Do you aspire to attain some #DECAGlass in DECA’s Competitive Events Program this year? Set yourself up for success in DECA’s competitive events by using a two-fold method: first, find a career area that you have immense interest in learning more about, and second, find a format that suits your learning style. Answer the questions below, and you will be well on your way to choosing a competitive
WHAT ARE YOUR CAREER INTERESTS?
One of the best advantages of DECA’s competitive events is that they encourage you to explore your career interests. If you have a career interest that you are passionate about, find a competitive event that aligns with that passion because you’ll likely be more motivated and interested in learning as much as possible about that career pathway. That will make learning the knowledge and skills necessary for that competitive event, as well as the additional competition preparation and trends in the industry, all the more enjoyable.
DO YOU HAVE WORK EXPERIENCE?
If you’ve had a part-time job, an internship or work experience, think about how that may help you in DECA’s competitive events. For example, if you have worked in the retail career field, then a retail event may be a perfect fit for you because you can use the knowledge and skills you learned on the job when solving the challenge in your role-play or case study. For example, some of DECA’s role-plays challenge you to handle an issue with an upset customer, so if you have done that in real life, you’ll easily be able to relate to the challenge in the role-play. Or, perhaps, you have managed chapter projects and activities. That experience may help you in DECA’s Project Management Events. Consider using your previous job experience to find a competitive event that matches your on-the-job training.
HOW CAN YOU MATCH YOUR STRENGTHS TO THE FORMAT OF THE COMPETITIVE EVENT?
Are you a strong test taker?
If so, you may consider a competitive event with an exam component. If you’re not, you may find a written event more suitable, or at least know that you need to practice strategies to improve your test-taking skills.
Are you a strong presenter?
If so, most of DECA’s competitive events are a perfect fit for you because they require a presentation in front of a judge. The real question is: how much time do you like to prepare? If you like to think quickly, then a role-play or case study event may be optimal for you. However, if you like time to map out your presentation and rehearse it, you will likely want to consider one of DECA’s prepared or written events. And if you don’t like to present at all, consider one of DECA’s Virtual Business Challenge events that uses a computer-based simulation.
Do you work well with others?
This is a big question when deciding if you are looking to tackle a competitive event that allows you to work in a team of one to three members. Teamwork is an essential 21st Century skill, so ensuring you find teammates who complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses is key. You also have to make sure that your teammates will be accountable, which may require branching outside your network of friends. Some people prefer to work independently.
HOW DO YOU SELECT A COMPETITIVE EVENT?
DECA members can compete in a wide variety of events. Use this flow chart to find your type of event, and then find your specific event at deca.org/compete.
Whether you choose a role-play or a prepared event, DECA’s competitive events will undoubtedly prepare you for your future. Be sure to use the DECA Guide, competitive events poster and www.decadirect.org as you navigate your competition preparation. Athletes practice for their sport almost daily, so make DECA your sport and practice daily as well. DECA will help prepare you for college and a career.
Christy Rutherford is DECA's education manager. She enhances and manages an educational framework for DECA’s comprehensive learning program ensuring that all student programs are aligned to National Curriculum Standards. Christy also leads the advisor professional learning series and programs to support local chapter advisors.