Collegiate DECA is an international program dedicated to help prepare students become leaders and entrepreneurs. Students are given ideas and asked to pitch them at different nationwide conferences.
DECA is organized into two student divisions with high school and college programs. Currently, there are over 15,000 college DECA members across the United States.
Recently, 20 of Bellevue College’s DECA program participants, after placing at regionals in Victoria, BC, qualified for nationals, which will be located in Orlando, Fl. from April 18 to 21.
During the regional competition, Bellevue College produced three state champions. Keith Monaghan and Olivia Wright were recognized for their Financial Statement Analysis, and Maranda Fitzhugh won in Business Research.
At both the state and national levels, competitors are expected to present an oral report, prepare a case study and are interviewed by a board of judges.
“I learned a lot, like how to present. It gave me the opportunity to pitch to people in a new way and network with other people,” said BC’s DECA student organizer Andrew Norris, who took third place in the sales division.
“This program is definitely a self-investment for students such as myself who plan to go into business,” shared BC DECA member Tana Rulkova, “it is a great opportunity for people who are new and looking for community.”
DECA program coordinator and coach Kyle Barber said, “I really encourage those students who plan to transfer to a four-year university to look into DECA, because nowadays, it is more difficult to differentiate yourself from the crowd.”
“It is not enough these days to have good grades. You really need to prove that you’ve gone above and beyond and DECA gives that opportunity,” shared Barber.
Barber explained how his students were not only interested but highly motivated and competing was an incentive for his students to work harder and better.
He included, “Companies are often looking for leadership and business leaders often feel that the younger generation struggles with that. I really want to make sure that students develop the skills that are sought after in the competitive job market.”
Members are given the opportunity to work with their teammate through group sessions and one-on-one meetings with Barber. Students are encouraged to be picky about their use of vocabulary when presenting.
The group meets on Wednesdays at 11 a.m. and spend their meetings focusing on business and marketing.
“Because DECA is open to anyone regardless of degree choice, we want to turn your hobby into a business opportunity. I would highly encourage any major to join,” Barber concluded.
Students who participate in DECA may qualify for scholarships through the program. The DECA program annually donates $300,000 in scholarship funds to students across the country.
The Bellevue College DECA group is preparing to compete against other colleges in Florida in April. More information on DECA can be found on the Bellevue College website and the Bellevue College Institute for Business and Information Technology.