Patrick Begin, a commerce student in his last semester of university didn’t think anything would happen when he entered the Great Canadian Sales Competition. Begin changed his tune when in January he was told he was a semi-finalist. Now on March 9th, Begin will represent Memorial as one of twenty-five finalists in Toronto.

“It wasn’t until they reached out in January saying that I made the semi-final round when it got a bit more serious. I thought there might be a chance to continue going forward with this competition so I put more effort into it. When I heard that I was chosen for the final round, it was really exciting. I’m excited to have the opportunity to represent the university so we’ll have some representation on the final round.”

The Great Canadian Sales Competition was launched in 2014 as a competition driven to aide students in enhancing their sales skills, improve professional interactions, and network with top employers. GCSC is now Canada’s largest student competition with over 3000 applicants from 80 universities and colleges from across Canada with a cash prize of 7,500 dollars for first place.

The competition is divided into three rounds: the first round students submit a short video pitching a passion of theirs. Begin submitted his video on craft beer. Those selected move on to the semi-finals where the students are paired up with one of the 25 sponsors where they learn how to pitch the sponsors’ products. Begin teamed up with Shopify and submitted a two-minute video pitching Shopify’s enterprising platform, Shopify Plus. GCSC then flies the twenty-five finalists to Toronto from March 8-10 where Begin will be coached by Shopify, and will have a live sales meeting in front of a panel of judges.

“It’s all been pretty exciting, pretty crazy on top of school. I’m trying to coordinate, trying to put together a script, working with the Shopify people in Toronto so it’s been a lot of Skype calls. It’s been exhilarating so far, I’m looking forward to getting up there and meeting the other participants, judges, and sponsors,” said Begin.

Besides helping students harness their sales skills a key aspect of the competition is networking with the sponsors. Sponsors for GCSC include Shopify, Google, Air Canada, IBM, UPS, Dell, and many more.

“One of the main focuses is networking with the other contestants and finalists as well as the sponsors so it will be a great opportunity over the next few days to meet some pretty interesting people.”

For people thinking about entering the competition, Begin says go for it.

“I would say definitely keep your eyes open for competitions like the Great Canadian Sales Competition. It’s a great opportunity to apply some of the skills that you learned especially in business school. It’s a real life example working with these companies, and on top of that it’s a great networking opportunity, it gives you a chance to practice your presentation and sales skills. I would say just keep your eye out for these kind of opportunities and dive in.”