By: Staff Writer Mallika Gupta
MSJ DECA travelled to Nashville, Tennessee to compete at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) from April 23 to April 26. This year the chapter brought 67 students and won five top 3 trophies, with 11 teams placing in the Top 20 — an incredible increase from last year’s performance.
Advised by Math Teacher Tyler Robinson and MSJ Alumnus Samir Panjwani, the chapter stayed at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center, taking shuttles to the Bridgestone Arena and Music City Center to participate in the conference. After attending the opening ceremonies with all 17,500 participants, members checked in for their events, kick-starting the conference’s exams and written events. Students then spent the next few days participating in their respective competitive events.
This year, MSJ DECA also dominated Virtual Business Challenge (VBC) events, in which teams take part an online business simulation in which they have to earn the most amount of money. These competitive rounds were displayed on live screens in ICDC’s exhibition hall, and were organized as a bracket system, with only the top two teams from each round qualifying to the next bracket. Four teams from MSJ DECA were finalists for VBC, with two teams winning first place for VBC Restaurant and VBC Hotel respectively, one team winning second place in VBC Accounting, and another team winning third place for VBC Sports.
Aside from the competitive events, ICDC also hosted other activities which DECA members could take part in. The Exhibition Hall which hosted VBC also featured a huge fair with colleges, companies, and corporate sponsors of DECA. Students had the opportunity to connect with various enterprises, creating networks and receiving free items from some booths as well.
ICDC offered various leadership academies for school chapters to send their members to. Advisers, chapter officers, and chapter members attended workshops to gain a variety of abilities from leadership to event specific skills. DECA also hosted events in Nashville in collaboration with the local community, such as baseball games, concerts and cruises.
Former 2015-2016 CA DECA Vice President of Public Relations Senior Zuhayer Quazi said, “The best part about ICDC isn’t necessarily the competition or academies, but rather the people and the memories you make… If you ask anyone after ICDC what they remember most about it, it’s almost never their competitive experience, but rather the late night talks with their roommates, the thousands of people at the opening ceremony, and the many new friends you’ll make from different states, and, of course, Ontario. These are the things that will stick with us .”
Top 20 results were announced in the Bridgestone Arena for every event after every participant completed one or two rounds of competition, with teams being recognized onstage at the Recognition Session. The Top 20 finalists for each event then competed once more to make it onstage as part of the Top 10 at the Grand Awards Session. Finally, the Top 3 teams were then announced and awarded with trophies for each event.
MSJ’s DECA chapter saw a wealth of successes at this year’s ICDC event, with five Top 3 trophies, as opposed to the two Top 3 trophies from the two previous years combined. With 11 teams placing in the Top 20 and a landmark year in VBC, MSJ DECA was truly able to capitalize on the opportunities DECA had to offer.
As the chapter focused on creating a more personal work environment for their students this year, MSJ DECA’s chapter Co-President Shivam Patel said, “The chapter’s performance this year was definitely better than the previous years, in terms of the number of finalists and top three winners… I’m very very excited to see how next year’s officer team refines this new system and makes it even better than we did this year. We’re definitely on the right track and I’m very hopeful that in the years to come, our students will see even more competitive success.”
Photo Credits: California DECA