Collaboration with business should be embedded into business education. Studies aim to provide students with competencies needed for a successful career. As much as possible the learnt skills should be put into practice; both to strengthen them and to show that they can be useful in real life.
Sales Pitch is a project carried out in collaboration with Rauma Chamber of Commerce at SAMK Campus Rauma. The Chamber of Commerce grants an lnternationalization Award to a company or other active party in the region annually.
The SAMK students work in small groups. They can be both degree and exchange students. This time they were a very international group of students coming from Belgium, France, Latvia, Vietnam and Australia, and among them also one Finnish student.
In the project the students familiarize themselves with the finalists for the award both by searching information on them and also interviewing them. This way the students get an overview of who the finalists are and especially what kind of activities and operations make them potential candidates for the internationalization award.
The preparation stage for the students contains revising report writing and giving presentations. The main focus, though, is on learning what pitching is, in what kind of situations it could and should be used. Understanding the general structure of pitching, and creating a sales pitch, are in the centre of practice. Learning about pitching is also appreciated by the students. One of the students comments that ”in my opinion public speaking is one of the most important skills in life”.
The students submit reports on the finalists to the judges of the Internationalization Award. The reports concentrate especially on how international the finalists are, what kind of international activities are part of their work. The students also look at the impact of the candidates on the region.
In their groups, the students design a pitch talk on the finalist they have familiarized themselves with. They rehearse the pitch and decide which member of their group will deliver it in the award event. The comment from a student shows the benefit of real life experience: “The fact that I had to do concrete work on an existing company was very interesting for me. I liked the fact that I had to present in front of the Chamber of Commerce and the company managers, although it was a little stressful.”
The students, on top of getting an understanding of pitching and getting familiar with a local company, also build up their transversal skills. They learn about teamwork, scheduling and language skills, among other things. Last but not least, it is also essential to gain confidence and courage in a variety of skills and contexts. The core of it is stated by a student: “I am very proud of myself, for going outside my comfort zone for this project.”
Text: Marina Wikman, Lecturer
Picture: SAMK students with certificates for the completed Chamber of Commerce project (Marina Wikman).