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E D I TO R I A L Publisher Edward Davis Editor Christopher Young Editorial Committee Barbara Henn, Shirlee Kyle

D E PA R T M E N T S 2 Let’s Talk 2 DECA Events 4 My Turn 26 Chapter Clips

Advertising Cindy Allen Art Direction and Design Chuck Beatty

President Kurtis Conkel North Atlantic Region VP Nate Keeney Central Region VP Paige Dorman Southern Region VP Aramis Betts Western Region VP Brennan Boehne

B OA R D O F D I R E C TO R S President: Jim Brock Secretary: Oleg Shvets Treasurer: Curtis Youngman Members: Marsha Bock, Roger Cartee, Lynore Levenhagen, Kevin Reisenauer, Jacklyn Schiller NAB Chair: Mike Marchetti Ex-Officio Members: Edward Davis, Wayne Kutzer, Deb Moore

E D I TO R I A L CO R R E S P O N D E N C E DECA Dimensions Attn: Editor 1908 Association Drive Reston, Virginia 20191-1594

SUBSCRIPTIONS & CHANGE OF ADDRESS Dimensions Circulation 1908 Association Drive Reston, Virginia 20191-1594 (ISSN 1080-0476 is published four times each year—September/October, November/ December, January/February and March/ April. Copyright ©2011 by the Distributive Education Clubs of America, Inc., 1908 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191-1594. All rights reserved. Annual non-member subscription rate is $5.00. Periodicals postage paid at Herndon, Virginia and additional mailing offices. $1.00 of membership fee goes toward subscription to DIMENSIONS, a publication of DECA, (USPS 566-200), Volume 30, Number 4. Postmaster—Send form 3579 for change of address to: DIMENSIONS, 1908 Association Drive, Reston, Virginia 20191-1594.

6 Choosing the college for you Choosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make. For many, it’s like finding the love of their life. The more you learn, the more you know it’s “the one.”

10 College and career search




If you’re going to college, looking for a career or both, myEdu can be your online portal for information to help you make educated decisions.

12 Investing in your education As you prepare for your next step in your education, you and your parents may be asking: “How are we going to pay for college?” Learn strategies to help pay for college.

14 There’s DECA in college for that Going to college and want the same thrill of meeting new people, traveling, competing and demonstrating your business prowess?

16 Renovate your résumé Your résumé is more than a listing of your experiences used to help get a job. It’s you on a piece of paper—your tangible sales pitch.

18 You’re hired! DECA Dimensions engaged in a “roundtable” discussion about careers with five executives from DECA’s National Advisory Board partners.

20 Quick response Learn more about topics featured in this issue using your smartphone.

21 Evaluating your performance The minute you walk out of the room, a wave of relief washes over you—you just finished competing in your DECA competitive event! Learn how you can keep improving your performance.

28 Logging out Team 65 bids farewell while reflecting on a year of expanding its network.

Go to to join the conversation. DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011



Dear DECA Members, Heading to college and didn’t get all of the scholarship money you wanted? After conducting an informal study of the financial situation of many current college freshmen, I found that most say they are broke. How can you be part of the small percentage of students that is out of the red? Read on for a few money-saving tips. Join a Club/Organization Campus organizations provide activities to keep you busy and are the perfect place to meet people who have similar interests. Though there may be some dues at the beginning, if you are an active participant, the fun you will have will long outlast any money you have to invest. If you can’t find a club to join, start one! College organizations are student-driven rather than professor driven. Take Advantage of Low-Cost/ No-Cost Activities Every college that I have visited will plan many different activities for you to attend on the weekends. These events will be free or highly discounted for enrolled students. Whether your interest is music, sports or visiting lecturers, it will be easy for you to find something new and exciting that costs practically nothing. These events are also a great way to get acclimated to your new school and “expand your network” with many classmates that you may not have met before! 2

Be an Advocate for Your Major Let all of your hard work in your college major make a name for yourself with professors and the department head. This can lead to you being chosen as the student who gets to travel (expenses paid) to represent the department at a variety of functions. You can also use this to build that résumé and develop references for a future job. Earn While You Learn Consider getting a job on or off campus. With the right work study, you can gain experience in your field of study, and earn money to pay off portions of your tuition. If you cannot find an oncampus job, there are always local places that hire college students and will work around your school schedule. Work the Meal Plan Fast food is detrimental to your wallet. At nearly every college, when you enroll, you can sign up for a meal plan, which you or your parents pay for in advance. That means you are already

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

paying for three meals a day, five or seven times a week, depending on your plan. These meal plans give you access to nutritious and abundant food for a reasonable cost. Planning your schedule so that you have time in your day to stop by the dining hall, instead of dropping by the local fast food establishment, saves you money and saves your waistline. Recap: join a club, go to school-sponsored events, represent your major, find a part-time or work-study job and eat on campus. With these easy things you can save money during your years at college and gain a world of positive experiences.

Kurtis Conkel National President High School Division

DECA EVENTS March 2011

July 2011

1 ICDC competitors’ final membership eligibility 1–31 Piper Jaffray Spring Online Survey 4 Corporate Advisor Scholarship applications postmark deadline 12 National Officer applications postmark deadline

12–15 Summer Officer Leadership Training, Washington, DC

April–May 2011 30–3 DECA International Career Development Conference, Orlando, FL

August 2011 18–20 State Association Management (SAM) Conference, Salt Lake City, UT

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College Preparation W

HOA, College! Say what? Yes, it is that time of year again—when high school will be ending for the year, and for many of you, the destination of college is right around the corner. You have finished the four years of your high school career and now you are moving on to the next adventure in your life: college. You will leave everything that has been familiar to you and go off to start something entirely new. I know right now it might sound a little scary, because for me at this point last year I was starting to get a little freaked out. However, I can tell you from personal experience that, with some preparation, you will be well equipped for college. Here are a few pointers.

Explore the Town The first thing that you should do to start your college preparation is to scope out your campus. Become familiar with all of the streets and local buildings in the area. This helps so that you don’t feel lost while you are on campus or as you explore the town that you’re going to be living in for the next few years. 4


I currently attend the University of Minnesota at Duluth (UMD). While I had been to Duluth for a vacation once because the town is right on Lake Superior, I had never truly explored the town until I took a trip there a month before I moved into my dorm. It was great for me to be there early, because I got to know the town. When everyone else was trying to find their way around campus and the town, I already had my bearings. I truly urge all of you to take a short trip with a friend or some family and explore the town that you’re going to be spending the next few years in.

Investigate Activities Look into organizations, extracurricular clubs and sports before you get to college. This is important, because the first week of your college career can be a little overwhelming with orientation, class, meeting new people and exploring activities. Many specific majors have their own clubs that you can be a part of, like the economics club or the premed club. And make sure to see if the college that you are going to has their own Collegiate DECA chapter. This is a great way to continue your DECA success through college. They have local, state and international competitions just like high school DECA has to offer.

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

If your college doesn’t have Collegiate DECA, then I would advise that you look into starting a chapter on your campus or even becoming a virtual member of Collegiate DECA. By looking into these things ahead of time, you will be well prepared for what your college has to offer you.

Practice Time Management The next thing I would do as a part of your college preparation is to learn good time management skills; overall, this is just a great skill to have. For the rest of your time in high school and during the summer do a few things to enhance the way you manage your time. Have a planner that you use to divide your tasks and the time that you have left to complete those tasks. Make lists so that you can prioritize which things take importance during your day. For example, if you have a large paper to get done by the end of the year to pass your high school writing course, put on your list that you need to take a certain amount of time each day to work on different parts of the paper. This is especially important because, for you seniors in high school, the end of the year can get very busy for you. There are graduation parties to go to, final exams to study for, DECA events to work on, and college things to buy.

You can use things like daily planners and calendars to help you manage your time better so that you can do all of these things. Time management skills help in college, too. A college student has to know how to manage his/her time between going to class, doing homework, hanging out with friends and even having a job. These things can add up to become very stressful if a person doesn’t manage time efficiently. So, make sure you take the time to develop your time management skills before it’s too late!

Prepare to Handle Your Own Daily Needs Another thing that you can do right now to prepare yourself for college is start taking over your daily activities. Learn to do the laundry; shop for your own shampoo, soap, toothpaste and other hygiene products you use on a regular basis. Learn what items cost and create a budget of how much you spend weekly or monthly on items you will need, and take a look at Kurtis Conkel’s article in this issue about having a college budget. Start to use an alarm clock to wake yourself up rather than having someone wake you up, so that you can start to become more independent before you leave for school. Also, start to develop a healthier lifestyle. Try to incorporate some exercise into your daily activities and eat nutritious meals. This can be hard to do once you get to college because there are so many food options to choose from and the healthiest options are not always the most appealing. If you take the time now to start eating right and exercising this will most likely carry over into your college life.


Make sure you are getting enough sleep, because everyone knows that, once you actually get to college, sleep can be very minimal at times. Pay attention to how you feel when you don’t sleep well or miss several days of exercising. If you begin to take charge of your daily life now, it will be much easier when you are on your own at college.

Enjoy the Experience I know that by this time in the year the thought of college might be starting to frighten you. But, if you take the time to prepare for college and use the tips and advice from your friends, your family and me, you will be well on your way to a great college experience. Remember, college isn’t supposed to be scary. It is meant to be a new and exciting journey in your life. So embrace everything that it has to offer, and enjoy the time that you have in high school before it all passes you by! Good Luck!

Paige Dorman Central Region Vice President High School Division


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SCHOLARSHIPS  $4,000 ($1,000/year) - Active students with a 2.7 GPA and letter from advisor.

 $10,000 ($2,500/year) - State officers and national or state 1st place winners by category with a 2.7 GPA and letter from advisor.  $20,000 ($5,000/year) - All national officers with a 2.7 GPA. Your advisor must submit a letter on your behalf by May 1. DECA scholarships are renewable if G is maintained and are in addition to academic scholarships. To learn the academic a 2.5 GPA merit scholarship for which you may qualify, visit the Freshmen Merit Scholarship Estimator located in the financial aid section of our website.

Several business majors available. Choose from three campus locations: West Palm Beach, Florida - Midland, Michigan - Cedar Hill (Dallas), Texas DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011


Choosing the College for You by Jocelyn Gutekunst


hoosing the right college is one of the most important decisions you will make. For many, it’s like finding the love of their life. The more you learn, the more you know it’s “the one.” But what if the choice is not crystal clear? What if there are several schools that have caught your attention and you just aren’t sure how to decide where you want to spend the next few years of your life? What if you do not know what questions to ask during a campus visit to get the answers you need? Whether you are years or only months away from making this decision, it will be helpful to keep the following points in mind.

Location Are you drawn to the big city or are you more comfortable in a small town? Choosing a college in a larger, urban area will likely offer numerous restaurant and entertainment options not found in more rural areas. However, smaller towns may provide more of a sense of community, with potentially fewer distractions. Of course, you might find the best of both worlds attending a small campus within a larger city. Wherever you are considering, ask current students how they made friends on campus and what they do for fun. Also, keep in mind how far from home you will be. If you get homesick easily or plan to go home every other weekend, make sure your school is only a gas tank or an inexpensive plane ticket away.

Programs of study Not all universities offer the same programs of study, so make sure the schools you are considering offer the major(s) that interest you. If you are not sure what specific area you want to study just yet, it might be helpful to visit different departments on the same campus to discover the strengths and opportunities available for each program and what courses are required for the various degrees offered. Also, pay attention to the school’s accreditation and any national recognition earned. You want to be confident you are entering a strong program that can provide you with the resources necessary to get the most out of your education. There is a big difference between merely reading principles out of a textbook and applying knowledge through experiential learning. 6

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How well known is the school? Do others associate the school with successful, well-educated graduates? One way to answer these questions is to determine the availability of internships. If local businesses are willing to accept interns from the school, they must trust the quality of the program. Also, consider what companies alumni have joined. Always ask about the placement rate, so you will know the percentage of graduates finding employment postgraduation.

How much money are you willing and able to spend on college? The price tag can be quite different for a large state school compared to small, private university. Considering the points above should help you determine if the value of the experience will be worth the cost. Explore financial aid opportunities, and remember strong school performance now can lead to merit scholarships in the future. The earlier you start planning, the more prepared you will be to make the right decision. It’s never too early to start thinking about your future and what fields of study will help you realize your dreams. Visit college campuses early in your senior year, and take advantage of opportunities to sit in on classes that interest you. Also, consider utilizing prep courses for the ACT/SAT the summer between your sophomore and junior years (the majority of students will take the ACT for the first time during their junior year). Identifying the right school requires a focused approach that considers multiple factors. Try not to feel too overwhelmed, and enjoy the process of learning about your options. If you follow your heart and make the most of your college experience, your decision will likely prove to be the right one.

Admissions criteria Consider whether your academic history—GPA and test scores —aligns with the criteria the university is seeking. Schools with competitive admissions have higher academic standards but offer a more elite student environment, likely leading to a stronger reputation and excellent networking possibilities.

Campus size Some students want to go to big schools and do not mind sitting in classes with 50+ other students. Others want to find small campuses, where class size is more similar to those they had in high school. If you want to interact with your professors and peers in a more personal environment, look at schools with smaller studentto-teacher ratios.

Jocelyn Gutekunst is the recruiting and co-curricular coordinator for Belmont University’s College of Business Administration

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College & Career Search

If you’re going to college, looking for a career or both, myEdu can be your online portal for information to help you make educated decisions. Visit and create a free myEdu account by clicking “Sign up” in the upper right hand corner.

Browse Degrees Type any major (such as marketing) into the search bar and select “Search Degrees.” Narrow down your favorite major for the search results. If you want to search majors at a particular school, use the filter in the top left. Write down one course and one related career: Degree_ ________________________ Course__________________________ Related Career_ _____________________ Find two similar degrees that interest you. Then, write down one course from each degree that you were surprised to find and a related career: Degree_ ________________________ Course__________________________ Related Career_ _____________________ Degree_ ________________________ Course__________________________ Related Career_ _____________________

Search Colleges Click in the search bar at the top and select “Search Schools.” Refine your results by clicking the appropriate characteristics on the left. Choose one school: ______________________________ and answer the questions below. What percent of applicants are accepted? Hint: Look at the “Admissions” page._____________________ % What is the graduation rate of enrolled students?______________________% Complete the tuition estimator using the appropriate information. Circle your choices below: Tuition: In State Out of State Books and Supplies: With Without Housing: On Campus Off Campus With Family What is the total cost per year? $_ ____________________ What is the total cost for four years? $_____________________

Explore Careers Type the three careers from above into the search bar and select “Search Careers.” Answer these questions for each career. Career:___________________________ What percent have an education level of a Bachelors Degree? Hint: Hove your mouse over the chart to see exact percentages. What is the average nationwide salary for this profession? $ _________________________ In your state? $_____________________ List two skills that you have that make you a good match for this career. Hint: Look on the “Activities” page. 1.___________________________________________ 2.___________________________________________ Career:___________________________ What percent have an education level of a Bachelors Degree? Hint: Hove your mouse over the chart to see exact percentages. What is the average nationwide salary for this profession? $ _________________________ In your state? $_____________________ List two skills that you have that make you a good match for this career. Hint: Look on the “Activities” page. 1.___________________________________________ 2.___________________________________________ Career:___________________________ What percent have an education level of a Bachelors Degree? Hint: Hove your mouse over the chart to see exact percentages. What is the average nationwide salary for this profession? $ _________________________ In your state? $_____________________ List two skills that you have that make you a good match for this career. Hint: Look on the “Activities” page. 1.___________________________________________ 2.___________________________________________ 10

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

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Investing In Your by Sylvia Correa



s you prepare for your next step in your education, you and your parents may be asking: “How are we going to pay for college?” Many families have no clue. In an annual study released in August 2010, at, Sallie Mae and Gallup found that in this economic climate, most parents—about 70 percent of those surveyed—say a college degree is more important than ever, yet nearly three-quarters of families admitted they have no plan for how they’ll pay for it! Here are some strategies to consider to help pay for college: FAFSA Many people assume they won’t qualify for any aid. But everyone should fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form to be sure. Nearly one out of four families did not submit the FAFSA form, according to the SallieMae/Gallup study. This is the gateway to accessing many federal and state grants and loans. The form is ready after January 1 each year. Plan to complete the FAFSA for the next school year when sitting down to complete your 2010 taxes. Remember, the FAFSA is free, so beware of any sites that charge you to complete this free form. The online form can be found at Do your research! Carefully consider the actual cost of each college or university, not just the “sticker” cost. Apply to your first choice schools and have your required admissions and FAFSA information sent to them. Then compare your financial aid award letters to determine the actual out-of-pocket expenses for each. A university with a more expensive “sticker” price, may cost less once you receive your institutional, federal and state funding, not to mention any outside scholarships you receive. Many universities now have online scholarship and/or financial aid calculators to get an idea of what you may be eligible for before you file your FAFSA. Also, calculators at, www.collegeboard. com and can help parents and students figure out how to budget for college costs. Institutional and Outside Scholarships Don’t pass up free money! Scholarships aren’t only need-based. Find out what merit-based scholarships are available at your first choice schools. Additionally, research outside scholarships (that can 12

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

be used for any college or university) in high school to find out the type of community service activities and essays that may be required. Like the FAFSA, there are many free scholarship searches available online, so you should never pay for this service. The following are a few very comprehensive and user-friendly free scholarship search websites: www., and Also visit your guidance counselor office for local scholarship opportunities. Federal Student Loans If you need to borrow, look at federal student loans first and then consider private loans if you still have a gap. As of July 2010, all new federal education loans made through your college financial aid office with funds provided by the U.S. Department of Education are part of the direct loan program. Federal direct loans have lower interest rates, are more readily available and have better repayment terms than private student loans. Currently, interest rates on federal student loans are fixed at 6.8 percent and loan maximums range from $5,500 for freshmen (dependent students) to $7,500 for seniors. If you’re eligible for a need-based federal loan, interest rates are even lower for the 2011–2012 school year at a 3.4 percent fixed rate. Private student loan rates are often variable, and not all private loans are created equally. Also, with the recent move to direct loans, there are fewer private loan options available. Additional information on federal and private student loans can be found at Reduce Expenses Living off campus can be a huge savings on room and board. Books can also be a surprising last-minute expense, so consider renting books online at sites like and www. And, consider cutting back on extras like daily fast food and coffee runs. A $4 meal/drink per day, five days a week, 50 weeks a year translates to a cost of $1,000 a year! That’s enough to pay for more than books for one year. Sylvia Correa is director of enrollment at Northwood University.

wants your opinion! Take a minute to fill out the PiperJaffray/DECA Teen Opinion Survey.

Spring Survey: March 1 through March 31, 2011 For more information on the PiperJaffray/DECA Partnership—and to link to the survey—go to

Say you’re going to college and want the same thrill of meeting new people, traveling, competing and demonstrating your business prowess.

There’s DECA in college for that. by Josh Shankle


n high school, DECA was more than just something for me to do; DECA was an opportunity for me to begin building towards a successful career. I knew early that the benefits and experiences I gained from being a member were too helpful towards my future success to let them go at graduation. So, as I was entering college I made sure to find information on how I could be a member of the college division—Collegiate DECA! While there is certainly more to DECA than competition, some of my fondest memories from DECA were sitting at district and state competitions, interlocking arms with my fellow chapter members as each of our events were being announced, sharing that moment of accomplishment with each other. Experiences like these don’t have to end after high school. By joining Collegiate DECA you will continue to have the opportunity to grow professionally, network with members from across the country and beyond, and yes, compete on the state/provincial and international stage! I’ve answered some commonly asked questions about Collegiate DECA.

What’s competition like in Collegiate DECA? With 20 different competitive events, Collegiate DECA offers a wide variety of competitions very similar to DECA competitive events in the form of business simulations, case studies and prepared events. In addition, we also offer the National Management Institute, Culinary Management Institute and Entrepreneurship Academy to provide additional avenues for our members to build team-working skills, be creative and compete at the International Career Development Conference.

Will I have the exact same experience with Collegiate DECA? You will be able to participate in your local chapter; compete in area, state/provincial and international conferences; network with members from across the globe and continue to develop your skills as you prepare for your career. Experiences in DECA are different from member to member, and with Collegiate DECA being very student driven, you have the opportunity to customize your own experience. 14

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

What leadership opportunities are available in Collegiate DECA? Collegiate DECA provides its members with numerous opportunities to become tomorrow’s next great leaders. Not only are officer positions available on the local, state/provincial and national levels but all members are also encouraged to further develop their leadership skills through the Honor Award, Leadership Passport, State and Chapter Leadership Awards and the Community Service Award.

Can I still participate in career development conferences with Collegiate DECA? Just like your experiences with DECA in high school, Collegiate DECA provides its members with regional, state and international conferences full of great networking opportunities, professional development, and new and exciting destinations to visit. We also host the Collegiate Leadership Academy in New York City each fall.

How can I join Collegiate DECA? There are many avenues for you to get involved with Collegiate DECA; you can join the DECA College Connection and be connected with other incoming freshmen at your college/university, join a chapter already established on campuses across the country, or become a virtual member if your school doesn’t currently have a chapter. If you’re interested in continuing your DECA involvement through Collegiate DECA, now is the best time to get connected with other high school DECA members who also want to take DECA to college—many of them will be on your same college or university campus. For more information on how you can take DECA to college, please visit Josh Shankle is the national president of Collegiate DECA. He can be reached at

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DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011


Renovate Your Résumé

by Ryan Dyck


DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

Your résumé is more than a listing of your experiences used to help you get a job. It’s you on a piece of paper—your tangible sales pitch. Here are some pointers to put the best you forward.

Image is everything Forget whoever told you to not judge a book by its cover, because that’s exactly what job seekers do when they look at your résumé. Add something that stands out. Don’t keep your résumé standard without any design elements and that overused Times New Roman font. Been there done that. It’s 2011, and the job market is a tough one, so spice up your résumé to make it stand out amongst the pile of papers you’re competing against. Contact correctly Because your contact information is listed at the top of your page, naturally it will be one of the first things reviewed. Believe it or not, this simple information can make or break you. Why? Your email address! Keep it simple, professional and appropriate— or may not be the best email choices when you’re applying for a job. Take two minutes to set up a new email if you haven’t already, and simply use your name. Throw in a couple of numbers if your name has already been taken. Short, sweet and to the point! Don’t be the annoying over-achiever with a six-page résumé at age 18. No one should ever have a résumé that long—even Donald Trump. Try to keep it on one page by using your creativity and a layout or design that will work for all your experiences. Remember, only list what’s relevant. You may have lots of experience or have won lots of awards, but only list those relevant to the job you are applying for to eliminate the clutter. References should only be provided when requested, and hobbies and interests really have no place on today’s modern résumé. To post a picture or not to post a picture? As online résumés like LinkedIn become more popular, so does the use of photos. This is something you have to be very

careful with. Some people may think you’re trying to win the job with your looks. While it makes them remember you, gauge this decision by the company you’re applying for and the people you’d be working with. If you’re applying to work for a traditional company, refrain from using the picture. If you’re applying for something more fun and upbeat, include the photo, but make sure it’s appropriate. Goodbye, Shakespeare! It’s not 1603, so don’t talk like it. It’s okay to spruce up your vocabulary but not to the point where the person reviewing your résumé has to look up every other word in the dictionary. Use words people understand and would actually use in conversation. Of course, if you’re applying to get into the academy for classical writing, it’s perfectly fine to speak highbrow; otherwise, keep the big words to a minimum or else it just looks like a bunch of fluff. Customization is key Don’t use one résumé for everything. If you’re applying for different jobs, change up your résumé a bit, and tailor it to fit the wants and needs of the company seeking your skills. We all know that it’s nearly impossible to put a job description under your experiences that truly lists everything you did. While it’s important to include as much information as you can, it’s even more important to make sure the information is relevant to the position. This is where you customize your résumé to make it fit those needs. Speak the truth Most importantly, don’t lie. According to estimates, more than 40 percent of all résumés contain some sort of lie. You really don’t want to be one of those false résumés, because a study in 2004 by the Society for Human Resources Management reported that 96 percent of human resources professionals say they always examine a candidate’s credentials. DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011


You’re Hired! DECA Dimensions engaged in a “roundtable” discussion with five executives from DECA’s National Advisory Board partners. We asked them to share both from a corporate and personal perspective their advice on seeking careers.

How did you find a career that is right for you? Ms. Miller: I always enjoyed helping and serving others, and that is why I chose a career in hospitality. I was looking for a company and industry that had growth potential and opportunities to explore many different business management roles. I found it all at Marriott! I began my career with Marriott 14 years ago as a management trainee, working in the operations of our hotels and resorts. I worked in several brands including Courtyard, Marriott Hotels, Renaissance and The Ritz-Carlton. I also worked in different divisions including food and beverage management, rooms operations and human resources. Now, I am challenged as a member of our headquarters team to support projects and programs that enhance the experiences of our associates, customers and communities where we do business. Mr. Roper: While in college, I accepted a position in a retail store. This is where it came to me that this was the business I was meant to be in. I could use all of the business education I was receiving and apply it in the real word, and I didn’t have to sit at a desk in a cube to do it. 18

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Mr. Lowry: I would rather say this career found me because I didn’t identify and seek this career path or industry. What I did discover along the way was the uniqueness of each day providing a new experience. I was fortunate to find successes in my job performance and built upon these successes. With the successes came additional opportunities to develop my skills, to increase my learning and education and to continue to excel.

How can DECA members find a career that is right for them? Mr. Sins: I think it’s important for an individual to seek a career that he/she is really passionate about and seek an organization that has a mission statement with goals that mirror his/her personal business mission statement. Ms. Breckenridge: Pay attention to what kind of activities kindle your passion. Then figure out which jobs include those activities. There are career preference tests on the web that can help you with this. Your high school guidance counselor can offer valuable advice, and there are also career coaches you can hire for more detailed recommendations.

DECA’s NAB Roundtable Panel Patti Breckenridge Recruiting Manager, Publix Super Markets

Jeffery Lowry President, National Apartment Association Education Institute and Senior Vice President, McDougal Companies

Eudora Miller Corporate Senior Manager, Workforce Effectiveness and Diversity, Marriott International, Inc.

Mark Roper Field Recruiting and Training Manager, Finish Line USA, Inc.

Ms. Miller: Marriott looks for the following key competencies of students coming out of school: building relationships, generating talent and organizational capability, leadership, managing execution and learning and applying personal expertise. Do well in school and make sure you’re involved in other activities. If you hold a leadership role, you will be sought after.

What advice do you have for DECA members as they begin their careers? Mr. Sins: Seek companies that have growth opportunities and that have a corporate culture that matches your personality. Mr. Roper: Be open-minded to the career opportunities and career paths out there. There are great careers available in places and companies that might not come to mind right away. Most companies and industries have opportunities in all areas of business. In other words, a job in marketing does not mean you have to work for a marketing firm as most companies have a marketing department. Ms. Breckenridge: Ask plenty of questions, but listen, listen, listen! Soak up as much as you can as early as you can. It will pay big dividends for the rest of your life. Mr. Lowry: Don’t be afraid to take on the less desirable job duties. By your willingness to accept the task no one else wants, you will find yourself to be more versatile, more experienced and a more desirable employee. Employers need employees they can “go to” to accomplish the difficult task without apprehension that the job will not be completed. Be the “go to” person in your company.

Once members attain a job, what can they do to advance and grown within an organization? Mike Sins Special Events, Men’s Wearhouse Group

What do you look for in a potential employee? Ms. Breckenridge: I look for these values: honesty, a passion to service, a natural tendency to thrive on teamwork and a dedication to eliminating waste. Mr. Sins: I look for a potential employee to be trainable and have great interpersonal skills. Mr. Lowry: I always look for a friendly disposition coupled with a genuine desire to work with people—they are personable. I hire individuals who are excited to learn and to grow—they are trainable. Every potential employee must understand and practice good workplace habits and have a healthy respect for authority— they are ethical. Mr. Roper: Potential team members for Finish Line are passionate and confident. This should be evident in their personality, their energy level and desire to be a winner. They must love to interact with strangers and enjoy working around products and people that represent an active lifestyle.

Ms. Miller: First, be a sponge and soak it all in. Then, be the first to take on challenging assignments and go above and beyond what others expect. Make sure you have a mentor or someone who looks out for you and who you can trust to provide honest feedback on where you have an opportunity for growth. Explore all the possibilities within the organization and network with other professionals. Mr. Sins: Ask a few questions: what are the company’s longand short-term goals? And what opportunities are there for myself both long and short term providing I exceed all expectations? Mr. Lowry: Even though you may be out of school, consider yourself in the classroom each day. Make the decision to be a learner and learn from everyone around you. This should become part of your work ethic. I like to encourage new employees to learn outside of their job description, because they are increasing their stock value. Opportunities will follow this practice, and your work ethic will lead to success. DECA’s business partners are recognized as our National Advisory Board (NAB) and enhance the classroom experience by providing “real world” application to learning. Learn more about employment opportunities with DECA’s NAB partners by visiting their company profiles at

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011


QUICK RESPONSE Learn more about the topics featured in this issue of Dimensions! Download an app at and use your camera-enabled smartphone to reveal the contents of the QR codes below. (URLs can be found at

1. Create your personal roadmap to college.

2. Learn how DECA helps prepare you to be college and career ready.

3. View DECA’s career partners and possible opportunities.

4. Learn more about DECA’s college partners.

5. Take DECA to college.


DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

Evaluating Your Performance

by Julia Pitlyk


he minute you walk out of the room, a wave of relief washes over you—you just finished competing in your DECA competitive event! Whether you dazzled with a Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan, thought quickly on your feet with a Sports and Entertainment Marketing role-play or participated in one or more of DECA’s other competitive events, you’re bound to face the most common question heard at DECA conferences around the globe, “Well, how did

you do?!” Your advisors, parents, friends and competitors will all be asking you this same question, but how do you come up with more than a one-word response? The answer is selfevaluation, and the keys to assessing each performance you deliver are right here. By practicing these methods, you’ll not only be able to answer one of DECA’s most commonly asked question more effectively, but you’ll be setting yourself up for success in your performances for many times to come! DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011


Setting the standard The first way to evaluate your performance begins even before you start delivering. Whether in a written event or a role-play, create a checklist or goal sheet for yourself that includes objectives and performance points that you want to make sure you complete each time you perform. Your objectives should range from presentation fundamentals, such as making eye contact with your judges and

delivering a firm handshake, to event specific points, such as mocking up a sample brochure to leave with your judge in a role-play. Don’t shy away from putting anything and everything on this checklist; though the points may seem obvious, you never know what may slip your mind in the heat of competition. Review your checklist before you go into your event so your goals are top-of-mind, and review it again immediately after you exit the room. Check off what you completed and jot down any notes or new objectives that come to mind. Congratulate yourself for the areas you excelled in and improved upon, and keep in mind what objectives you have to work on for next time.

Following-up After your performance, an easy way to evaluate yourself is by recalling the performance indicators stated at the beginning of your event’s official description. This set of indicators is essentially another checklist for you and will help you measure your delivery based upon the judges’ criteria. Performance indicators vary among the various events, but they are usually based upon assessing and analyzing the scenario, addressing the problem, providing a solution and delivering methods to evaluate your solution. By 22

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

running through these standards post-performance, you’ll be able to make yourself mentally aware of the quality of content you delivered. You may find that you focused only slightly on providing an actual solution to a dissatisfied customer, for example, and gave much more time and attention to simply pacifying the customer and addressing the problem. Going over these performance indicators will help you learn your habits and cover all your bases in your next performance. For another assessment of your performance, think back to what happened after the formal delivery of your presentation. Did you interact well with your judge(s)? Did you answer their questions thoroughly? Did you engaged them in your topic and ideas? Did you end the presentation on a high note? Going to the judges’ debriefing, if offered, is also an excellent way that DECA allows you to evaluate your personal performance and improve for the future.

Continually improving Starting at this year’s DECA International Career Development Conference, competitors will have an opportunity to receive competitive events transcripts that detail their performance on the career cluster exam, written component (if applicable) and oral presentation. As a learning tool, this feedback will allow members to examine areas of strength and improvement to develop an improvement plan. For example, if a member scored low in certain instructional areas of the career cluster exam, the member may want to review concepts or seek additional education. Keeping a plan in place to deliver your best performance possible and practicing methods of self-evaluation will make sure that your competitive event presentations grow more successful each time you deliver! Taking steps to assess your performance after each delivery will not only help you improve, but it will always prepare you with a thorough answer when you’re asked, “Well, how did you do?!”

Spread the DECA Word How to Share Your DECA Successes


hether you secure a top DECA leadership position, dominate—hands down—in competition or generously raise money and awareness for a worthy cause, DECA gives you and your chapters an unparalleled amount of successes to share with the world! Going public with the work you and/or your chapter have done in DECA keeps a positive light shining on yourself and the organization, bringing you well-deserved goodwill, recognition and future opportunities. How do you make sure you get more than just pat on the back and a “good job,” without sounding like a DECA braggadocio? The key is to find people and channels that want to hear and be a part of stories like yours. Here are a few avenues to explore the next time you want to share your DECA successes:

School/Community Publications These news sources crave positive pieces about student involvement. Focusing on community or school-centric publications will increase the recognition of your chapter. Get in touch with the editors for various publications, usually via the web or through your school, and send them a quick press release of your success. Be sure to include your contact information, a detailed quote in the release and a quality image they can use, if they so choose. The easier you can make it for them to get the word out, the more likely it will happen!

School Board Meetings Rules, regulations, budgets and bills can make school board meetings hectic and dreary. Breathe some fresh air into the routine by putting yourself on the speakers’ list

to announce your positive DECA experience to the Board and those in attendance. Being able to hear the successful stories of their students will boost the morale of the school board by bringing their focus back on the students. They’ll be thrilled to hear you share the positive experiences you had from a school organization!

Local Government Officials With demanding, on-the-go careers, your local government officials love to hear good news from students like you in their community. Local leaders, such as mayors and aldermen, strive to be accessible by their constituents, so get in touch with them when you have a victory to share. The more your story impacts the community, the more they’ll love it! See if your official can give a mention to your performance on their website or newsletter, or even see if they can issue a courtesy resolution to congratulate you and DECA chapter for your positive experiences and impact.

DECA Dimensions We want to know! With chapter updates in every issue, DECA members, advisors, alumni and professionals from around the world love to see the creative and successful activities of other chapters. Share your news directly with DECA by submitting your story to deca_dimensions@

Community Groups Did you work with a particular charity, group or business through your DECA activities? Send them an update on the success of your projects, and even offer to deliver your presentation to them so they can see first-hand how much dedication and experience the both of you gained through DECA. They’ll love seeing what you were able to accomplish, and may even incorporate some of your ideas into their real-world operations!

Social Media Outlets The World Wide Web is full of information, so why not put your success story on there, too? Blog, tweet, post or share about your positive DECA experiences. You’ll reach a whole new audience of people that can help continue sharing your great performances across the digital platform.

DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011




GIVE US A CALL | 703.860.5006 MONDAY - FRIDAY 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. est.

Team Kurtis

Team Brennan


Join your favorite national officer in DECA’s first-ever 5K. Your participation will benefit the Muscular Dystrophy Association and DECA’s scholarship fund. Awesome prizes will be awarded to top walkers, top runners, top fundraisers, most-spirited participants and more!

Team Nate

Team Paige

Learn more at Team Aramis




Presidential meeting Sports & Medical Services Academy DECA (Conn.) seniors Belma Ahmetovic and Zermina Velic earned an opportunity to meet President Obama after winning a business plan competition for Beta Bytes LLC, a partnership to meet the computer needs of the Bosnian community. Serving the humane society

Super promotion

Spirit run

Klamath Union DECA (Ore.) collected 700 pounds of food and over $300 during a DECA Serve Day activity that stationed members at local grocery and pet stores to collect supplies and funds for the Klamath County Humane Society.

Clarkston DECA (Wash.) promoted the chapter and its annual entrepreneurship conference on a billboard donated by Lamar Advertising for six weeks. The billboard featured active DECA members and the chapter’s most publicized event.

Demopolis DECA (Ala.) hosted its firstever 5K for MDA to raise funds to send a child to summer camp. The chapter secured 24 sponsors for the event and worked with local city officials to ensure safety.

DECA Depot

Making strides

The DECA Depot, the school store of D.C. Everest DECA (Wis.), held its first-ever fashion show during the lunch hours to showcase new Nike clothes. Since the fashion show, The DECA Depot has sold $6,000 worth of clothing.

King William DECA (Va.) members participated in the Making Strides walk and hosted a variety of activities, such as a pink out day and a homecoming parade float, to gain awareness for breast cancer research. The chapter raised $624 for the American Cancer Society.

Boo at the Zoo More than 30 West DECA (Tenn.) members, along with Zach Buchanan, east Tennessee DECA vice president, and Kurtis Conkel, national president, dressed in costumes and handed out candy to kids around the Knoxville Zoo. This activity gave children an opportunity to celebrate Halloween in a safe environment.


DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

Logging Out


65 Nate


de Thank you to everyone who ma e hav I . me for e this year possibl you had the time of my life serving as me this year. DECA has defined a person and as a leader. Again, . for that I cannot thank you enough . It has been an absolute ors eav end re Good luck in your futu pleasure.

To the members, officers, and advisors of the North Atlantic Region, thank you all for one of the best years I have ever had with DECA. I have enjoyed ever y moment of my term serving you all throughout the year . The memories will truly stay with me for a lifetime. Keep the DECA spirit alive and expand your network as we continue our journey in life.

Brennan Thank you so much for the giving me the opportunity to serve on this year’s National Officer Team. This by far was the most remarkable experience in my life, and I will never forget my travels or the people I met along the way. It is very sad to see that my term in office is coming to an end, but DECA will always be a big part of my life. Thanks for everything, and see you in Orlando!


A will hold Wow! This year has been amazing. DEC ks to all of a special place in my heart forever. Than serve you. the Southern Region for allowing me to life at a time! one ork— Remember to expand your netw


DECA DIMENSIONS | March–April 2011

Paige Whoa! There is no way the year is already almost done! Allowing me to serve as your Central Region Vice President has made this past year amazing for me. It has been a privilege and honor. I want to say thank you to all of the state associations in my region and throughout the whole organization for helpin g Team 65 and me reach the goals we set for the year. You have all given me so many experiences I will never forget, and I am truly thankful for that!

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DECA Dimensions  

DECA Dimensions is the magazine for members of DECA Inc. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitaity...