Wednesday, February 6, 2013

DECA ~ Highschool Judging

February 6, 2013 ~ This year marks my 5th year for judging for DECA. For those of you that don't know what DECA is it is a great program offered in high school and college. DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. DECA enhances the co-curricular education of members through a comprehensive learning program that integrates into classroom instruction, applies learning, connects to business and promotes competition.

Today I judged at the Holiday Inn in Columbia, MO and recruited 3 friends to help out.... Thank you Cheryl, Shelly & Suzie! Judging at these events is always interesting as you get students that really don't want to be there but were encouraged by their teachers to participate and then you have students that totally get it. Today I judged the written events. The students prepared a binder with 11 pages of content on marketing. Then I have 5 different advertising competitions to judge. I was impressed with all of the students and their knowledge on an advertising campaign and how creative they are.

I was so proud of a set of girls that presented to me. Without giving too much detail about their advertisement (because they use real businesses to come up with these ad campaigns and marketing strategies) I was very impressed with both of them and their ideas. They took an idea on marketing prom items. They had a fashion show with all proceeds going to one of their classmates that could not afford a tux and presented a check for $260 that will be used to rent his tux, a boutonniere and possibly dinner. My heart was beaming with joy hearing this coming from two seniors that were awesome in coming up with this idea. They had a well thought out plan, it was successful and now I can't imagine what that young man is going to feel like as he goes to their prom. If their classmates would take note of what they have done and see that these girls got great recognition (they were the MC's for the event) and didn't really focus on that aspect of this project. Well done ladies, well done!

I had another set of students that presented to me and although their presentation was good I feel they didn't put a lot of thought into what they were presenting. For example: The promotional items they were going to offer didn't add up to the total they gave even when you multiply it by 12 (months) was still only $20,000 and their number was $35,000. The thing I questioned them on was this.... They said they were trying to increase the sales for this business from $20,000 to $30,000. The ad campaign they were pitching was going to cost $40,000+. My question to them was this.... If you are only increasing my sales from $20,000 to $30,000 (+$10,000) why would my ad campaign be $40,000+? Wouldn't I be loosing money? I know I caught them unprepared and they didn't have an answer. I was very nice to them but my point was as a business owner having an ad campaign of $40,000+ on a business that only brings in $20,000 is a lot of money. Even as a small business owner that makes just a little more than $20,000 it's a lot of money to get $10,000 in potential sales.

I give all the students props for putting all of this together including making phone calls, personal visits and e-mails to the various business owners to obtain information needed for their presentation. They all did a great job with speaking and everyone was pretty fluent with what they were talking about. I am so thankful for this opportunity and try to give feedback when I can. I want all of these kids to be successful into the future. As a student myself I remember going through DECA in high school and just wished I had applied myself a little more. I know I could have went to nationals and possibly inter-national but I didn't so what I can do is to keep judging and encouraging these students to do the best they can.

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