Sales role-plays and mock interviews: an investigation of student performance in sales competitions

Sudha Mani, Prabakar Kothandaraman, Rajiv Kashyap, Bahar Ashnai

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Sales competitions provide students with opportunities to apply their understanding of sales. Despite a long tradition of scholarship on sales role-plays, the answer to what drives student performance in sales competitions remains elusive. In this research, we examine how motivation (work engagement) and ability (cognitive aptitude and selling-related knowledge) affect student performance in sales role-play competitions. We also examine how success in sales role-plays engenders job attainment for the students. Using data from a sales competition held at a large public university in the United States, we provide empirical evidence that both motivation and ability affect sales performance. But, contrary to expectation, they have a substitution effect and not a complementary one. We also find evidence that success in sales role-plays translates into improved success in job interviews and that this effect is stronger for students with greater cognitive aptitude, that is, sales role-play performance complements the cognitive aptitude of the student to improve their mock interview performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)183-198
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Marketing Education
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • employer needs
  • experiential learning techniques
  • general multivariate statistics
  • role-plays
  • sales management/sales
  • undergraduate education

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