Distributive Education Clubs of America, also known as DECA, is a club for high school and college level students that prepares them for a future career in the business field. Beth Christman, a junior at Nutley High School (NHS), has participated in the club since her sophomore year but it was completely virtual then.
This year DECA has been in person and with that, Beth has had an outstanding DECA experience. She competed in regionals and then advanced to states. Only 10% of competitors move on from regionals to states. After states, Christman ended in the top seven which qualifies her for the National DECA Competition in Atlanta, Georgia.
There is a lot that goes into a DECA competition. “Students take a 60 minute MBA (Masters of Business Administration) test in their chosen career cluster,” says Ms. McNish, the marketing teacher and DECA club advisor at Nutley High School. All students participating in the competition take a new timed test of 100 questions.
Next, there is a role play aspect of the competition where students receive a case study scenario. They have 10 minutes to prepare without any technology and then eventually present their case to the judges. “You have to be able to think quickly on your feet since you only get ten minutes to read through the issue and come up with a solution, which you then have to present to a total stranger,” explains Christman.
According to Christman, preparing for a competition is hard because “role plays are random and you won’t know the exact scenario until it’s presented in front of you.” For states, she utilized what she learned in marketing freshman year up to now to prepare her for the competition. “Having the base knowledge is usually enough,” Christman expresses.
Nationals begins on April 23 and ends on April 26, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia. When asked if she is nervous or scared about competing, she responds, “I’m pretty nervous for nationals actually, since I know the level of competition will be higher. Plus, I haven’t been on a plane since I was five, and I’ve never been to Georgia.” The level of competition will be much higher which forces Beth to be on top of her game when arriving in Atlanta.
The test is longer and consists of more questions for nationals than the test for regionals and states. Instead of a 60 minute 100 question test, it is now a 90 minute test with 120 questions. “I think I’m most nervous about the test I have to take once I get to Atlanta because that was the lowest part of my score for states, since I scored nearly perfectly for my two role plays,” Christman explains.
It is evident that Beth has had much success during her time in DECA. Going to nationals is a huge deal and should be recognized. Unfortunately, Beth did not advance to finals but nationals was such an amazing experience for her. 18,000 kids from 11 different countries competed, so being apart of that is a win in itself.