From April 12 to May 6, Harker DECA members competed virtually in the annual International Career Development Conference (ICDC). With 46 competitors and two first place champions, Harker DECA had the best ICDC results in chapter history. An exceptional 12 finalists placed in the top 20 for the preliminary round. Out of those 12, eight finalists were in the top 10 final round.
“ICDC and just DECA in general are both very exciting. It allowed not just my team but the entire DECA community to come closer together. I am looking forward to another DECA season,” said Armaan Thakker, grade 10.
This year, Harker DECA introduced the DECA alumni coaches program to help students excel in their competitions. The officer team reached out to several competitively successful alumni and former officers including Aditi Ghalsasi ‘20, Mahi Kolla ‘20, Lucas Wang ‘17, Evan Cheng ‘20, Shania Wang ‘19, Riya Gupta ‘19, Rishi Dange ‘20, Radhika Jain ‘20 and Phil Han ‘20. Many of the alumni continued their education at top universities including the University of Southern California, New York University and University of Pennsylvania. Each alumni was assigned to a competitive team and was required to meet with them at least three times to prepare for their competitions. Overall the inaugural program dramatically improved the success of Harker DECA’s competitors this year at ICDC.
“I think one of the biggest factors that contributed to how far we got at ICDC was the fact that we had an alumni, Radhika, as our mentor. It was even more special for us personally because she had mentored us in her junior and senior year, so it was great to be able to work with her again. Even though we only met four times for about an hour each, her feedback was so helpful, and we could actually feel ourselves improving each time. I definitely feel like Emily [Zhou] and I wouldn’t have been able to get as far as we did without the alumni mentorship program,” said junior Emily Tan.
Due to the pandemic, ICDC was held virtually this year. For the preliminary round, competitors were asked to submit their presentations in video form to a portal. However, for the final round of competitions, members joined a Zoom call with a judge to perform their presentations live.
“ICDC was an incredible experience, and we were so excited to represent Harker during the final round of competition. Our previous rounds were recorded videos, so being able to present a live presentation in front of a judge was a thrilling experience, especially since this was our first year competing in DECA,” said sophomore Annmaria Antony.
Despite most of the conference being online, Harker DECA hosted a viewing party of the grand awards session on May 6. Members were invited to the Innovation Center on the upper school campus to watch the livestream of the ceremony and were given an opportunity to socialize with their peers in person. They enjoyed snacks while watching and Chipotle for dinner. This event emulated an in-person conference experience and allowed competitors to celebrate their wins together as a chapter.
Regardless of obstacles that came with competing online, members had a thrilling and enriching experience participating in ICDC. Congratulations to all of our competitors!
“These students put in countless hours and battled out seemingly endless obstacles and levels of competition to get to this point. I am so very proud of our unprecedented year resulting in not just one but two international champion teams. We had the most successful year to date for our chapter and I can’t be more proud of our Harker DECA Eagles, officer team and student mentors for all of the effort, time, grit and passion they demonstrated throughout the year. Go Eagles!” said Juston Glass, Harker DECA chapter advisor.
Winners and finalists are as follows:
– Sasvath Ramachandran, grade 11; Virtual Business Challenge – Accounting
– Andrew Sun and Aditya Singhvi, grade 12; Hospitality Services Team Decision Making
– Grace Hoang and Annmaria Antony, grade 10; Marketing Management Team Decision Making
Top 10 Finalists:
– Shreeya Merchia and Cynthia Wang, grade 9; Integrated Marketing Campaign – Event (fourth)
– Bryan Zhang, grade 12; Sports and Entertainment Marketing Series (fourth)
– Claire Luo, grade 9; Principles of Hospitality and Tourism (fifth)
– Vienna Parnell, grade 11; Hotel and Lodging Management Series (fifth)
– Sara Wan, grade 10; Human Resources Management Series (fifth)
– Emily Tan and Emily Zhou, grade 11; Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making (seventh)
Top 20 Finalists:
– Catherine He and Victoria Han, grade 11; Travel and Tourism Team Decision Making
– Arin Jain, Zeke Weng and Armaan Thakker, grade 10; Independent Business Plan
– Ada Praun-Petrovic, grade 10; Marketing Communications Series
– Harshini Chaturvedula, Jasmine Ishikawa and Anjali Yella, grade 9; Entrepreneurship Innovation Plan