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January 2024 - New Year, New Blogs!

Hi Illinois DECA! It’s Minzie Choi, your Illinois DECA Association President, and I’m bringing you the first ever Illinois DECA website blog. Since our State Officer installation, I made it my personal mission to show Illinois DECA members and potential members just how DECA can benefit them beyond high school. I encouraged my Vice Presidents to do the same, and they have truly embodied this initiative; an effort that I am truly grateful for. Most of us assume that our high school extracurriculars get us as far as our college application. As someone who recently finished theirs, I can back this statement- varying extracurriculars are essential to being accepted into top universities. However, DECA stands apart from the rest as a singularly recognizable and commendable student organization. How? Because it prepares you for the future, and wherever your future may take you.


There was a DECA Direct article written back in the summer of 2022 by DECA’s Partnership and Volunteer Specialist, Whitney Milbourne. In this article, Milbourne wrote about her top five reasons to join DECA, as well as why her reasons were significant. Here’s the link, I encourage you to take a look! So what's the point? Well, having gained inspiration from Ms. Whitney Milbourne's article, I will be giving you my top 5 reasons for why you should join DECA, with emphasis on how DECA will specifically benefit you later in life.


Here are my Top 5 Reasons to Join DECA (mind you, some might be similar to DECA Direct’s, theirs were pretty good):

1)    Develops the Qualities of Professionalism

2)    The DECA Network and Community is Far Reaching

3)    Impressive to Colleges and Universities

4)    Encourages Competitive Education

5)    Traveling and Memorable Experiences (I had to copy this one word for word- self explanatory)



DECA prepares its members for the professional world. Contrary to popular belief, professionalism is not in how you dress or if you carry a briefcase but is the way you conduct or carry yourself as an individual with responsibility, accountability, integrity, and excellence. DECA gives students an opportunity to learn a professional mindset by placing them in scenarios, specifically through live competitions, where they need to maintain these qualities in order to be successful. Even if you don’t want to pursue business, professionalism is necessary for success in any career, making DECA a student organization that prioritizes the preparation for career readiness in general. DECA builds related skills and help students promote themselves as individuals of responsibility, accountability, integrity, and excellence.



Let me tell you a story: I was on my way home from my hockey tournament out in Boston, Massachusetts. I was sitting at the airport doing my homework, waiting for our plane to start boarding. After a while, I look up and I see a guy sitting across from me wearing a Massachusetts DECA t-shirt. I was too afraid to say "hi" at the time (if he's reading this now, "hello"), but needless to say I was surprised and slightly freaked out. DECA usually stayed within the walls of my high school, extending only to the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center and the Hyatt Regency O’Hare. To identify DECA outside of competitions and meetings was unusual to me, but it was a good reminder that DECA is a community that we can all identify with, and one that wide enough to connect even two strangers sitting across from one another at the airport. DECA’s network is far reaching, even more than we think. You never know, one day you might just get your dream internship because your boss was the judge of your stellar roleplay performance during your sophomore year of high school. It may be a stretch, but DECA makes it a possibility.



This third bullet point is an interesting one. I won’t negate the fact that most people are first interested in joining DECA because it’s impressive to colleges. I’m sure the thought has crossed each of our minds, and rightfully so because it’s a reality that high school students realize upon the start of senior year. However, my question is, what makes it so impressive? And why is it important to stay involved, even after college application season is good and over with? If you can answer this question, you joined DECA for the right reasons. For me, DECA is impressive because it allows students to grow their network cross country and get a head start on becoming professional individuals. It also encourages a nature of competition, which is necessary to develop an intrinsic motivation for success- but I’ll get into that later. But the reality is, being able to have an extensive network before exiting high school is impressive. And being an individual who acts beyond their age to professional standard is even more so. These skills will be needed in the workforce, at conferences, trade shows, meetings, and more. I can’t speak on behalf of colleges or universities, but if I were an onlooker seeing our DECA members who have reached the next level before they graduate out of high school, I’d take those students in a heartbeat.



I’m sure I’m not the only one who has heard repeatedly that the best way to learn is through experience. We also learn the most through our wins and losses. DECA promotes this kind of learning- unique educational experiences through exposure- where we can grow from our mistakes and celebrate our successes along with additions to our trophy shelf. Life is not without its competition, and we learn this early on. We learn from DECA that if we want to win, we have to put in the work, and we need to perform our best. This philosophy continues into the workforce. Nothing comes without its sacrifice, and sometimes, accepting failures along the way can be a tough pill to swallow- I know from experience how hard it can be. But, competition also allows us to understand the value of success, and after you understand that feeling once, I can guarantee that it will become your motivation to achieve future successes in and outside of DECA.



If you ask any DECA member what their favorite part of DECA is, I am almost entirely positive that most members will mention the competitions. Being able to travel and stay in a hotel with some of your best friends, all while competing against some of the most remarkable students and people that you will ever meet, is an experience unmatched. DECA is excellent at offering glimpses of what the work travel experience is like, all while making their conferences fun and filled with an energy that is simply uncontested. To say that some of these trips are the highlight of my year is an understatement, and it also makes me look forward to traveling for my career when I’m older. DECA and business will take you many places, but it’s the memories and all that you learn that keep you coming back.

Out of everything I had said, there is one thing I hope you take away from this: DECA is worth being a part of, whatever "worth it" means to you. I know for myself that DECA has helped me reach new levels that I never thought imaginable, and I can only hope the same for the rest of you. There is a significant distinction between good and greatness, and I encourage you all to find your own ways to “Experience the Difference” between the two. DECA makes it possible, and let me tell you, “greatness” is so much better.

Inspiring Book Recommendation of the Month: January

"Make Your Bed: Little Things That Can Change Your Life, and Maybe the World" By Admiral William H. McRaven

Competition Preparation Tips

Test Preparation:

  1. Quizlets (to remember vocab/terms) are an excellent resource to utilize!

  2. If your


  1. Practice with old roleplays from your event

  2. Present a practice roleplay in front of someone, anyone! Get their feedback

  3. Ask experienced DECA members for presentation tips that will make your roleplay stand out

  4. If you’re a returning member, ask your advisor for your old scoring guides to see how you preformed in the past and areas you need to improve on

  5. Review old performance indicators (there are often repeats!)

Written Events:

  1. Meet with your written event group at least once a week (practice presentation, fix formatting, etc., just maximize the amount of time you have to prepare leading up to competitions and conferences)

Virtual Business/Stock Market Game

  1. VB: Set aside an allotted amount of time per week to play with the VB simulations, and communicate activity with your team as much as possible

  2. SMG: Learn from the market instead of trying to outguess the market. Remember, the Stock Market Game is different than investing in real life, so take those factors into account when you make your trades!

Ways to get Involved in Illinois DECA

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