This Friday and Saturday, the annual DECA Ontario Provincial competition was held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Toronto. As usual, the lower levels of the hotel flooded with high school students in formal attire, some travelling from as far away as Waterloo and Kitchener in order to compete. In total, over 6000 students participated in the competition this year, divided into 56 different events. The majority of competitors were involved in oral events, which involve an oral business roleplay and a written exam.

Students assume a variety of different roles during the oral component, such as marketing specialists or managers, and they usually present some form of plan or strategy to the judge. They must utilize knowledge of performance indicators such as the coordination of channel management or developing marketing-information systems when formulating their presentations. The written exam test includes a variety of content, from economics and marketing to accounting and basic business terminology.

The provincial competition was a qualifier for the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) held in Orlando this April, with the top 6 competitors or teams in each category advancing. The top 6 were asked whether they would be attending the international conference immediately after the awards ceremony, and if qualifying competitors turned down the opportunity, the next competitor or team would be offered their spot. As a result, several students who ranked 7th, 8th, or 9th were still able to qualify to compete in Orlando.

12 out of the 35 competitors that advanced to provincials from MGCI won awards, and they are listed as follows:

  • Yiqun Zhang – 5th overall – Retail Merchandising Series (RMS)
  • Sherrie Cheng – 7th overall – Apparel and Accessories Marketing (AAM)
  • Vanessa Du & Susie Liu – 7th overall – Hospitality Services Team Decision Making (HTDM)
  • Meagan Wan – 9th overall – Principles of Marketing (PMK)
  • Cindy Zeng & Kaarthic Pulogarajah – 9th overall – Marketing Communications Team Decision Making (MTDM)
  • Parnika Godkhindi – Top 10 Overall – Human Resources Management (HRM)
  • Richard Wu – Top 15 Written Exam – Financial Services Team Decision Making (FTDM)
  • Ryan (Chiung-Ting) Lin – Top 15 Roleplay 1 – Marketing Management Services (MMS)
  • Lily Song – Top 15 Roleplay 1 – Human Resources Management (HRM)
  • Tianyu Lu – Top 15 Roleplay 2 – Accounting Applications (ACT)
The award ceremonies were held in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel. Photo courtesy of chapter president Vanessa Du.

The award ceremonies were held in the Grand Ballroom of the Sheraton Hotel. Photo courtesy of chapter president Vanessa Du.

Three members from Marc Garneau CI qualified for ICDC: Yiqun Zhang, Sherrie Cheng, and Meagan Wan. Two teams, Vanessa and Susie and Cindy and Kaarthic, narrowly missed qualifying for the international competition; no HTDM teams turned down their offer, and only two MTDM teams did so.

Marc Garneau CI improved significantly since last year. At the 2014 provincial competition, only one student, Ryan Lin, advanced to ICDC as compared to the three who did so this year. Ryan and Parnika were the only MGCI students to place in the top 10 in his category, as compared to the eight who did so this year. At the 2012 provincial competition, seven students qualified for ICDC from MGCI, and the chapter’s performance is now heading back in the direction of its former success. It may also be noted that the size of MGCI’s chapter doubled this year, with 53 students being accepted in September as compared to approximately 25 in years previous. Most students who won awards this year are returning members whose performance improved, however.

Both chapter members and chapter executives attributed this year’s success to a greater amount of preparation. Though chapter executives have had the intention of holding regular meetings for the past few years, the idea was only implemented this year. Since September, MGCI’s DECA members have met in the library nearly every week to practise roleplays. DECA MGCI president Vanessa Du estimated that the turnout for these meetings was typically approximately 30 members. At these meetings, a “Rent-an-Exec” service was offered; students had the opportunity to present their roleplays in front of the chapter executives in order to receive advice and feedback. The club also offered “Rent-an-Exec” last year, as independent sessions between members and executives, rather than as an additional opportunity available during regular meetings. Independent preparation both for the oral roleplay and written exam was also emphasized; many members, including those who qualified for ICDC, felt that this made a key difference.

With regard to the future, Vanessa felt optimistic, citing that the Grade 9s and 10s showed a great deal of promise. She credits this year’s chapter members for their hard work. “They’re the real MVPs.”

Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Ryan Lin was the only student from Marc Garneau who placed in the top 10 of his category during the 2014 DECA Ontario Provincial competition. This was an error; both Ryan Lin and Parnika Godkhindi placed in the top 10 that year.