Choptank Transport Inc. and Salisbury University’s Franklin P. Perdue School of Business are partnering to launch the Choptank Transport Annual Sales Program, a pioneering initiative by SU’s new Mid-Atlantic Sales and Marketing Institute (MASMI).
With Choptank’s financial support, the University will offer a specifically sales-focused academic program, which is expected to complement the Perdue School’s current marketing curriculum. This may eventually allow SU to offer a minor in sales to accompany its degree programs, according to Dr. Amit Poddar, chair of the Management and Marketing Department.
“We have worked closely with the Perdue School over the last several years and feel it has been a great investment,” said Geoff Turner, CEO of Choptank Transport and former Transportation Intermediaries Association chair. “The caliber of talent we have realized from the school has been well worth it.”
Many people entering the sales workforce come to it from a more general marketing-degree background, as opposed to the more focused sales-oriented program that the Management and Marketing Department will offer. Surveys have shown that sales program graduates ramp up 50 percent faster than their non-sales educated counterparts. They also experience 30 percent less turnover. Sales graduates are prepared for their roles through highly specialized education and real world, hands-on opportunities.
The creation of the new Choptank Transport Annual Sales Program “will allow the Perdue School of Business to meet the needs of employers in the mid-Atlantic, especially on the Eastern Shore,” said Poddar, adding that the program will “allow the department to better meet the needs of our students who are looking for sales positions.”
“We are excited to partner with Choptank to offer this program,” said Dr. Christy Weer, dean of the Perdue School. “The company has been very generous in providing internship and educational opportunities for Perdue School students, and we look forward to working with Geoff and his associates in this new endeavor.”
Choptank Transport sees the new partnership as a win-win. The Preston, MD, logistics company has seen exponential growth over the last five years. A lot of that growth has been reliant on new sales positions. An academic program such as MASMI is offering should help fill the needs of Choptank and other regional firms for dynamic, well-trained sales staff ready to enter the workforce.
“A solid sales education gives students an edge in the job market,” explained Pam Hutchinson, director of human resources at Choptank. “Successful companies know that having a trained and aggressive sales force is the key to growth. Choptank Transport is, in fact, expanding the Preston location to add 100 new jobs, the majority of which will be in sales. This program will equip Salisbury University students with the skills they need to not only land jobs like this, but to hit the ground running as soon as they start. We are very happy that the University values this essential piece of business education and that they are taking steps to enhance the curriculum.”