For the past year and a half, Martin Tuchman School of Management (MTSM) has been collaborating with Salesforce, a widely used customer relationship management (CRM) and cloud-computing platform. It’s a partnership that has enabled NJIT students to not only become trained in the platform — adding value to what they can bring to potential employers — but also directly connect with Salesforce professionals through various informational and interactive networking events.
Shravanthi Budhi, a sophomore studying business with a concentration in finance and marketing, serves as the student lead for MTSM’s Salesforce initiative. Among her duties are heading the Salesforce Ambassador Group at NJIT and acting as the senior lab assistant in MTSM’s Business Analytics Lab (BAL), where Salesforce has been deployed for training and certification through its online tutorial, Trailhead.
Outside the BAL, Salesforce has made its way into the classroom at MTSM. Senior University Lecturer Melodi Guilbault, for example, has incorporated material from SLS 101 (Salesforce for Sales Reps) into some of her marketing courses.
“Teaching Salesforce in boot camps and courses like SLS 101, and encouraging students to complete modules in Trailhead, is providing our students with real-world skills that employers want,” said Guilbault.
Budhi and Guilbault began working in Trailhead in the summer of 2017 and are the first at NJIT to attain Ranger status in the learning platform, having earned more than 130 badges and over 50,000 points for navigating various “trails” in their exploration of Salesforce. Other NJIT students are closing in on this same achievement. Nearly 225 badges have been earned by students in the BAL to date, with more than 100 recorded for this semester alone.
Salesforce has taken notice of the university’s winning formula of boot camps, career panels, information sessions and more to engage and educate students in the platform. The company invited Budhi and Guilbault to present at its annual Higher Ed Summit, held recently in Washington, D.C. and co-hosted by Georgetown University.
As William McDermott, executive director of development for MTSM, put it with regard to Salesforce, “It seems we are doing things at the college level that few, if any, are doing.”
Here, Budhi shares her thoughts about NJIT and MTSM being a force for Salesforce.
How is the university working with Salesforce account executives?
Salesforce is one of our valued partners, and we are working with them to bring more tools and resources to our students in order to increase awareness and understanding of the platform. We are also looking to maximize the efficiency and effectiveness of our own business processes in MTSM by utilizing this leading CRM platform.
What functions do the Salesforce Ambassador Group and the trained assistants in the BAL serve?
Both groups work to teach students the platform and provide opportunities for students to network and build their connections with Salesforce professionals. The Ambassador Group also works to host events for students each semester, and lab assistants are made available in the BAL to assist students day to day on any concerns or inquiries they may have about Salesforce.
Have any students landed a job, internship or co-op resulting from their training and/or certification in Salesforce?
One of our students has been able to pursue a job opportunity with New Jersey Innovation Institute as a Salesforce administrator due to his interest and understanding of the platform. For me, Salesforce has opened many doors to network and connect with organizations that utilize the platform and maintain a relationship with them to enable future job opportunities. Many employers have been reaching out to MTSM seeking students with experience in the platform, so it has been a great way to connect recruiters and students.
What are some of the skills you’ve developed through Salesforce?
I have learned the database from a Salesforce administrator standpoint and assist in managing the nine student licenses we have acquired to further train students in the platform. Also, through the various learning exercises available on Trailhead, I have learned data modeling and management. I believe that other students can take part in this opportunity to further their skills as well.
How was your presentation at the Higher Ed Summit received?
I am very happy to say that the presentation went very well, and many of the attendees from other schools found our presentation to be very helpful for guiding their efforts at their own institutions. We were able to share our story successfully, and I feel that we have set the bar for many schools to follow.