Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering Department

Degree Name

BS in Industrial Engineering




Karen Bangs


Sales Engineering is a popular career choice for many engineers coming out of university. Despite its continuing growth, many students lack the knowledge and preparation to be successful in the early years of their career. A small collection of sales engineering minors and student clubs are the only option for students interested in technical sales.

Using the DMAIC process, the senior project team went step by step to find and implement the best possible solution to better connect college students and the professional sales engineering industry . The team worked side by side with professionals in the industry and students with future aspirations in sales to define what the problem was and what the requirements of the project would be. Meetings with past Cal Poly alumni, now in the sales, were key drivers for research and support.

After a research period, the team found that creating a national society for students and young professionals with an attached national competition was the best way to promote sales engineering. The next goal for the team was to actually launch a national competition at Cal Poly and began laying the framework for building the national society.

As Industrial Engineers, the team used tools learned over the course of their college careers to gain an understanding of the complete process to define, measure, analyze, improve and then control the project. Project management and quality control was used in every step of the process to make sure tasks are on schedule and in­line with the ultimate goal.

While building the competition and national society, the team created a project plan, agenda, and budget in order for the competition to be replicable year over year. A survey was also created for participants post competition to gain feedback to be useful for future efforts. A social media platform, including a website and recruiting plan was built to help build growth of the society and the competition. All of the documents created from the project will be made available to future National Society of Sales Engineering officers and other Cal Poly Sales Engineering Club officers. These documents will be used as live documents to be updated every year.

In April, 45 students and 12 industry representatives participated in a two day competition at Cal Poly. A case study was created in partnership with industry to simulate selling a real life Cal Poly energy project. The competition was under budget and considered an overwhelming success according to the survey feedback.

The team completed the project by creating a three year plan for implementation of the society and appointed a national society chair at three universities. With that, the future looks bright for the National Society of Sales Engineers.