In the Fall 2021 semester, three Howard University School of Business students participated in the Howard Sales Management Fellowship in partnership with Vanguard, one of the world’s leading investment management companies. As part of the inaugural class of the program, Rachel Clark, Naomi Aiken and Iman Davis completed a year-long program designed to provide real-life experience in sales management. Programming included fireside chats, monthly panels, biweekly mentorship meetings and meet-and-greets with Vanguard “crew” (employees).
Upon completing the fellowship, the students presented their capstone project to 35 peers in Melvin Washington, Ph.D.’s Strategic Relationship Management class. Washington’s class curated a learning experience specifically designed to empower fellows to identify business problems that could be solved through sales, learn more about racial wealth disparities and explore how to bridge any gaps.
The fellows reported that the fellowship made them significantly more prepared for a career in sales, and two of them intend to take either an internship or full-time role at Vanguard following the fellowship’s conclusion.
“Building and maintaining a pipeline of diverse talent is an organizational imperative for Vanguard, and we’re thrilled to continue advancing career opportunities for Howard’s accomplished students through the Howard Sales Management Fellowship,” said Ryan Barrows, principal, Vanguard Financial Advisor Services, and executive sponsor of the program. “It has been deeply enriching to support our fellows as they’ve progressed through our program, watching them grow and develop into effective sales management professionals and helping them explore a career in financial services.”
Supply chain management major Clark was inspired by Vanguard’s mission-driven culture throughout her experience in the fellowship. “One of the things I think is really admirable about Vanguard is that they take a collaborative approach to sales,” Clark said. “They are one of few companies that stands true to their mission of putting the client first, while ensuring the sales process is mutually beneficial.”
Aiken, also a supply chain management major, and Clark, felt the experience and welcoming environment helped them see opportunity in a sales management career they hadn’t previously considered. Aiken noted that her Vanguard mentors helped her understand how sales fit into her current career goals, rather than how she could fit into a sales role.
Vanguard and Howard’s partnership has provided opportunities for students and faculty to explore the evolution of sales through a professional lens, as well as familiarize themselves with Vanguard’s deeply rooted client-centric mission. The partnership also resulted in the University-wide events workstream, which facilitated three sales-related virtual events – including a Sales Case Competition – open to all Howard students. Nearly 200 students participated in the workstream events, increasing the number of students interested in the fellowship.
“What excites me most about the Howard Sales Management Fellowship program is the enthusiasm we have for year two. Many students have reached out to me and the Vanguard team to learn more about the program and express their interest in applying,” said professor of marketing, Efua Obeng, Ph.D.
Importantly, the success of the fellowship has filled a void for students looking for careers in the sales industry, as Howard does not currently offer a sales degree. The fellowship presents students with the opportunity to learn and apply strategic sales skills. Assistant professor in the Department of Marketing, Melvin Washington, Ph.D., said, “The engagement of students and faculty through class visits, lectures, and case studies have given the students the opportunity to dispel some of the misconception of sales, while introducing new concepts, such as sales analytics, to the course content.” The program’s success has led Washington to create a new, advanced sales course called Strategic Relationship Management.
Media Contact: Brittany Bailer; firstname.lastname@example.org
For more information on the Howard Sales Management Fellowship with Vanguard or our internship opportunities, please contact Kristy Purnell (email@example.com), Vanguard’s Emerging Talent & Diversity Recruiting Strategy Business Program Manager.