Using both qualitative and quantitative methods, this study explores whether perceptions of critical hiring criteria for entry-level sales positions differ across sales managers and sales representatives. This research also examines which classroom activities and skills these individuals perceive to be most important for strengthening the desired skill set and whether an MBA degree is an added advantage when candidates are being considered for entry-level sales positions. Results indicate that managers believe objective assessment, technical skills, experiential learning, acquired skills, college accomplishments, and extracurricular activities are more important than do sales representatives. Sales representatives deem basic skills, educational experiences, and interactive skills as more important than how managers assess these skills and attributes. Neither group believes that having an MBA is a necessary prerequisite for these positions. Recommendations for marketing educators are offered.
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