University of Georgia, Marshall University, University of Minnesota, University of Missouri, University of Nebraska, University of North Dakota, Texas Tech University and University of Wyoming.

The event is sponsored and judged by King’s Hawaiian and included a two-minute, individual speed-selling competition and a three-round, tournament-style team case competition, which featured a business situation designed by the company. Winners received cash prizes and were recognized during an awards ceremony.

Winners of the team case competition
  • First place: University of Georgia ($4,000)
  • Second place: University of Central Missouri ($3,000)
  • Third place: University of Iowa ($2,000)
Winners of the individual speed-selling competition
  • First place: Josephine Trinen, University of Arizona ($600)
  • Second place: Vivian Menis, University of Iowa ($500)
  • Third place: Maya Rappe, University of Arizona ($400)
  • Fourth place: Audrey McBride, KU ($300). McBride is from Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Fifth place: Lauren Plesant, Texas Tech University ($200)
  • Sixth place (tie): Josh Schweizer, University of Nebraska; Natalie Thoennes, KU ($100). Thoennes is from Southlake, Texas.

“The talent at this year’s competition was first-rate and a testament to the growth of sales education,” said Kristen Helling, director of the KU School of Business Professional Selling Program. “I am thankful that so many sales coaches care deeply about teaching the craft and are willing to spend their time developing the next generation of sales professionals.  It’s inspiring to see young professionals work hard to hone their skills.”

The event has grown since its inaugural event in 2021, which hosted eight teams virtually because of COVID-19 precautions. The event has since grown to include more than 10 teams during the past two years and has seen teams from nearby and faraway states.

“This year was truly fantastic,” said Patrick Meehan, president, Irresistible Food Sales and COO of Irresistible Food Group, the parent company of King’s Hawaiian. “The teams did an incredible job tackling our hardest case yet, and the University of Kansas provided a world-class venue and experience. The level of alignment between King’s Hawaiian and the KU School of Business makes this partnership so special. Both are completely committed with all their resources to create an irresistible experience for all participants every year. Getting to see, first hand, future sales leaders practice their craft with peers from all throughout the country is the most exciting part of every year.”

Thu, 04/11/2024


Ashleigh Lee

Media Contacts

Ashleigh Lee

School of Business