In a unique and ambitious effort to encourage top young talent to consider a career in insurance—and with the company—State Farm recently hosted its second-annual College Marketing & Sales Competition program, which attracted 16 students from eight universities across the country who vied for thousands of dollars in cash prizes.

“The competition is a great opportunity to identify talent, and it gives us the students’ unique perspective on the marketplace,” says Mike Davidson, State Farm’s recently retired vice chairman and chief marketing and agency officer, who oversaw the company’s nearly 18,000 agents across the country.

“It’s like a live learning lab for us,” adds SVP Rand Harbert, who just succeeded Davidson as State Farm’s chief agency and marketing officer. “We get to hear the best and brightest college students in the country talk about our products in a way that may not be the way we think to talk about our products. That, in and of itself, is the win for us in sponsoring the competition.”

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