First Idaho State endowed sales scholarship established in the College of Business
By Kelsey West, Business Marketing Director | December 1, 2020
POCATELLO – Idaho State University College of Business alumnus Don Zebe and his wife Cyndee have established the first endowed sales scholarship in University history.
The scholarship will benefit full-time, junior- or senior-level students pursuing the College of Business’s new Sales Certificate. The Don and Cyndee Zebe Scholarship Endowment was established with the hope of supporting a future degree program in sales.
Don, a 1980 graduate of the management and operations program and a partner for the commercial real estate company Colliers International, said his motivation for supporting the sales program was thanks to his own experience starting out in the workforce.
“When I began my professional selling career, I believed I was ready for the challenge of selling only to realize that I did not have the basics, never mind the advanced knowledge of how a sale was really transacted” he said. Don said he was unprepared during his first job interview when asked questions about sales cycles and methodology.
“I was ever so grateful when I got my first sales position where the hiring manager took a chance on me, two years after I graduated.”
He explained that he chose to support students pursuing the sales program because he knew, from his own experience, that it would give them a leg up in pursuing their careers after graduation.
“I am confident that those who take advantage of the sales program will launch their careers by two years just by having the understanding of sales and how to apply this knowledge in practical applications,” he said.
The College of Business will begin offering the nine-credit sales certificate to any major in the University during the fall 2021 semester. Zebe noted that he believes sales knowledge is an important skill for any major.
“Selling is an everyday activity regardless of one’s subject discipline,” he said. “Communication requires understanding and the ability to ask questions to communicate solutions. Avoiding what I call ‘mutual mystification’ is key in selling. Thus, seeking to understand before seeking to be understood is the basic blocking and tackling that every discipline requires.”
Zebe said he feels that the professional selling courses in the College of Business will help prepare all students for proper communication in their careers.
Don and Cyndee are happy to contribute to the success of their fellow Bengals and support a brighter future for Idaho State’s students.
“Anytime you can lighten the financial burden of a struggling student while encouraging the best of the best to look at sales as a career course or adding professional sales courses to their chosen field of study will, without a doubt, give them an edge when competing for positions throughout their careers,” said Don. “No doubt they will pay it forward and remember we ROAR at Idaho State.”