It’s a long way from Norway to St. Cloud, but alums Per Rasmussen ’86 and Nina Skage ’86 consider St. Cloud State “family” and are happy to be philanthropic supporters of the Professional Selling Specialization Program, the 15 credit hour program from the Herberger Business School available to students from all academic disciplines. “Developing people skills is so essential to success in life” says Rasmussen, CEO of Stromberg Gruppen, a Bergen, Norway based company specializing in trucking, commercial property and commodities.
“Per and I loved our St. Cloud State education, especially the aspects of developing projects and making presentations in class. It’s important to present your ideas in any job and to do it in a persuasive manner” says Nina, whose career was largely spent in consumer packaged goods marketing. The couple was drawn to the Professional Selling Specialization because it provides the hands-on, experiential learning environment that was so important to them and that they believe helps set students apart. According to Per “learning to compete” is important and “understanding that our learning never stops” is a critical concept for students to embrace throughout their careers.
Per and Nina’s annual gift in support of the Professional Selling Program assists, among other things, the annual Professional Selling Competition, conducted each fall and spring. In the competition students pitch a product or service of their choosing to a “buyer” who’s in the simulated office of the Northwestern Mutual Sales Lab. Students are viewed and rated remotely by panelists from sales organizations from throughout St. Cloud and the greater Twin Cities. Scholarships are awarded, winners move on to regional and national competitions and internships and job offers from employers are common.
“We’ve never forgotten all that St. Cloud State did for us” say Per and Nina. “State universities are facing many challenges these days so philanthropy is very important in delivering their mission. What we learned at St. Cloud State helped make us successful and we want to give back so today’s students are prepared for career success just like we were!”