Fruits of Hard Work

DECA Members Advance to State CDC


Photo Courtesy of Kimberly Stapleton

Two years ago, the state-bound DECA members stand together, smiling as they show their medals. President Suparna Swaroop , one of the advancing members, has expressed happiness and pride at these members for their work and advancing to state. “I am so proud of all the DECA members’ work and successes this year,” Swaroop said. “Especially with COVID-19 and the new virtual competition, our DECA members have really done an excellent job of working hard and staying motivated. I know that we are all going to do really well at state because our chapter is filled with passionate business students that are determined to compete.”

Ruchi Sankolli, Reporter

The competition season of DECA has recently started and the members have begun working towards preparing for competitions. After competing at the district and region level, 17 members will advance to the State CDC competition. The members will be competing in their respective categories against other DECA teams across the state. At the end of the state competition, after all members compete, students will find out if they qualified for the DECA International Career Development Conference.

“DECA competitions allow students to showcase their skills in marketing, finance, hospitality, and management,” senior DECA president Suparna Swaroop said. “Students compete in different events such as role plays (interviews) and written events (formal business presentations). Throughout the year, we prepare for business events by doing research, creating a business plan, etc. After advancing from district, state competition is the time that we demonstrate our hard work to the judges and display our oral/written communication, problem solving skills, leadership abilities, and general business potential.”

There are several events in the competitions, and State is no exception. The members advancing will compete in these categories: 

Integrated Marketing Campaign- Event

Independent Business Plan

Hospitality Services Team Decision Making

Retail Merchandising Series

Personal Financial Literacy

Human Resources Management Series

Apparel and Accessories Series

Swaroop is competing in the Apparel and Accessories Series, in which she has to present a role-play of a professional interview to the judge in ten minutes. 

“In Apparel and Accessories Marketing, I will be demonstrating my knowledge in promoting and selling fashion products,” Swaroop said. “My event will be about marketing for retail stores, customer service or consumer trends in a market place. I’ve been preparing for this event by keeping up with current fashion brand marketing strategies. Besides showcasing my knowledge, I also have to display good communication, innovative thinking, and 21st century skills. I chose this event because marketing interests me. It provides a lot of creative freedom and I also chose this event because fashion [also] interests me.”

Another event is the Personal Financial Literacy event. This is another role-play event in which participants have to present a specific scenario to the judges. However, part of it is a test as well, in which participants get tested on their knowledge regarding personal financial literacy. 

“I have to review concepts and learn to discuss or convince customers in roleplays, or [I can] test my knowledge in tests,” senior Rahul Kannam said. “[The concept that I will be reviewing] is related to the impact of education on jobs.” 

Kannam, who has been a member of DECA for three years, says he chose this event to try something new. Aside from that, he enjoys role-playing, while simultaneously testing his knowledge.

“I only used to do the stock market game [earlier],” Kannam said. “But then I moved on to doing [role playing] and the PFL event. Most only do one event, but for me, I don’t have to compromise since I’m doing both things that I love to learn about.” 

Besides learning about the things he loves, Kannam is also happy to compete again. He likes to test his knowledge and expand his horizons, he said. 

“I feel great to compete again,” Kannam said. “I am happy as long as I can continue to pursue [personal financial literacy] and test my knowledge along the way.” 

 The Independent Business Plan event is another event that members compete in. This involves members demonstrating their knowledge in developing a proposal for starting a new business. This involves factors such as marketing, labor and transportation costs, etc. 

“The Independent Business Plan event essentially puts our team into the shoes of the owners of a business and allows us to understand what goes into owning and maintaining a profitable and stable firm by having us develop a comprehensible proposal to start a new business and writing an analysis of our plan, taking into account a number of factors that constitute a successful establishment,” sophomore Arnav Batria said. “We really pay a lot of attention to factors such as changing finances, marketing, target audience, labor and transportation costs, and other elements of any business to identify strengths and possible shortcomings of our solution so as to present a financially-sound business plan that is viable well into the future.”

Batra, along with the rest of the business plan team, consisting of sophomores Will Schmitt, Zachariah Dorney, Gautham Saravanan, Alex Thummalpali, and Eshan Bharadwaj, chose this event because of their knowledge and strength in that particular area. Working with others is also a key benefit of being a part of this event, said Batra. 

“Each of us really chose IBP because it played a lot to our strengths,” Batra said. “We really liked how we could spend time drafting and editing and drafting our response, whereas some other challenges were more on the spot. We felt a little more in-control. Apart from how IBP played to my preferences and strengths, I also get to work with a lot of really skilled and intelligent people from whom I have learned a lot and with whom I learned I gelled really well, so that has definitely been a huge plus of competing in Independent Business Plan.”

This is Batra’s first year with the DECA Team, and advancing to state has been a good learning experience for him, he said. He also looks forward to improving his skills over the years. 

“It has been really exciting because we still, potentially, have two more years to compete as a team and so this is a really nice point to be at in the long-term,” Batra said. “As a sophomore, and as a team of sophomores, it is really cool for the same reasons; we have a lot of time left to improve and hone our skills.”

The DECA members are looking forward to the state conference, and are proud of their work to get to this point. According to Swaroop, the members have been very motivated and have shown dedication towards improving and making it to state this year, especially given the current situation. The members hope to succeed at the  state level. 

“I am so proud of all the DECA members’ work and successes this year,” Swaroop said. “Especially with COVID-19 and the new virtual competition, our DECA members have really done an excellent job of working hard and staying motivated. I know that we are all going to do really well at state because our chapter is filled with passionate business students that are determined to compete.”