Jay Fluchel in many ways was the typical college student: involved in both greek life and extracurriculars in his area of study, graduated in four years (plus one extra semester), and landed a job related to his major before graduation.
However, if you look a little closer, you’ll see an extremely successful student who, with the help and encouragement of faculty, leveraged Mizzou’s interdisciplinary resources in two separate colleges to tailor his education to match his career goals perfectly.
Fluchel graduated in December 2018 with a Bachelor of Health Science, along with the Certificate in Sales and Customer Development he earned from the Trulaske College of Business. He also served as the Health Industry Sales Club president, and he grew the club from roughly 15 members to 75; earned recognition at a national sales competition; was awarded the 2018 Sales Excellence Award from the Trulaske College of Business and received a job offer in sales well before his graduation date.
Fluchel began his Mizzou career as a health sciences major and planned to apply to physical therapy program after graduation. However, as time went on, he began to keep an open mind to other career possibilities.
In an extra-credit office hours session, Health Sciences Associate Professor Dr. Jenna Wintemberg told him about the sales certificate program available through the business school, and suggested sales might be up his alley.
The Certificate in Sales and Customer Development program, founded and directed by Dr. Wayne Keene, is comprised of four sales and marketing classes, with topics such as one-on-one sales, managing a sales team, and data analytics, as well as a sales focused internship.
It was through these classes that Fluchel learned about and signed up to compete in national sales competitions, where college students are judged by industry professionals (including senior sales executives) and corporate recruiters on their pitches in high-pressure sales situations. Fluchel and other Mizzou students were quarterfinalists in this year’s Northeast Intercollegiate Sales Competition at Bryant University in Rhode Island.
“The biggest thing that’s helped me with my sales skills is being able to participate in those competitions,” Fluchel said, “Some students don’t want to do sales competitions because they can be intimidating, but it’s literally just experience. Just put yourself out there and if one person says no, you can learn from it and move on.”
Fluchel chose to stay a health science major even though his path during his time at Mizzou led him so heavily into sales.
“I think it’s the best route possible,” Fluchel said, “Having the health science background and being able to talk to health professionals and speak their language is so helpful.”
And Dr. Keene agrees. “We want to partner with the School of Health Professions and grow the certificate program in health sciences.”
Fluchel is the first SHP student to receive the Sales Excellence award, which is chosen by a committee of marketing faculty led by Dr. Keene.
“Jay’s somebody that other people rally around,” Dr. Keene said, “And when you’re in sales, you’re an advocate for your company and you’re an advocate for your client, so you need those leadership qualities to bring people together and to a consensus.”
In addition to the sales skills Dr. Keene observed in Fluchel, he also noted the growth of the Health Industry Sales Club (HISC) under Fluchel’s leadership. When Fluchel was elected president, the club specifically focused on the pharmaceutical sales industry, but he and Dr. Keene wanted to broaden the scope, since there are so many health sales opportunities that don’t fall under the pharmaceutical umbrella. Under Fluchel’s leadership, the club more than quadrupled in size.
“Jay really took it to the next level,” Keene said.
During club meetings, sales reps from major companies such as Johnson & Johnson, Phillips Ultrasound, and Blue Cross Blue Shield spoke to the students about their particular sales methods, networking strategies, and professional development skills. At one of these meetings, Fluchel connected with a manager at Ecolab, a hygiene and sanitary product company, who expressed an interest in hiring him.
Fluchel will start at Ecolab in Kansas City in February, where he’ll learn more about the company through territory management and eventually have the chance to work his way up to higher managerial positions.