Students compete for $500 prize in first-ever ‘elevator pitch’ contest

Ten students gave their best pitches as they competed for a top prize of $500 on Wednesday, April 23, in the atrium of UALR’s Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development.

The students, selected as finalists from a group of 70 during the pilot phase of UALR’s first Elevator Pitch Competition, were challenged to act as a sales representative trying to secure an appointment with a chief executive in 60 seconds – about the time it takes for a short elevator ride.

Marketing Distribution Manager Ben Peterson of Federated Insurance, UALR students Robert Aikman, Gus Leeper, Jordan Lynch, Trey Gibeault, and Alexander Tinnesz, and John Riggs, chief executive officer of J.A. Riggs Tractor Co.The students made their pitches to a cutout representing John Riggs, chief executive officer of J.A. Riggs Tractor Co., who was also in the audience.

UALR junior economics major Robert Aikman was declared the overall winner of the competition. The runners-up included Gus Leeper, Jordan Lynch, Trey Gibeault, and Alexander Tinnesz.

The students were judged using a rubric that identified key strengths of an elevator pitch, including such things as conciseness, professional appearance, targeted messaging, great storytelling, and clear language.

Federated Insurance of Little Rock supported the competition by providing $2,500. The  top prize of $500 went to the student with the best pitch, as judged by a panel of cross-disciplinary faculty, staff, and professionals.

Marketing Distribution Manager Ben Peterson of Federated Insurance also served as a corporate guest judge.

“We have a great relationship with UALR, one that is mutually beneficial,” said Peterson. “We have hired outstanding students, and when we can convince a student that sales is a viable career, that can be beneficial to us, as well.”

Steve Edison, a professor in the UALR Department of Marketing and Advertising, conceived and developed the idea for the new elevator competition along with Professors Mark Funk and David Gilliam.

They are faculty members in the Center for Professional Selling at UALR, cited by the Ohio-based Sales Education Foundation for its national reputation for producing professionals who find employment.

To learn more about business courses at UALR, go the College of Business.

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