RM DECA excels at state career development conference

RM DECA co-presidents and seniors Max Belyantsev and Nandi Patel pose with the teams SCDC Oustanding Chapter trophy. (Photo permission for was granted by Max Belyantsev)
RM DECA co-presidents and seniors Max Belyantsev and Nandi Patel pose with the teams’ SCDC Oustanding Chapter trophy. (Photo permission for was granted by Max Belyantsev)

Anyone who is or has a friend in Distributive Education Clubs of America has probably heard about the DECA State Career Development Conference, which took place on Feb. 23. RM students prepared greatly for the big day, as the finalists of this event go on to the International Career Development Conference, taking place in late April, in Anaheim, California. The RM DECA chapter came home with medals, ICDC qualifiers, and the highly sought-after title of the number one DECA Chapter in Maryland.

Many students at RM are involved in DECA, a club that is dedicated to fostering the next generation of business leaders. Through DECA, high school students can access regional, state and international conferences that serve to develop their business acumen. Each of these conferences typically has a competitive element and an opportunity to participate in fun activities and learn from captivating guest speakers from the business realm. 

DECA competitors can compete in on-the-spot Roleplay Events or prepare a Written Event proposal in response to a large selection of existing prompts. Within each category, the actual topics, or “competitive events,” vary across DECA’s main clusters: Marketing, Business Administration, Finance, Hospitality & Tourism and Entrepreneurship. The 59 available competitive events cover many significant topics and interesting niches, from restaurant management to business ethics and from apparel marketing to financial consulting. A complete list of events is available on DECA, Inc.’s website, though not all events listed are offered at the Region I Conference but are typically offered at the State Career Development Conference and the International Career Development Conference.

“My experience in DECA… has been good so far. I have been able to meet a lot of new people and learn more about business, which is one of my interests and possible career paths for the future,” sophomore and DECA member Arianna Mehta said.

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Sophomore and DECA member Riya Gowda has had a welcoming and supportive experience in the club so far. “I think RM DECA has a really good community, the officers respond fast and most of us are all friends so we help each other out a lot and because of that I’ve had a pretty good experience,” she said.

Students considering joining DECA should note the differences in preparation time required for roleplay events as opposed to written events. Roleplay event competitors are given 15 or 30 minutes on competition day to prepare a response to a previously unknown prompt and present immediately afterward. On the other hand, written event competitors often spend weeks developing presentations, summaries, and other materials that accompany their proposal—which they will present at the competition.

“I am looking forward to SCDC. Me and my partner have spent a lot of time preparing for it,” Gowda said. “Our event requires us to conduct a research study on a local business, write a 20 page report, then present about it for 15 mins. We’ve been meeting up pretty much everyday after school at town center to work on our project.” In any case, excelling at DECA, much like any other skill, takes time and effort.

At SCDC, 52 of RM’s DECA members qualified for the International Career Development Conference. (Courtesy of Max Belyantsev)

The first major DECA event of each school year is Maryland DECA’s Region I Conference, which took place at RM on Dec. 16, 2023. This competition is typically considered to be the “practice run” as students practice their presentational skills leading up to the state conference typically held in February. According to Maryland DECA, “Maryland DECA is broken up into five different regions. Currently, Regions I, II, III and IV are represented by schools throughout those regions.” Montgomery County falls within Region I.

According to DECA, “Role-play and case study events involve a multiple-choice career cluster exam and a role-play or case study provided on-site with a judge. They are classified by industry and career cluster.” At SCDC and ICDC, most Roleplay event competitors and a select few Written Event competitors must answer 100 multiple-choice questions in 65 minutes to complete their event’s cluster exam.

RM DECA’s competitors excelled at the Maryland DECA’s Region I and SCDC this year. From RM DECA alone, 52 competitors qualified for ICDC, surpassing rival chapters from  Churchill, Wootton and Whitman. Richard Montgomery’s chapter was also awarded First Place in the statewide “Outstanding Chapters” category, continuing its years-long track record as the #1 DECA Chapter in Maryland.

Current DECA members strongly recommend the club to other students. “If you’re considering joining DECA, it’s definitely a good idea. Not only are you able to truly broaden your horizons about different business clusters, but you also get to go on fun trips and meet many new people along the way,” Mehta said.


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