DECA heads toward D.C. destination

Ariel Themm, Staff Reporter

Since 1946, the Distributive Education Clubs of America (DECA) has been encouraging both high school and college students to actively work on their skills with business and marketing. At Oakland University, all members of DECA have qualified to move onto Internationals, a much larger competition.

“Collegiate DECA at Oakland University is a business organization which offers students a unique opportunity to perfect the hard and soft skills of business through professional development events, creative problem solving and international competitions,” DECA President Anthony Piazza said.

“It’s exciting to see all of the members place for this competition. It’s a big deal because you don’t usually see such large groups participate from other chapters. Confidence is the key to success when it comes to these competitions.”

Internationals will take place in Washington, D.C. in April. To meet financial needs of such a trip, DECA will be looking to the university for funds as well as fundraising opportunities through restaurants like Chipotle. The group will also accept donations from any businesses, faculty and anyone who will give to the cause. DECA members will pay for the rest of the balance.

Internationals consist of two parts: teams and individuals. People who are working together to present their scenario will be given an hour to prepare, while individual presentations will only be given half an hour. No matter which part a person is in, each presentation will only have 15 minutes to pitch a product to the judges. 

“My individual was in marketing management and my partner and I did marketing communications,” Sanjay Antani, a DECA member said. “I placed for both areas, but competitions will only allow for you to participate in one. Since my partner qualified with me, we’re going as a team.”

During last week’s competition, four of the groups and three individual members came in first place. Additionally, two groups and one individual placed in second, while one individual placed third. Various subjects were presented on, such as international marketing, business ethics and human resources management.

“It’s been a great experience,” Abigail Makelim, a sophomore and first year member, said. “I placed second in the marketing communications category, which qualified me to Internationals in DC. I think that everyone gets to gain a lot of leadership experience by being in this club.”

Each individual and group is given what is called a case study. They will essentially create an improvisation for each scenario based off real-life business situations. Once the person or group is ready, they present to judges to show how well they can handle various business-related problems.

“It’s been a fantastic social outlet, especially if you’re a commuter,” Antani said. “You have to get involved and find people with similar interests and DECA has definitely really made me do that. I’ve made a lot of friends, especially upperclassmen, who have become mentors, as well as really help me later on in life. I encourage everyone to give it a chance.”

In addition to the relationships DECA members have built, they also feel a sense of pride for their accomplishments.

“I just wanted to say I’m incredibly proud of this team,” Piazza said. “They have made this last year very special. It’s been a great journey.”


16 DECA members placed for Internationals.

  • Amanda Abi-Samra
  • Sanjay Antani
  • Erika Barker
  • Ben Byrne
  • Renato Capelj
  • Rianna Goetting
  • Jahnavi Gudi
  • Kirsten Hewson
  • Abby Makelim
  • Marek Nagy
  • Anthony Piazza
  • Pujan Shah
  • Raymond Stoves
  • Megan Tack
  • Alex Timmis
  • Kourtnie Woodcox