How to Get the Most Out of DECA ICDC
Mallory Powell | Campus Recruiting Manager
Twenty thousand cheering students filling an NFL area, all-dawning their embossed blazers while Grammy award winner, Andy Grammar serenades the crowd with one of his chart toppers. It looks like the scene out of a movie. A preppy version of Harry Potter maybe but this is DECA ICDC’s opening ceremony.
Every year thousands of students from across the country compete for a coveted spot at DECA’s International Career Development Conference. Four days of competition, networking and an experience that will transform a high school student into a young adult ready to take on college and their future career with veracity. How does one even prepare for such an event and how can you be sure to get the most out of a whirlwind event like ICDC?
We asked current NARVP for DECA, Inc., Rachel Lynch to share her best advice on how to best prepare for the conference. With two ICDC’s under her belt, Rachel describes what it’s like making that leap to the national stage. “At ICDC, you are surrounded by the best of the best in the entire world. At a state conference, your fellow competitors are made-up of the best members from each high school in the state. At ICDC, you are among the best of the world no longer representing your high school but your state or association.”
Competing at that level comes with hours of preparation and dedication. Rachel shared what she did to give her that extra edge over her competition. “I studied quizlet to expand my marketing terminology for competition as well as reviewing sample role-play scenarios and performance indicators to be familiar with more challenging content that will reflect what I would see at the international level of competition.”
Since this is most likely your first time packing for a professional event, make sure to check DECA Direct for packing guides. Rachel advises that essentials like Band-Aids for blisters from professional shoes are a must as well as oranges for immune system support but most importantly, “a camera to capture this once in a lifetime experience.”
A large part of ICDC is the ability to vote for your peers who are going to represent you on a national level. Much like you would see at the state conference, students organize their campaigns in booths in the exhibitor hall. Make sure to stop by and learn about the candidates so that you can vote for who should represent your region. Rachel reflects on what running for office at ICDC was like, “As a candidate for Executive Office, there is a lot of added pressure at ICDC. You are persuading members why you are the right person to represent them at the international level. You are communicating why your platform matches their needs and desires in DECA.” Running for office adds an entirely new level of preparation to a DECA’s repertoire. “It is an incredible experience that hopefully concludes with a relieving, exciting filled hug with your new teammates at closing session after the announcement of the results. But no matter the result, elected or not, the experience of being a candidate will grow you exponentially as an individual and professional that is irreplaceable.”
Rachel will be making her final ICDC appearance this year and plans on “leaving the most #gNARly legacy” as she completes her term for DECA. The lifelong friendships and memories that she has made will certainly make moving on from DECA bittersweet.
“Spend as little time possible in your hotel room and get outside or in the conference center networking.” The exhibitor hall is filled with colleges, university and company representatives looking to recruit the sharpest students in the country. Vector Marketing has been a member of DECA’s National Advisory Board for over 10 years. Each year they host a fun an interactive exhibitor booth. Stop by our booth to grab everyone’s favorite Chapstick and to gain more information on how to stand out as a career candidate by applying your DECA skills in the real world.