Stetson Centurion Sales Team Named National Champions at ‘World Cup of Sales’

Bottom, L-R: Guliano Black and Cole Caven. Top, L-R: Dakota Phillips; John Riggs, PhD; Dena Hale, PhD; Zane Derienzo; and Adam Shulman. Back: Isaac Choate

Stetson’s Centurion Sales team captured its first-ever national championship title at the 2023 International Collegiate Sales Competition, the “World Cup of Sales,” Nov. 1-4 in Orlando.

Stetson students competed against 80 universities from the United States, Netherlands and Canada, totaling more than 300 students in three events: Elevator Pitch, Sales Management Case and Role Play. Every member of the team set new performance records for the Centurion Sales Program in their respective categories.

The sales “World Cup Champion” is determined by aggregating the scores for each of the events over a four-day period. Stetson students had the highest total score across all events for the entire competition.

Among the teams Stetson defeated were Florida State University, University of Florida, Florida International University, University of South Carolina, Louisiana State University, Texas A&M University and Arizona State University. 

The accomplishments were especially impressive, considering Stetson’s Centurion Sales Program was started only seven years ago. 

‘As Good As It Gets!’

John Riggs, PhD: “Think of it as winning the World Series, Stanley Cup or Super Bowl.”

“Dr. [Dena] Hale and I cannot begin to express how BIG winning first place at the International Collegiate Sales Competition is and what it means for our students and the program,” commented John Riggs, PhD, founding executive director of the Centurion Sales Program and professor of Practice in Marketing. “Think of it as winning the World Series, Stanley Cup or Super Bowl. This is as good as it gets!

“On behalf of our students, Dr. Hale and I would like to thank our faculty colleagues for supporting the entire team as they practiced and prepared for the competition. Lastly, none of this would be possible without Dr. Hale’s relentless pursuit of excellence and countless hours practicing, coaching and mentoring the students.”

Dena Hale, PhD, assistant professor of Sales and Marketing

The Centurion Sales Program brought a student team composed of Cole Caven and Zane DeRienzo (Sales Management Case), Adam Shulman and Guliano Black (Elevator Pitch), and Dakota Phillips and team captain Isaac Choate (Role Play).

In the Sales Management Case competition, Stetson made history advancing to the final 12 teams, a first for the university. In the Elevator Pitch (speed sell), Shulman and Black both had extremely strong performances and were at the top of the competition. Finally, Phillips and Choate went into the wild card round after their first role play. However, they fought their way back into the semifinals, and Choate made it to the final four.

“Our exceptionally strong team performance across the board and invaluable coaching saw Stetson winning the entire competition — making history and being recognized as the No. 1 sales program in the world,” said Choate, a senior double-major in Investment Finance and Professional Sales. 

The Centurion Sales Program was launched in 2017, thanks to the generous support of Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals, a Stetson alumnus and highly successful entrepreneur who has owned two major businesses in Spain, Jazztel and Tele-Pizza, and led both companies into the Spanish stock exchange index, the IBEX 35. In 2019, Fernandez fully endowed the program, which is named in honor of his father, Genaro Fernandez Centurion.

-Trish Wieland