MBA Sales Education: A Causal-Comparative Study to Measure Program Effectiveness Via Job Placement Rates

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Miller, LeeAnn
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There is a shortage of sales education programs that develop sales-trained graduates with the business skills required to succeed in the sales profession today. More than 50% of U.S. college graduates will work in sales (Sales Education Foundation, 2023c), yet fewer than 4% of more than 4,800 U.S. institutions offer sales programs at the undergraduate or graduate levels (Spiller et al., 2020). The purpose of this causal-comparative quantitative study was to identify the difference, if any, between job placement rates of MBA students who graduated from sales education programs, compared with their undergraduate sales-educated peers, who socialized into selling careers in the United States over the last 5 years. Salesforce socialization theory provided the key theoretical framework for this research. Two Mann-Whitney U tests measured complementary perspectives for analyzing the primary and secondary data; one compared 75 to 610 job placement rates, and the other compared 134 to 476 job placement rates. The primary instrumentation included a survey, administered as a convenience sample of the population, to 35 top universities offering MBA graduate-level sales programs. Secondary sources of information were gathered from 175 top universities offering undergraduate-level sales programs. Results were statistically significant and suggested sales education programs are more effective at the MBA graduate level than at the undergraduate level as measured via job placement rates. Recommendations for future action and further research are also discussed. Practical benefits of this quantitative study were to advance awareness of sales education programs up to a graduate-level focus, support more colleges and universities to adopt MBA sales education programs, and encourage business leadership to hire graduates of sales education programs.
sales education programs , job placement rates , causal-comparative , quantitative study , Mann-Whitney U tests , salesforce socialization theory