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Months before its new Center for Professional Sales launches, Eastern Kentucky University is already ranked among the nation’s “Top Universities for Professional Sales Education” by the Sales Education Foundation.

The University’s Department of Management, Marketing and International Business began a year ago to offer a 12-credit-hour sales certificate, and this spring will graduate its first cohort of students. With the addition last year of Dr. Lee Allison to the faculty, the department was able to offer the courses necessary to complete the certificate. Allison, an assistant professor of marketing who holds the Karl D. Bays Professorship in Business,brought to EKU almost 20 years of consumer product sales experience, and considerable scholarship in the fields of sales and sales management. She is joined by colleague Kevin Cumiskey, who also boasts experience in financial services sales.

A generous donation from Louis and Maribeth Berman, of Louisville, led to the establishment of the Center for Professional Sales. The center will provide professional sales education and training to students and professionals from different backgrounds, majors and industries.

“The center will arm students with both a mindset and a skillset that they can leverage as a competitive advantage in the marketplace,” said Allison. “At the same time, it directly answers the competitive need business and community partners express for expert and eager sales talent.”

Professional sales is one of the most popular career destinations for students graduating with a sales degree. Recent research suggests that 60 percent of all business majors and 88 percent of all marketing majors begin their professional careers in sales-related roles.

Demand for sales positions is expected to remain strong in Kentucky. A recent issue of The Lane Report published a listing from career site Zippia projecting an 18.5 percent growth rate over the next seven years for entry-level positions. When predicting the top 20 career opportunities in Kentucky for new graduates over the same period, sales jobs accounted for 24 percent of those job opportunities, in terms of absolute numbers.

The Sales Education Foundation (SEF) recognizes universities for preparing students for successful careers in professional selling and for helping to elevate the sales profession. The 10th edition of SEF’s annual magazine will be available at by the end of April.

SEF Executive Director Sally Stevens noted that companies should increasingly focus on partnering with university sales programs and hiring their graduates. “Candidates from these programs are more prepared to align with their initial sales roles and compete in an ever-changing global economy,” she said.

For information on partnerships with EKU’s Center for Professional Sales, contact Allison at For more information about programs offered by the Department of Management, Marketing and International Business, visit