From 21 April to 28 April 2016, twelve MGCI students attended the International Career Development Conference (ICDC), which took place in Nashville, Tennessee. ICDC is the final competition level of DECA, an international high school business competition. This year, over 18,000 students from countries around the world attended the conference, including Canada, USA, China, Spain, Germany, and Australia.

Ontario students needed to pass through Regionals and then place in the Top 7 overall at Provincials in order to qualify. Chosen from over 10,000 students within the Ontario association, a total of 579 Ontario delegates attended ICDC this year, competing in over 50 events.

The events in which most Garneau students competed in consisted of two oral roleplays and one multiple choice exam, testing various components of business knowledge. The marks would be added up to give an overall score. In every event, competitors would be randomly sorted into 10 groups of around 20. In order for a student to advance to finals, they must have one of the top 2 overall scores in their category. For Principles and Team Decision Making events, only one roleplay was required. Finalists’ exam marks would be carried over and they would perform one additional roleplay. Pre-finals, awards were given for the top 10 exams per event, as well as the highest scoring roleplay(s) in each category. At finals, the top 10 overall competitors in each event were honoured, and the top 3 competitors won trophies and cash.

This year, the Garneau DECA chapter set records by sending twelve students to ICDC, compared to three in 2015, and one in 2014. From 24 April to 25 April, the main competition took place, as well as VBC finals, where the MGCI team placed 2nd internationally. Only two MGCI students, Hannah He and Yiqun Zhang, competed in finals on 26 April. Yiqun Zhang later went on to place in the top 10 overall. MGCI was able to achieve several awards at the international level, bringing back a total of 12 medals and 1 trophy:

  • Jaitra Chaudhuri (Sports & Entertainment Marketing Series) – Top 10 Exam
  • Hannah He (Restaurant & Food Service Management Series) – Roleplay 2, Top 20 Finalist
  • Ryan Lin (Marketing Management Series) – Top 10 Exam
  • Cindy Zeng (Food Marketing Series) – Roleplay 1
  • Yiqun Zhang (Retail Merchandising Series) – Top 10 Exam, Roleplay 1, Top 10 Finalist
  • Mackenzie Wong, Jerry Yang, Victor Yu (VBC Hotel) – 2nd Place Overall

The conference officially started on Saturday 23 April with the Opening Ceremonies. All attendees gathered in the Bridgestone Arena. Students brought their national pride, and could be seen trading and buying hats, pins, flags, and even a few bottles of maple syrup (courtesy of Marc Garneau’s very own Ryan Lin). Ontario delegates were dressed uniformly in beige khaki pants, white collared shirts, blue DECA scarves/ties, and a red and white D-eh-C-A baseball hat. Some of the students put their business skills to good use and pawned off the baseball hats for $40 to $50 USD each.

The MGCI students enjoyed an abundance of free time during their stay at Nashville, the music city. Some attractions they went to included the Country Music Hall of Fame, and various shops and live music establishments along Broadway street. Country music reigned supreme in Nashville, and the students counted no less than three boot shops within the same block. “DECA is a competition, but it’s a fun competition! ICDC is as much the spirit of the city as it is the spirit of the competition, and Nashville was pretty rad. This experience has made me appreciate DECA so much more,” said Cindy Zeng, MGCI’s DECA president.

The MGCI students plan to do even better next year. As Jaitra Chaudhuri, a Grade 11 DECA member puts it, “I’m excited to come back to DECA, more prepared than ever, with a new experience under my belt. Hopefully, I’ll be able to make it back!”

For those of you interested in joining Marc Garneau’s DECA chapter, applications open up in the fall of 2016.