Robyn Lee – UCLA
When I sat in my information session on campus, I thought I had Southwestern Advantage figured out. I was a big skeptic of the program at UCLA, but I was a sophomore in school, with summer school and working for my parents’ small businesses being the only things on my resume. It was a wonder that I got selected. I’d never imagined myself doing any type of sales. My parents never open the door to solicitors, and I was in a long-distance relationship and had planned to spend my summer with my then-boyfriend. However, after meeting with my student manager through the interview process, it seemed as though the advantages and things I’d seen other students gain at UCLA were too good to pass up. I was offered a spot on the team and I committed.
“This sounds like another multi-level marketing scam.”
“You’re getting sucked into a pyramid scheme.”
“Oh… that’s cool… I guess…”
These were the three most common responses I got when I told my friends and family about it. Can you imagine the excitement to relocate to a different part of the country, with complete strangers, doing something I wasn’t sure I was going to succeed in? I became reluctant to go to training with my student manager and reluctant to go to team meetings. To my friends, it seemed as though I’d finally conceded when I sent an email from Sales School in Nashville saying, “Don’t EVER let me do this crazy thing again!!”
I remember it took me about two or three full weeks into the summer before I really started changing my attitude and letting go of my fears and doubts. I started to try to be friendly to my roommates and actually get to know them. I let myself have fun on the job. I stopped calling my mom to complain. Instead, I became coachable. That’s when I started doing really well.
Thankfully in the beginning and through it all, I remained coachable, hard-working and studious. I remember feeling anxious and trying to soak in everything my managers were teaching me so that I didn’t flounder during the summer; after all, I had made the decision and commitment to my team, my student manager, and to myself; and I wasn’t about to come back empty handed to my skeptical friends. I did what I was taught, and the 150 year-old systems that Southwestern uses to train students WORKS. It was very simple, and instead of trying to do it my own inexperienced way, I didn’t let myself stray from the proven path.
I went into my first summer wanting to develop my resume and gain financial independence from my parents, and never look back at the crazy program. I received so much more, as cliche as that sounds. I ended up as the #6 first year dealer making a gross profit of about $19,800. I got what I had came for, but I also gained a sense of confidence and achievement that made me feel incredible. My appreciation for my parents and for their 20+ years of hard work to build a comfortable life for my brother and me sky-rocketed. I learned how to handle problems that came my way with maturity, and not to sweat the small stuff. I became best friends with my roommates, though we can’t be any more different. Most importantly, I learned that my parents were right about me: I can do anything I put my mind to. It was the most challenging experience of my life, and I like being able to say that I accomplished and succeeded at something that most people are too afraid of even trying. Fortunately, the equation is simple – work the hours, see the people, and be coachable. Success in the Southwestern Advantage program is determined by how well one chooses to execute that simple formula.