4 Things DECA Taught Me
“You have to get involved in school. Join a club, play a sport, audition for the musical… whatever your interest might be, just get involved.” Words of advice that many of us have probably heard numerous times throughout our young lives from parents, teachers, and counselors. Knowing what I know now, DECA is one organization that I kick myself for not joining in high school. DECA is a nationwide organization that teaches students to confidently present a business plan with ease.
I had the opportunity to connect with DECA alumnus and Wharton School of Business student, Dean Jones, about his time in DECA and how it prepared him for his future. Dean, a first-year student at the University of Pennsylvania, spent three years in Nonnewaug High School’s DECA chapter in Woodbury, Connecticut. Under the direction of Devon Bares, Dean excelled quickly in DECA, taking on the role of Chief Operating Officer before advancing to Co-President of his chapter and Connecticut State President. “Mr. Bares was my biggest influence in DECA. He saw my potential and pushed me to see my strengths. I had never thought about being a state officer until he brought it up. It ended up being the best decision I made in high school.”
Throughout his time with DECA, Dean not only led his peers throughout the state but also gained experience by competing in the marketing communications team role play, the buying and merchandizing team event, and the business services operations written event. Through these competitions and his role as State President, Dean reflects that many of the skills he excels in now were learned and crafted thanks to DECA.
There are several opportunities to work as a team with DECA. In competitive team events, small groups have to work together to problem solve and present their ideas to a panel of judges. As a state officer, Dean had the opportunity to work with a much larger group planning the Connecticut state conference and the ICDC conference in Atlanta.
As co-president, Dean and his advisor worked together to prepare his peers for competition by assessing the chapter level and putting together teams to set the chapter up for success.
Planning conferences, in addition to preparing for competition and all of his regular school, work helped Dean to understand and improve his time management skills.
One of the most challenging skills for many, confidence in a presentation, is a priceless skill that students gain with hours of practice as a part of DECA. Interpersonal communication is a core value of DECA that students craft throughout their preparation and competition experience.
This past summer, Dean had the opportunity to transfer his presentation skills into a real life scenario working with Vector Marketing selling Cutco Cutlery. In a matter of 10 days, Dean sold over $10,000 in products simply by demonstrating the product that was given to him. “I was always comfortable doing presentations, but DECA helped me to develop my interpersonal communication skills. When working with Vector, the way the manual is written out makes it so easy, and the skills I learned with DECA were applicable to what I was doing.”
Vector Marketing wishes Dean all the best throughout his collegiate career. You have a bright future ahead of you thanks to the experience you gained through DECA.