Following their qualification at the State Championships in March, our student Collegiate DECA club recently made a successful trip to the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Washington D.C. Four members of the current DECA group represented Full Sail, along with club sponsor Jackie Otero, program manager for Entertainment Business and Music Business.
These students are all in the Entertainment Business Bachelors program, and included co-presidents MarkAnthony Brown and Alan Boettcher, as well as Raven-Ariel Jackson and Phillip Stokes.
“The International Conference is as big as it gets for us,” says Jackie Otero. “Anyone who qualified at their own state or regional level gets to go, and there were students from the United States, Canada, England, Guam, and Puerto Rico represented – about 1500 total.”
During the conference students had the opportunity to attend development academies, tour the Capitol building, as well as compete with others from around the world. This included categories like Business to Business Marketing, in which they placed first at the state level, as well as Project Management and Marketing Management. At the end of these events three students walked away with Awards of Excellence, and two came in as finalists.
“It made me feel really proud knowing that they could compete with all these other business schools – they represented us really well,” Jackie says. “The students had high expectations and that’s what got us there. They set the bar and rose to it. It was great too because they were also able to network and develop themselves more professionally, and I think it made them feel a part of something greater.”
The D.C. trip brings to a close the first year of our Collegiate DECA group on a high note, and Jackie is already looking forward to bringing in new members and becoming more involved in the DECA community when they reconvene in the fall.
“We keep getting more people emailing us from non-business programs that want to get involved, so word’s getting around,” she says. “This group is really for anyone interested in being business leader in their area, because it combines competitions with community service and professional development.”
“Next year I want to connect with DECA alumni in our area to bring to campus and have them share what they learned and how it helped their career. There are also high school chapters in Orlando that I’d like to connect with so maybe our college students could act as mentors as well.”