Alumni of the Week: Sam Whitaker ’14

Whitaker professionalAfter growing up in a small town about 30 miles from campus, I always anticipated that I would venture away from the area for college. My family’s legacy is rooted deep in the soil of Syracuse University–as students and professors dating back to the inception of the school. While that was an impressive family history factoid, it wasn’t the catalyst that sparked my interest in the school. It wasn’t until after my visit to the Whitman School (a great tour with Carol Heil and Emily Yakawiak) that I really recognized the value of the Whitman experience and imagined myself there. This made the decision much easier.

Four years passed in the blink of an eye, and in June of 2014 I joined the IBM Corporation in the sales training program. Upon completion of the program, I moved into my current role which is focused on both strategic prospecting to generate new business leads for the group and qualifying those leads while partnering with experienced sales representatives to see the deals through to close.

My experience at the Whitman School plays into my life every day. The soft skill foundation of  interpersonal skills, public speaking, business writing and critical thinking enhance my ability to communicate with prospects and customers with confidence. The marketing classes taught me the importance of generating interest and demand with a compelling message, maintaining mutually beneficial relationships, and putting the customer first – three key points of focus in sales. The emphasis the school puts on entrepreneurship throughout the coursework and extracurriculars trained me to look at challenges and solutions through a creative and entrepreneurial lens – a factor that coworkers and customers come to rely on.

I appreciate the role that Syracuse and The Whitman School played in my development, providing a supportive atmosphere to explore all areas of business before finding my passion. I can’t say enough great things about the people, facilities, and opportunities there. I’m looking forward to getting more involved in the alumni programs and giving back to a school that has given me so much.

Sam Whitaker
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