Utah Valley University is consistently creating some of the state’s best B2B SaaS talent
Right in the heart of Utah county lies a university that for too long has coasted under the radar, overshadowed by institutions with longer-standing acclaim. Although it only gained university status in 2008, Utah Valley University (UVU) has been turning out excellence in over 250 fields, and among its top performers are those in business management, marketing and professional sales.
“UVU has produced some of the best sales talent in the B2B Saas world. We don’t talk about that and it’s actually amazing,” said Dave Christison, co-founder and COO of Status, in a recent tweet.
Commenters on the tweet readily agreed with Christison, with one even referring to the university as the “Harvard of the West.”
But there was also an interesting question posed with regards to correlation as opposed to causation. “The Valley itself has such incredible talent,” tweeted Evan LaPointe, founder of CORE Sciences. He went on to ask about the specifics of the coursework at the university and if the programs themselves were responsible for bringing such astounding results to the table. “If so,” he says, “that is awesome news.”
UVU is ranked in the top ten percent for business management and administration in the country and number three in Utah. University alumni work for some of the most recognizable names in business, including Eide Bailly, BDO USA, Ernst & Young, and doTerra.
Gary Johnson, director of the professional sales program at UVU, believes it all boils down to “good raw material.”
“The typical UVU student is hungry and gritty,” Johnson says. “A high percentage of them are already in ‘hard America’ because they’re first-generation college students, married with children and/or working full-time while they go to school.”
"Our courses are focused exclusively on B2B selling and require that students actually sell real products to real customers."
According to Johnson, this leaves the students in a ready-to-learn and ready-to-work state, as they are “not above doing hard things.”
The next most important component, Johnson says, is UVU’s world-class training that is developed exclusively by professors who have all been successful in sales. “Our courses are focused exclusively on B2B selling and require that students actually sell real products to real customers,” he continues. “Gone are the days of just role-playing, although we do a ton of that too.”
One example of a change-making UVU alum is Shane Murphy, whose B2B SaaS company Boostly is changing the world of SMS marketing for restaurants and eateries across America after being successfully accepted into Y Combinator.
“Murphy has been working with Y Combinator to help accelerate Boostly from a small startup to a thriving enterprise,” reads an article about Boostly on UVU’s news site. “It is one of the many companies that found its home in the UVU Business Resource Center (BRC), a center dedicated to incubating startup companies in their infancy by providing much-needed and otherwise expensive office space.”
According to crunchbase.com, there are over 130 other companies founded by UVU alumni that are taking the world by storm.
Ultimately, Johnson says, UVU teaches its students to hold SaaS and sales opportunities as professions in high esteem. “When it comes down to it, sales is positively the beating heart of every business,” he continues. “Sales is a form of leadership. As leaders, students should be trained to care deeply about their customers, but not let them stay where they are. They need to push them, if needs be, to a better place. Because the survival of that customer’s business just may depend on it.”