Group of 50 people in civic chamber with large paintings on wall.

The event received a Civic Reception at The City Chambers hosted by Lord Provost of Dundee, Councillor Bill Campbell.

A UK-wide student sales competition being praised by Scots firms for identifying talented students to interview for hard-to-fill jobs is planning a bigger event next year.

Speed-selling and sales meetings with experienced sales professionals were among a series of challenges taken on by 26 business students from seven universities across the country in the UK Universities Sales Competition at Abertay University over 36 hours on January 31 and February 1.

Young woman pitching to meeting room of 4 older people.

Individual prizewinner Kate Merriweather, from University of Dundee, sells to Roddy Donaldson in one of two sales meetings with a group of judges.

The students, from as far apart as Coventry and Aberdeen, honed their sales skills over the intensive competition through mentorship, coaching and feedback from tutors and sponsors as well as the practical selling challenges. They were marked by each judge and their scores increased by a minimum of 44% between the first and second sales meetings.

US model

Sponsored by Salesforce, Clyde Ventures, Agilico and Pier Solutions, the competition was opened by the Lord Provost of Dundee, Councillor Bill Campbell, who later hosted the participants at a civic reception in the City Chambers. Motivational speaker Luke Staton also inspired the students on Day 1.

Based on a US model, the UK Universities Sales Competition aims to promote a deeper understanding of professional selling and its significance within the UK economy, while also building collaboration between employers and universities and providing a platform for careers discussions.

Young man talking to older man in room with other people practising selling.

The Speed Sell competition on Day 1.

It also prepares students for careers in sales, marketing and business through mentorship, coaching and feedback as well as the ability to practise professional selling skills and techniques.

Praise from sponsors

Following its successful revival after a break for Covid restrictions, it’s being praised by Scots firms which used the competition to find young graduates with the right skills to succeed in hard-to-fill sales jobs.

So far eight of the students who took part have received post-graduation job interviews, with one being offered a job. That success has spurred the organisers, Peter Waggott of Vertical Motives Consultancy and Sandy McCurdy of Sales Coach Scot, to target 36 student competitors at next year’s event from a greater number of universities as well as more sponsors – who benefit through privileged access to the prizewinners. They also hope it will result in more job offers. The event will be co-hosted by the University of Dundee and Abertay University from February 11 to 13.

Jordan Ferguson, CEO of Pier Solutions, said: “As a result of the competition, one of the students from the University of Aberdeen will be joining our growing team in the Summer, where they will take on a pivotal role in our Energy Transition division. Their exceptional performance during the challenge convinced us of their immense potential and we’re confident they will make a significant contribution to our organisation based on what I saw during the competition.”


Steve Clark, Regional Sales Director of sponsor workplace technology firm Agilico, was a judge and has scheduled interviews to four prizewinners. He said: “The event serves as career development for anyone considering or aspiring to a role in the sales world and the format allows us to assess the ability of the next generation of aspiring talent in its well-structured role-play scenarios and step into the realm of real-world sales.

“Being a judge allowed me as a seasoned sales professional to assess performance and give advice and tips to each student – allowing them to practice their skills under pressure.

“Mentoring the next generation is hugely important to Agilico as people are the lifeblood of our business. By meeting this year’s cohort it gave me a chance to find out who’d want a role in our business without the pressure of interviews. Hopefully they will be ready to seize the opportunity and to shape their future in the sales world.”

David Sime, Technical Director of Riiot Digital, says the competition helped him win new business: “Not only did the sales competition expose our team to incredible job candidates – providing us with far greater insights into their personalities and capabilities than any conventional recruitment process – but through observing their practice I was also able to improve my own sales preparation, pitching and closing skills, which resulted in our company landing a major new client!”


As well as benefiting the students and sponsors, the event boosted Dundee’s economy by a Gross Value Add of £71,000. Leader of Dundee City Council, Councillor John Alexander, said: The wider suite of skills required in sales touches every aspect of the working world. That’s why I’m particularly delighted Dundee has and will continue to play host to this UK-wide competition.

“The importance of such activities, in connecting academia and business, cannot be underestimated. Dundee has transformed itself in recent years and as we continue to forge an ambitious path for the future, so too must we be looking to grow and support talent. This competition provides an important national platform, delivering direct experience and, importantly, assisting in connecting talented students with real jobs. I look forward to the event’s return next year.

Peter Waggott says: “We’re delighted the competition will stay in Dundee for another year and make further inroads into sales training being taken seriously by all kinds of organisations – because sales done properly has the potential to be transformational for them. So it’s especially important as the country struggles to come out of recession.

“We’ve already had enquiries from businesses interested in becoming 2025 sponsors, so other companies which want to gain privileged access to business students who’ve proven they have the best potential in sales and marketing roles, should get in touch soon.”

They can contact Peter Waggott on