Three Benefits of Getting to Know Your Competition

There are countless ways to be successful in DECA but getting to know your competition was one of the many that aided me to achieve tremendous success but also gain an experience like no other. Last year, I met Jack Gebhardt who was also in my event, Financial Consulting at the district competition. Over time, through our DECA experiences and successes, we got to know each other and became great friends. We advanced to state and later to nationals. At this point, we both knew that our biggest competitors would likely be ourselves.

Here are three benefits of getting to know your competition:

1. Get clarity on a different perspective

Often, DECA prompts from written events to role plays can be manipulated in so many ways. Bottom line is that there is no correct answer to any business situation given. After advancing to nationals in Atlanta, we both shared our approaches to the prompt which was relating to retirement planning, at the time. Many people view this as a threat in terms of competition, but this is something truly beneficial. If you decide to take this opportunity to simply replicate someone else’s ideas, it will end up hurting you down the road as you demonstrate a lack of confidence in your work, which, as a result, may not equate to the success you hope for. After all, you should believe and have confidence in the work done. Personally, presenting to each other was a cool experience especially to someone my age who knew equally as much about retirement. Understanding his feedback and gaining his perspective, did not urge me to change every detail in my presentation; rather, it helped me create a more engaging introduction and add more interactions with the client (judge).

2. Understand their strengths and your weaknesses

As mentioned earlier, Jack’s advice brought to my attention that my introduction could have been more compelling and my interactions with the client (judge) could have increased. This feedback was something in which he felt I lacked, while his presentation was solid in that aspect and could have improved in others. In addition, all the way up to nationals, Jack would consistently outscore me in his test (Finance Cluster) by 10-15 points on average while on the other hand, I would do the same in terms of the presentation. In both situations, we both learned to identify where my weaknesses were his strengths and vice versa. I gave him tips on ways to professionally present while he gave me solid study strategies to score better on the notorious Finance exam.

3. Acknowledge that you are both in it to win it

Our goal was always to compete successfully and place at the international level. The professional relationship that we built was such a humbling experience as we cheered each other on and pushed ourselves to elevate to new heights. Getting to know Jack was a confidence booster and provided a motivation to continuously improve. Our strengths combined and professional advice to each other aided to terminate our doubts and compete with the best of our ability as if we were certified financial advisors, dealing with the situation like as if it were for real.

In the end, the reward of the relationship that Jack and I built goes beyond the aspect of competition. We both accomplished our goal with our own efforts and with the help of each other which was ultimately to place at the international level. Getting to know your competition can be a long-lasting experience which can help you achieve your DECA goals, meaningfully talk on a professional level about business, and most importantly construct a solid friendship.

This article was written by Rohan Nipunge (ThunderRidge DECA). Follow ThunderRidge DECA on Twitter @TRHSDECA.

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