Students from 11 countries participate in European Sales Competition

5th July 2023 |   Journal Of Sales Transformation

Winners European Sales Competition: Jaakko Ihalmo and Eveline Volders.
Winners: Jaakko Ihalmo and Eveline Volders.

Congratulations to all the students who participated in the European Sales Competition (ESC) hosted by Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences in Apeldoorn, Netherlands during May and June.

European Sales Competition organisers: Myra Qiu and Dr Alexander Bauer.
Competition organisers: Myra Qiu and Dr Alexander Bauer.

This year’s competition saw twin parallel finals. Students were split into two groups, one selling software from ATOSS, a European company selling workforce management software, while the other main sponsor was TeamViewer, another international company selling connectivity software.

In the ATOSS final, students were put through their paces as part of a negotiation in which they experienced a “good cop, bad cop” scenario with businessman and Associate Professor Dr Colin MacKenzie alongside Allegra Zazzaro, a sales professional in Wittenborg. Meanwhile, in the TeamViewer stream, students encountered Wittenborg Board President Peter Birdsall, a highly experienced software buyer. Winner of the ATOSS competition was Eveline Volders, a student from Vlerick Business School Ghent, while Jaakko Ihalmo from Turku University of Applied Sciences topped the TeamViewer challenge.

Although the competition focus is on friendly development, networking and learning, the four students in the final had a tough job. Runners-up were Marie Muller-Knapp (Justus Leibig University) and Marc Shafer (Aslen University).

Self-development and teamwork

The ethos of the ESC is self-development and teamwork and not exclusively competition. Students compete in a series of role-play scenarios in English (often not their native language), which adds another dimension to the competition. This is especially noticeable when dealing with international buyers who bring their own cultural characteristics, business preferences and personal understanding of English words and inferences.

This year’s Head of Jury, Associate Professor Dr Alexander Bauer told the Journal: “We had 23 universities from 11 countries and over 100 people participate in person. This was the largest number of universities to attend the European Sales Competition. We were delighted to see Lithuania participate for the first time and we also gave a warm welcome to a cohort from the USA.”


Myra Qiu, Competition Director and Process and Quality Director of Wittenborg, added: “We are the most international university in the Netherlands, and this competition was a natural fit for us. We will proudly display the ‘host trophy’ until we hand it across to Haaga-Helia University which will host the 2024 event in Helsinki, Finland.”

During the competition, students had mixed team events, where they were all given a teabag and just a couple of hours to go and “trade it up”. Teams completed their tasks with amazing success and ultimately gathered a range of items, which included a night in a hotel, a bicycle, a guitar, and a job offer.

Presentations were given on Dutch culture, while a flash sales course by Dr MacKenzie focused on persistence, persuasion and passion.

European Sales Competition runners-up Marc Shafer (Aslen University) and Marie Muller-Knapp (Justus Leibig University) pictured with ATOSS winner Eveline Volders.
Runners-up Marc Shafer (Aslen University) and Marie Muller-Knapp (Justus Leibig University) pictured with ATOSS winner Eveline Volders.