Decked out in your favorite Western Business Attire outfit and feeling official with the badge stating your name, high school, and competition, you take a sweeping look around you. The room is abuzz with the excitement of opening ceremonies; loud music plays from the speakers as the different names of the competitions flit by across the screen. Principles of Finance. Hospitality Services. Travel and Tourism. You feel at home, here, amongst your fellow competitors also donned in their best Western Business Attire—and you feel ready for the next two days to come as the familiar, diamond logo appears on the screen: Distributive Educational Clubs of America. Simply put, DECA.
For anyone who is interested in pursuing finance, hospitality, management, marketing, or any sector within the larger umbrella of ‘Business’ in general, DECA is an incredible extracurricular activity to get involved in.
Areas of Competitions
For competitive high school DECA, there are nine different areas of competitions that students can get involved in: Principles of Business Administration, Team Decision Making, Individual Series, Business Operations Research, Chapter Team, Business Management and Entrepreneurship, Marketing Representative, Professional Selling, and Online.
Although there are a number of different competitions under the nine different areas, each is related in the way that they all have something to do with business. And the beauty of DECA is that it is not only for people with an interest in directly “business” fields, such as finance and marketing; there are competitions for those who are passionate about sports, culinary arts, tourism, fashion, community service, food, law, ethics, and so much more—making DECA a truly versatile activity that serves as a worthwhile experience for everyone.
So What Exactly Does This Entail?
Competitions at DECA will require the students to compile a binder of information on their ideas—better known as a business plan; role play, take a test, present, or a combination of the above. Competitions that involve the thirty and eleven paged business plans usually require the competitors to present their idea to a judge, who is an expert within the field, and do not require written tests. Those doing the binder competition choose their area of specialty (e.g. Hospitality and Tourism, Business Services, etc.) and focus in that field, or a particular company in that field, when doing their research.
Role plays are for those who enjoy spontaneity and thinking on their feet. Role players, similarly to binder competitors, choose an area of DECA to compete in. However, they do not go into the competition with a solid idea of what to expect; these competitors are expected to study that area of business in general and to know how to react appropriately with the knowledge that they have. Judges will throw a scenario at the competitors once it is their turn, and the competitors usually have ten minutes to prepare for the scenario—then another ten minutes to act out their solution to the problem with the judge. Role plays are most often accompanied by written tests on that particular field of business, and awards are given accordingly based on the points earned through the interactive role play, coupled with the test scores.
Am I Flyin’ Solo? Do I Get to Phone a Friend?
DECA is awesome in the way that it gives options. If you are feeling a bit nervous at the prospect (ha, see what I did there?) of having to go through presentations or role plays alone, have no fear. There are competitions in which a team of up to three can compete, giving you the opportunity to do DECA by having team members to rely on for support. For those of you who are thinking, “Well, what if my partner’s test score brings me down?!“, have no fear! DECA also has competitions for one, so you can reap all the benefits of your hard work with those trophies.