On December 19, 2012, the Madden School of Business hosted the annual DECA Competition for New York DECA Region 9 (Central New York schools). DECA is a co-curricular activity that “prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe.”
During the competition, high school students compete in various events such as Apparel and Accessories Marketing, Marketing Management, Public Speaking, Sales Demonstration, and Travel and Tourism Marketing. When the students are not in competition, they attend workshops on issues such as cyber security, budgeting, dress for success, and starting a business. Students also have the opportunity to tour the Le Moyne campus.
This is the fourth consecutive year that Le Moyne has hosted the event. Each year, several faculty and staff volunteer to serve as judges for the competition. John Hunter, the Madden School’s Director of Financial Technology, participated in this year’s competition and writes of his experience:
While I have had a lot of experience judging and assessing companies for various business awards around the world, this was my first time listening to high school students presenting their business problem solving ideas. It was good fun and, in some cases, inspiring.
The business world, through the eyes of a teenager, turned out not to be oversimplified as one might have expected. In some cases, the solutions presented were more “out of the box” and better thought out than I might have done myself. Obviously, we saw the full range of solutions and it was easy to identify first-timers and DECA veterans. For the first-timers, I was impressed that they were there, putting themselves in a difficult and uncomfortable situation for the sake of learning and growing and I could tell they would be much better next year. For the veterans, it is safe to say that a couple of the teams absolutely blew me away from the first words they spoke to the end of their very well presented solutions. I know these students will go very far. Employers would do well to track the annual DECA winners through their college years!
My case study was in the Travel and Tourism sector. The problem was an historic city whose buildings were being defaced with graffiti and where tourism, the lifeblood of the economy, was in decline. My judging partner and I represented the Chamber of Commerce and the students represented a marketing consulting firm that was bidding on the contract to work on reviving tourism. The solutions ranged from putting up a few posters asking residents to come together on a certain day to whitewash buildings to establishing an annual art show / artist’s workshop, backed by a very well thought out national media campaign, to attract both tourists and artists to the city. During this period, along with a host of activities, graffiti would be allowed and judged in purpose-built areas created for both residents and artists to use.
We viewed 22 different presentations in rapid succession and I must say I was never bored. The variety of ideas and skill levels kept me on my toes and often a weaker presentation was followed by a blockbuster that revived both my enthusiasm and my excitement for the maturity and abilities of the students.
Congratulations to all the students and their teachers who participated in this year’s competition. We hope that you enjoyed your experience at Le Moyne, and we look forward to seeing you again.
Many thanks to Dr. George Kulick (Madden School Associate Dean and MBA Director), Mrs. Dale Wilson (Assistant to the Dean), and the numerous Le Moyne volunteers who made the day a success.