INNOVATIVE PARTNERSHIP: Jason Bahnak, '98, (center), business growth expert & shareholder at Abstrakt Marketing Group. (l to r, front row): Michael Carter, executive sales manager, Bahnak, and Kelly Gould,'15, training and development manager; (l to r, back row) are Maryville University students Anthony Allen, Alex Wolters and Sam Kaleel. ©Photo by Jerry Naunheim Jr.

Maryville, Abstrakt Create Unique On-Campus Partnership

Working in a satellite office on campus, students gain real-world sales and marketing experience

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Maryville University and Abstrakt Marketing Group have announced an unprecedented internship opportunity for students interested in sales and marketing careers. The St. Louis-based firm recently opened a satellite office on Maryville’s campus, and has created a paid internship opportunity for students.

“This exciting partnership with Abstrakt Marketing allows our students to get industry experience with a high quality, award-winning company,” said Jason Williams, EdD, assistant dean of Maryville’s Simon School of Business and assistant professor. “Working with the business community is a key element of the Maryville University brand, and partnering with Abstrakt is an innovative example of the value that strategy brings to our students.”

Maryville University renovated space to serve as a state-of-the-art office center where students will work directly for Abstrakt Marketing Group. They’ll learn best practices in sales and marketing in an active business environment. The semester-long internships also give students the opportunity to apply coursework to actual sales situations.

“For years, it has been a dream of ours to help students grow while obtaining their education,” said Scott Scully, CEO of Abstrakt. “We’re seeing extraordinary support from the Maryville team. They understand businesses need to be involved in educational development, and that reaching students earlier in their academic careers will lead to future success.”

In the first semester, 17 students were selected for the part-time internship through a competitive interview process. They earn a base pay, plus commission. At the conclusion of the program, students will receive an Abstrakt Sales Academy Certification. They will also have in hand a portfolio of class credits, copies of all their personal sales metrics, and live sales call recordings to demonstrate their skills to future employers.

“In the short time I’ve worked with Abstrakt, I’ve learned so much about sales and some industries I never thought I would work in,” said Jeff Boelter, a freshman in Maryville’s Rawlings Sport Business Management program. “The idea of getting real world experience in school is a big deal for me. This program has gone above and beyond my personal expectations already.”

Abstrakt is well known for its corporate culture focused on growth. As the company explores opportunities to broaden its campus initiative, the partnership with Maryville University will serve as a model for future programs.

“Abstrakt plans to expand the number of exclusive On Campus Sales Experiences in markets beyond the St. Louis area,” Scully said. “Our mission is to provide opportunities for students to develop market-ready skills, help them secure employment after college, and identify talented future Abstrakt team members.”