On 20 April 2018, fourteen students from Marc Garneau flew to Atlanta, Georgia to attend the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC). ICDC is the highest level of competition offered by DECA, an organization that provides business education and networking opportunities for high school students. This year, over eighteen thousand students gathered at the Georgia World Congress Centre to compete in a variety of events that were divided by subject into hospitality, finance, marketing, and business administration.

Prior to ICDC, MGCI students competed in the regional competition in November, followed by the provincial competition in February. The top eight overall competitors in each category at the provincial competition were then invited to represent DECA Ontario at ICDC.

During the official competition, which took place from 22 to 24 April, students from around the world competed in five types of events: Individual Series, Principles, Team Decision Making, Writtens, and Virtual Business Challenge (VBC). Students in the Individual, Principles, and Team events were judged based on one written multiple choice exam and one impromptu case study. Participants in the Writtens events were required to deliver a prepared presentation and VBC competitors were scored on how successful they were in running a computer-simulated business.

Competitors in each event were divided into sections of sixteen to twenty students or teams. A Mini Awards Ceremony was held to recognize the top ten exams overall and best case study score in each section. The top two overall performers from each section then qualified for the final round. There, the competitors completed one final case study. The top ten performers were recognized in the Grand Award Session and received medals, with the top three receiving plaques. The top ten competitors in sponsored events also received a monetary prize. Both awards ceremonies took place in the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in downtown Atlanta.

Marc Garneau DECA continues to improve its performance in competitions year by year. MGCI had a record number of qualifiers and delegates this year, with fourteen out of seventeen qualifiers sent to ICDC. This was a marginal improvement from the thirteen delegates sent in 2017 and the thirteen delegates sent in 2016. This was also the most outstanding year in terms of awards, with four students placing in the top three at ICDC.

MGCI DECA participants Laura Lu and Angela Pang celebrate their success. Photo: Justin Ye

The Reckoner congratulates the following students for their outstanding achievements at ICDC:

Laura Lu and Angela Pang (Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making): Top 10 Exam (Angela Pang, Top 10 Roleplay, First Overall
Alex Yu (Principles of Marketing): Second Overall
Jonathan Uy (Principles of Finance): Top 10 Exam, Third Overall
Harrison Chiu and Eric Shang (Marketing Communications Team Decision Making): Top 10 Exam (Eric Shang), Top 10 Overall
Anjing Li and Emily Shen (Buying and Merchandising Team Decision Making): Top 10 Roleplay, Top 20 Overall
Amy Chen (Accounting Applications Individual Series): Top 10 Exam
Andrew Li (Marketing Communications Individual Series): Top 10 Exam

Apart from the competition, ICDC was also a great networking opportunity for students. During opening ceremonies at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, all the delegates from DECA Ontario dressed in uniform with white shirts, khaki pants, red ties and scarves, and the classic DECA Ontario hat. Then, as per ICDC customs, students from around the world engaged in the trading and selling of hats, pins, and other types of apparel.

Throughout the week, DECA delegates were given time to explore the city of Atlanta. Students visited many local attractions, such as the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coca-Cola, and the CNN Centre. The trip concluded with the DECA Ontario Prom, a dance hosted by DECA Ontario to celebrate the hard work of all its members.

MGCI DECA concluded another year with success. Photo: Justin Ye

Overall, DECA continues to create an environment where all students are supportive of each other. Angela Pang, who placed first overall in the Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making Event with partner Laura Lu, credited their success to the support from both the MGCI chapter and the DECA Ontario delegation: “DECA has really allowed me to work as a team, and I think when you look past individual gains and just focus on making your province and chapter proud, you become better.”

MGCI DECA President Meagan Wan, was pleased with this year’s success: “The executive team and I saw how each member improved their skills from when we saw them in September and we’re extremely proud of everyone and their accomplishments.” She attributed the success to the club’s ability to “expand on the resources” available to club members, allowing them to “further their knowledge to prepare them for competition.” She added, “In the future I hope that the club can continue to do the same, giving members all the necessary resources to support their DECA journey.”