Decking the Competition

DECA teams Place at International Career Development Competition


Photo Courtesy of Kimberley Stapleton

DECA timber wolves Alex Thummalapalli, Gautham Saravanan, Eshan Bharadwaj, Ethne Barnes, Claire Poulter, Paisley Schalles celebrate their placements at the 2022 ICDC competition. this years event took place in Atlanta for the four day duration of the competition. “to me the most important components of DECA are the experiences and connections you make there,” Schalles said. “Through my three years at DECA I’ve found the value of partnership and its role in ones ability to lead and accomplish.”

Isaiah Prophet, Reporter

DECA students got the opportunity to showcase their business prowess at the 2022 International Career Development Competition. Competing against over 160 schools across the nation, our timberwolves pulled both a silver medal as well as a top ten spot in the two largest divisions in the competition. 

The first team consisting of  juniors Ethne Barnes, Claire Poulter,  and Paisley Schalles competed in the integrated marketing campaign. Which consists of a three part written competition including a ten page paper as well as a 15 minute presentation and exam on the subject. Poulter was in charge of selecting and researching their subject company Urban Stems. Their final score was a 93 which placed them in the 87th percentile in their event and earned them a silver medal for placing top ten in the nation. 

“I think the most important part of generating a campaign for the competition is the brainstorming process,” Poulter said. “If you select a company that you love, you have a basic campaign theme that you are really enthusiastic about. The rest of the project comes a lot easier. I would also say that whatever you put into it is what you’ll get out of it, it’s easy to go far if you’re willing to spend the time making your paper and presentation the best it can be.”

The International Career Development Competition is the highest level of the DECA division. With over 18,000 people attending, including judges, competitors, and advisors the stakes are as high as they can get. According to junior Ethne Barnes, she took extreme pride in being able to walk the stage and be recognized by the crowd.

“Being called down to the stage and receiving my award was one of the proudest moments of my life,” Barnes said. “I felt as if my work all year throughout all levels of the competition had finally paid off. We had worked so hard on our final project that presenting it felt like second nature. We knew that no matter the outcome, we had at least made it to Atlanta which was our ultimate goal. We were a little disappointed that we did not advance past the preliminary competition after being called onto stage, however, we were still proud of the fact that we were able to be recognized for our performance in front of thousands of people.”

Schalles has been in DECA for three years and despite not advancing to finals with her team she is still extremely proud of their 94% score overall. Making it all the way to the judging room which is something not all teams get to accomplish. 

“Competition is important but only a fraction of what our career development conferences entail,” Schalles said. “While DECA is a very large organization it isn’t widely recognized by non members. Which is what makes the experience of interacting with future leaders all the more valuable. None of this would be possible without this group that I now call family.”

 The second team consisting of Alex Thummalapalli, Gautham Saravanan, and Eshan Bharadwaj placed second in the nation for the personal finance division which consisted of a business proposal presentation and a virtual simulation

“I want to take away the meaningful communication skills that I learned and the meaningful relationships I gained,” senior Gautham Saravanan said. “especially after all the hard work it was to do the financial report for our proposal. Balancing budgets and spending countless hours making sure our numbers made sense before we presented our projected business idea. I think it’s important to recognize students and competitors around the U.S. and I’m so glad that I got to participate.”