CDECA ICDC: First Time Experiences

Jun 1, 2024

Austin was the center of attention for the 2024 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference. Over 1,200 members attended with the mindset of competing, learning and growing as emerging leaders. For many, this year was their first time attending CDECA ICDC.

Hear from Emily Dang from the University of California, Irvine, Shrey Patel from Rice University, and Kate Parisi from Butler University on how they Experienced the Difference at Collegiate DECA ICDC 2024:

What was your favorite moment at Collegiate DECA ICDC 2024?

Emily: One DECA-based memory was after my role play. I did a mini victory dance out of excitement for being proud of myself, and I saw Sahar from DePaul and Samer from UNLV there. My mini-win became a group celebration, and at that moment, I got to experience both the opportunities for growth DECA provides as well as the supportive community! A bonus would be taking Michael and Sam from State Fair Community College to In-N-Out Burgers as California natives.

Shrey: Collegiate DECA ICDC 2024 was the highlight of my sophomore year! My favorite moment was meeting old friends from High School DECA and networking with hundreds of new friends from around the country. Another favorite moment was listening to the outstanding keynote speaker, Eddie Slowikowski, and his message.

Kate: My favorite moment at Collegiate DECA ICDC 2024 was when my partner and I learned we made finals. Seeing our hard work pay off and receiving positive feedback was incredibly rewarding. I was so excited to represent Butler DECA in their first competition season!

How did you prepare yourself for your competitive event?

Emily: I prepped for my competitive event by reviewing common performance indicator concepts. This exposed me to ideas I wanted to include in my presentations in case I received the PI in my role play. I also prepared a variety of presentation templates that worked for my event and that I formatted to change during my competition prep time easily.

Shrey: I prepared myself in two ways. First, for my HRM role-play, I skimmed through numerous role-plays from prior years and took notes on how I would approach different key performance indicators should they be asked in the official case study. Second, I read through my written entry multiple times for my BR-prepared event and created a meaningful script for my presentation. Further, I practiced my presentation late into the night for the days leading up to presentation day.

Kate: To prepare, my partner and I studied past case studies on This helped us build confidence and establish a consistent routine for approaching the competition. In addition, Butler DECA has a mentorship program where we are paired with business professionals. My partner and I met with our mentor to gain marketing ideas to use in our presentation, which was super helpful.

What is one lesson that you learned throughout this conference?

Emily: I learned that you get back the effort that you put in. It’s pretty cheesy, but I had so much fun because I put in the effort to make memories with friends. I met amazing new people because I decided to initiate conversation between workshops. I earned 4th place in my event for the dedication and passion that I put in! And most importantly, as the founder of a new chapter, I saw California start making a reputation for itself within our first year involved in Collegiate DECA. Seeing everything come to fruition at CDECA ICDC was the most rewarding experience of my college career thus far.

Shrey: If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that practice truly makes perfect and that to be successful, you must dedicate yourself fully to your goal. I learned and experienced this through preparing and competing in my competitions. Further, I knew that when you’re at a conference with highly dedicated individuals, such as the ones at CDECA ICDC, you want to take advantage of every moment you have to network and cultivate strong relations - even if it means getting to lunch at 4:30 pm.

Kate: At Collegiate DECA ICDC 2024, I learned firsthand the importance of adaptability in competitive environments. Even though we prepared thoroughly, there were times when unexpected challenges popped up during the competition. However, instead of getting flustered, we stayed calm and adjusted our strategies on the spot. It taught me that success often depends on our ability to roll with the punches and thrive in changing circumstances.

What would you say to someone hesitant about joining Collegiate DECA?

Emily: Take the leap. There’s nothing to lose, ever, with the Collegiate DECA network. Even if you’re nervous about competing, you’ll meet the most inspirational and supportive network. Even if you’re introverted, you’ll get to explore amazing cities. If you approach CDECA with an open mind, you’ll always gain something positive!

Shrey: I’ll say one thing: take the leap of faith, and I guarantee you won’t regret it. Take it as an investment towards your future career. Through DECA, you’ll discover your true potential and grow personally and professionally within a tight-knit family supporting and motivating you throughout your career.

Kate: If someone hesitates to join Collegiate DECA, I would assure them that it's an amazing opportunity. It's not just about competing; it's about learning real-world skills to help you in your future career. You'll improve your understanding of business, better present ideas and learn how to work well in teams. Plus, you'll meet awesome people who share your interests and might connect you with job opportunities later. So, don't hesitate to try it, and you'll be glad you did!

Next year's Collegiate DECA ICDC will be in San Francisco, CA. Special thanks to Emily, Shrey, and Kate for sharing their experiences!


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