Day: May 14, 2022

Tech Business Students Compete at International Collegiate DECA Conference

Four students stand in front of a DECA backdrop.
Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA members traveled to Baltimore, Maryland, to compete in their first-ever International Career Development Conference. (From left to right: Jaylen Body, Sammy Perrone, Zach Hooper, Lexi Dembroski)

This post was written by Sammy Perrone. In addition to being a first-year marketing student at Michigan Tech, Perrone serves as the Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA public relations officer and marketer.

In April, qualifying members of DECA flew to Baltimore, Maryland, for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Huskies were joined by nearly 900 Collegiate DECA members from more than 30 states and 50 chapters, including a chapter from England. Over the three-day conference, students took part in not only their competitive events, but also networking opportunities and the Professional Development Series.

Collegiate DECA is a student organization that prepares emerging leaders in the areas of finance, marketing, hospitality, management and entrepreneurship. Michigan Tech College of Business student competitors included:

  • Jaylen Body (Management and Social Sciences dual major)—top 10 finalist
  • Lexi Dembroski (Accounting with Data Analytics)—top 10 finalist
  • Zach Hooper (Engineering Management and Management Information Systems dual major)
  • Sammy Perrone (Marketing)

The Professional Development Series Workshop at ICDC allowed students to choose four workshops to attend throughout the day. Huskies chose from Personal Branding, Fundraising and Community Outreach, How to Network like a Pro, and Mastering Motivation.

Four students stand on stage backlit with purple lighting.
The conference punctuated a successful first year for Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA students.

 “During the Personal Branding workshop, I analyzed the way I present myself and the way others perceive my personal brand. It was great to reflect on my own brand, meet other students and see how they promote themselves and their own unique qualities,” Perrone says. 

Huskies Compete

The second and third days of the conference consisted of preliminary and final competitions. Jaylen Body (Hotel and Lodging) and Lexi Dembroski (Financial Accounting) were both finalists in their preliminary events, before moving onto the final competition where they received finalist medals on stage and were recognized as top 10 finalists internationally in their events at the awards ceremony.

Dembroski expressed that, “Competing in Financial Accounting allowed me to take concepts I learn in the classroom and apply them to real-world scenarios. As a first-year Michigan Tech business student, I cannot stress enough how valuable of an experience this was. Learning about the core financial statements in class is one thing, but actually getting the opportunity to analyze, produce and present these documents is another.”

“The career preparation provided by Collegiate DECA is unrivaled.”

Lexi Dembroski, Michigan Tech accounting student

Body, club president, adds: “Having thought about the hospitality industry as a potential career, listening to keynote speaker, Apoorva Gandhi, Marriott International’s Senior VP of Multicultural Affairs, and participating in the Hotel and Lodging event, I gained and reinforced an understanding of how business sectors come together to provide a memorable customer experience.”

In addition to competing, Perrone participated in the Sales Challenge sponsored by England Logistics. She was tasked with analyzing a sales case study and preparing a presentation to close the sale during the role-play competition. 

“I went into the Sales Challenge knowing it was a valuable opportunity to learn, challenge myself and gain knowledge. Having an understanding of sales is essential for my future in marketing,” Perrone says.

“I am grateful for the professional development opportunities DECA has provided me through the Career Development Conferences.”

Sammy Perrone, Michigan Tech marketing student

Also a first-time DECA participant, Zach Hooper, comments on what he gained from the conference, “ICDC gave me the opportunity to prepare for my future career in business. I heard from career professionals about their path to success, and how the business world works.”

In their free time, students explored the Inner Harbor of Baltimore—visiting the National Aquarium, eating at local restaurants, spending time outdoors in the sunshine and networking with chapter members from Davenport University.

Four student stand in front of a sign in Baltimore, Maryland
The group celebrated Jaylen Body’s (far left) birthday with dinner and gelato in Baltimore.

Looking Ahead

Body is optimistic about the future of DECA at Michigan Tech, stating, “After a successful startup year, Collegiate DECA will continue striving to bring more opportunities to campus for students to improve their professionalism, communication and leadership.”

Michigan Tech Collegiate DECA thanks its sponsors for helping make the trip possible: the College of Business Dean’s Advisory Council, Inter-Residence Housing Council, and the Dean of Students Office.

About the College of Business

The Michigan Tech College of Business offers undergraduate majors in accounting, business analytics, construction management, economics, engineering management, finance, management, management information systems, and marketing, as well as a general business option. Graduate degrees include the TechMBA®, a Master of Engineering Management, a Master of Science in Accounting, and a Master of Science in Applied Natural Resource Economics.