NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Several Stephen F. Austin State University Rusche College of Business students in the American Marketing Association recently placed first in the marketing strategy and salesmanship competitions at the Regional AMA Conference in Houston.

Mary Morgan, Houston sophomore; Theresa Vinh, Houston junior and vice president of promotions for SFA's AMA chapter; and Jared Upham, League City sophomore; placed first among 30 teams in the marketing strategy competition, where each team had 30 minutes to determine and present the best marketing strategy for its client, James Coney Island, a Houston restaurant.

"It was a great experience," Vinh said. "This was my first AMA conference, and when they announced that we won first place, it was awesome."

Stephen Ross Jones, Cypress senior and vice president of finance for SFA's AMA chapter, and Braxton Robinson, Dallas senior and president of SFA's AMA chapter, won first among 25 teams in the salesmanship competition, which challenged students to select a product, describe the setting, and present and close the sale in two minutes.

"I'm looking to go into entry-level sales, so getting that experience of going to a cold-call sale really boosted my confidence," Jones said. "Winning the competition validated everything I've learned and done during college."

Dr. Marlene Kahla, AMA adviser and professor in SFA's Rusche College of Business' Department of Management, Marketing and International Business, attended the conference and boasted the many benefits this event provided students.

Kahla said students had the opportunity to network with industry professionals and other university students, increase self-perceptions, develop confidence in their chosen fields, secure a win for their résumés, and represent SFA and their department.

"The students learned they are winners in a competitive marketplace," Kahla said. "They realized they are able to understand new material quickly and that they can make decisions and present them effectively to other educators and people in the industry."