October 22, 2011

DECA Day in Boston

By Emily Ackerman
International Business, 2014

JWU students participating at DECA Day
            DECA Day was a great opportunity for me to travel to Boston with other NSO members to compete in a mock competition.  We networked with other college students from the local area and presented in front of professional judges who were businessmen and women working in the fields in which we were competing in.  This wonderful trip gave me the chance to see what DECA competitions were all about and was an eye-opening experience.
As I entered the Bay State College Library where the DECA conference was held, the noise of fellow participants filled the air. With all the nerves and excitement I eagerly awaited for the evening’s competition.  I watched the students from Bay State and Endicott College work intensely on their case studies until it was our turn to follow suit.
Unlike most students in attendance, DECA was not offered in my high school and even though I had a background in debate this was a whole new ball game for me. My heart was racing with a strong feeling of apprehension for what was to come. As we prepared for the chance to impress the judges with our skills and knowledge, my nerves fell at ease as our presentation began to assemble smoothly. Our case topic was human resource management, a topic I am not too familiar with, but my group members knew it well, which also helped calm my nerves.
As the prep time came to an end we entered a room in front of two judges that appeared eager to hear our proposal. I listened as my group members spoke with knowledge and poise, which allowed me to feel more comfortable when it became my turn to speak. When the presentation came to an end, the judges seemed impressed and we felt a sense of accomplishment.
The judges’ feedback we received was positive and useful; it gave us the guidance to improve upon our skills for future competitions and real life challenges.  Overall the involvement in this conference provided me with an experience that allowed me to expand my capabilities and build my professional persona.

Tips that I picked up:
§  I learned how to pitch my ideas to a panel of judges and present in a professional manner.
§  I learned that nerves are natural but will go away with continued practice and confidence.
§  The judges spoke to us about tips and general advice for all presenting needs, no matter what it’s for.
§  One specific highlight from the judges feedback that really helped me was that, if you forgot to mention a topic in your speech do not get nervous, because the judges do not know what you’re were about to say and they don’t know you missed it, only you do.

See more photos here.