IWU business club places in first regional competition

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Rebekah Smith, Staff Writer

 

On Saturday, Feb. 21, eight members of the new business club on Wesleyan’s campus, called Distributive Education Clubs of America, or DECA, travelled to Chicago to compete in their first-ever regional competition.

Hosted by DePaul University, the competitions consisted of business simulations and case studies. Judges were professionals in the business industry.

DECA is an international organization that was founded in 1946.  There are more than 215,000 total members from the United States, Canada, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Guam, The People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, South Korea, Japan, Germany, Spain and Turkey.

The organization has positively impacted more than ten million students, educators, and business professionals in its 70-year history.

Junior Alejandra Salinas took first place in the Accounting Case Study category, and junior Alyssa Gibson brought home a win with the Retail Management Business Simulation.

“Even though our chapter is new, the students who competed did very well against schools much larger than IWU and much more seasoned.  I am proud of their performance” said DECA advisor, IWU Professor of Accounting, Gerald Olson.

The IWU DECA club was the smallest group at the competition, but everyone did well in their respective categories.  In addition to the case studies and simulations, there are also individual written exams and group problem solving competitions.

“When you get to the competition, you’re given a scenario based on a real issue in that area of business. Participants have 30 minutes to read over the scenario and come up with the solution,” Salinas said. “When their time is up, they go and present their ideas to the judges for 15 minutes.”

During their preparation time before presenting, competitors are not allowed to use the internet or other sources. They are only allowed to use paper to make notes. “It can be a little overwhelming sometimes but I think the fact that it’s so challenging is what makes it so much fun. Saying your ideas in a clear and confident manner can go a long way with the judges even if what you say isn’t 100% accurate” Salinas added.

“DECA is an amazing organization to get involved in if you want to work on presentation and problem solving skills,” said Alyssa Gibson. “When Alejandra started the chapter our sophomore year I joined to put some of the skills I was learning in class to practice. So far it’s been an extremely rewarding experience.”

The DECA competition gives college students the opportunity to put their knowledge and skills to the test against others studying the same area of Business.  These competitions help prepare competitors for their future professional careers in the industry.  The DECA organization has become a brand of people who are prepared and experienced as emerging leaders in the business world.

“I chose to be a part of IWU Collegiate DECA to grow as a leader and public speaker. At the competition at DePaul University, I was able to learn how to evaluate a real-world business problem and present it in front of industry executives. These skills will help me immensely when I have to do a job interview” said first-year Patrick Zajac.

The competitors from Illinois Wesleyan were Matthew Braden, Brigitta Jakob, Junru Zhao, Patrick Zajac, Thaw Myat, Yangyuan Xu, Alejandra Salinas and Alyssa Gibson.  DECA’s advisor is IWU Professor of Accounting Gerald Olson.