Rotary, Acquirent Meet UCU Business Students

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Rotary International and Acquirent, an Evanston-based outsourced sales and marketing company, recently greeted visiting students of the Lviv Business School of the Ukrainian Catholic University in Lviv, Ukraine. Rotary includes Ukraine among the 190 geographic locations where it has a presence. Acquirent helps companies solve their unique sales and marketing challenges. The students had lively discussions with the leaders of both organizations.

Four students and an administrator of the Lviv Business School are in the US gaining experience through visits with various businesses, and the University of Chicago Business School, as well.

Joe Flanagan, Chairman & CEO of Acquirent, explained that his company’s three main activities are recruiting, training, and managing employees. And he used this approach with the visiting students, beginning the meeting like a classroom session. He got acquainted with the group and asked each one why he or she had come to the US.

“We came here to see how the market works” said student Amalia Iusufova, who has a scholarship from the Chicago-based Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation, which fundraises for the university. Iusufova herself is already a businesswoman, working on marketing and selling her creative grid/frame furniture and lighting products.

“How do you sell to everyone?” was the question of student Viktor Pavluchynskyi.

“We’re really a sales company,” said Flanagan of Acquirent. So he discussed what he considered the five attributes of a great sales person: “positive attitude; ask good questions; listen; know your product; grit.”

Student Vitalii Sydorenko talked about his media monitoring company, Looqme, and made an impression when he revealed that 40% of those who have a demonstration of his company’s platform end up becoming customers. “The challenge is to show all the possibilities of our product to the client. If they see them, then they buy it,” explained Sydorenko.

Flanagan also gave the students a tour of Acquirent’s office, including the area where his team executes their outsourced sales methodology and a conference center where team members had just concluded a lesson on how to correspond with professional-quality e-mails.

After having lunch with two more leaders of Acquirent, which included more lively, high-level discussion, the group walked across the street to the main headquarters of Rotary International. John Hewko, Rotary’s General Secretary, is a former senator (trustee) of the Ukrainian Catholic University and himself of Ukrainian descent, so he conducted most of the meeting with the group in Ukrainian.

He told them about the work of Rotary, including almost 50 clubs in Ukraine with some 900 members. He encouraged them to find out more about Rotaract, which, according to their website “brings together adults ages 18-30 to take action in their communities, develop their leadership and professional skills, and have fun.”

Having himself lived a number of years in Ukraine, Hewko asked the students about the country’s situation today.

According to Sydorenko, the so-called “Revolution of Dignity” of 2013-2014, which resulted in the departure of President Viktor Yanukovych from Ukraine, was “a serious push in the right direction.” And Mykhailo Dumanskyi, Executive Director of the Сenter for Entrepreneurship of the Lviv Business School, added: “Reforming the country is a marathon, not a sprint.”

Joining the students at the two meetings were Joseph Solimini, COO of the Ukrainian Catholic Education Foundation (UCEF) and key UCEF staff.

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