Tippie College of Business offers student internships at in-house sales lab for hands-on experience

Charles Keene, Tippie College of Business undergraduate program associate dean, established a new internship program at a sales lab in the Pappajohn Business Building to offer students opportunities to improve their marketing skills.


Braden Ernst

The new sales lab in the Pappajohn Business Building is seen on Monday, April 25, 2022.

Simone Garza, News Reporter

The Tippie College of Business at the University of Iowa is offering a new internship for students to gain real-world marketing and business experience.

Charles Keene, Tippie College of Business associate dean for undergraduate programs and professor of instruction of marketing, established the internship in the Tippie Inside Sales Lab. Keene previously developed a similar center at the University of Missouri before coming to Iowa.

The Tippie Inside Sales Lab is a call center that allows students to gain experience in sales by assisting startup businesses with marketing resources and essential sales, Keene said. He added that clients can also request student interns who have different educational backgrounds.

Interns will have similar responsibilities to a sales professional. Their duties will include analyzing and polishing prospect data that is submitted by the client.

Clients can hire interns in the sales lab, Keene said, and ask for a student with background experience to seek answers a company may have.

Keene said the internships can be a semester or longer depending on the company’s needs.

The Tippie Inside Sales Lab interns are working with a client, Ceras Health, a remote health care management company from Boston.

Three UI student interns, Marcus Do, Gabi Allen, and Matthew Rowland, were offered the internship this spring.

Marcus Do, a UI Tippie College of Business fourth-year student, said Keene encouraged him to apply.

Do said the internship started off fairly slow, as the interns would roleplay sales calls with one another in the lab. One task involved a method called “scrubbing,” which ensures that the potential customer would have a need for a specific product and is worth calling.

“We would primarily target local family-owned practices, geriatrics, and cardiologists, things of that nature,” he said.

Do said Ceras offers remote patient monitoring that allows the clinic to keep track of patients’ vitals every day to see a patient’s blood pressure, oxygen, and heart rate while they are out of the office.

“These last few weeks have been really great and the communication between not only myself and my co-workers, but Ceras and all of the upper-level management is very steady and I can always count on them if I need to find anything,” he said.

Gabi Allen, a UI third-year student studying marketing, was accepted for the internship in February.

“The three of us were each partnered with our own individual sales representatives from the company, so we did a lot of cold calling and leads,” Allen said.

Keene said the sales lab is a place where students can have experiential learning as a hallmark of what the college offers.

“It’s not just about learning some theory sitting in class, but getting out there and getting actively engaged with the material with our partners, to give students the best holistic experience that you can have before you graduate,” Keene said.