Stuyvesant Dominates DECA Regionals

Over half of Stuyvesant’s DECA team managed to earn a spot on the podium at the regional level competition.

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Stuyvesant’s Distributive Education’s Club of America (DECA) team attended the organization's citywide regional business competition at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise in Long Island City on December 16, 2023. Out of the sixteen Stuyvesant students who participated in the competition, eight of them managed to place on the podium in their respective categories, including freshman Nara Kong (2nd) in the Marketing and Communications category, junior Nirvan Mulchandani (2nd) in the Principles of Finance category, seniors Tomas Levani and Patrick Xu (3rd) in the Financial Services Team Decision Making category, junior Ashley Lo (1st) and senior Joy Cai (2nd), both in the Business Finance category, junior Lourdes Krestula (1st) in the Retail Merchandising category, and finally, sophomore Ruiqi Rey (3rd) in Apparel and Accessories Marketing category. 

DECA regionals is a significant finance contest that provides a solid opportunity for the members of the team to prove their business acumen. “DECA is an internationally recognized business competition for high schoolers. They offer a variety of categories, so it can be anything from accounting applications, to entrepreneurship, to business finance [...] and I think it offers a great place, you know, for students to develop career skills and dive into whatever business field that they are interested in,” Lo said. 

This regional competition was formatted in a similar manner to DECA competitions at other levels. “It’s usually made up of two main portions: one is a multiple choice test [...] [and the other is] the interview portion. [The multiple-choice portion is] about 100 questions in about an hour, I believe, and you’ll have questions about corporations or, depending on the category, how to calculate net profit value. [For the interview portion,] you’ll have a case study, and  you’re supposed to answer certain questions based on the case study that you’re given,” Lo said.

In order to prepare for these competitions, Stuy DECA has weekly meetings in which they work collaboratively to practice for their upcoming competitions. “We have people pair up, work in groups, and so it’s a lot of mix of things,” Lo said. “[When contest season winds down she begins] teaching more finance and economics-centered lessons, and so those are just a way for people to get prepared for next year and learn a little bit more,” Lo said.

Though most students in DECA compete individually—with few team categories—the Stuy team leadership still devotes a lot of time to making sure everyone is prepared to compete. “On my own time, I continued to practice my speaking skills and learn important vocabulary about marketing. Ashley has taught lessons before, and one of them that I attended was about economics in our current world. We learned about the debt ceiling, the US economy, etc. It was really informative, and I walked out knowing a lot more about econ than previously,” Kong said.

Along with the nine competitors from Stuyvesant each placing in the top three of their respective category, approximately 40 percent of the initial 16 competitors placed in the top two. “[This year] 40 percent also qualified for states because [the state DECA competition] takes the top 2 from each category,” Lo said. 

Though a few Stuy DECA competitors qualified for the state DECA competition, which will take place in the spring of this year, Lo explained that the team may still be unable to compete. “States is kind of dependent on if we get a chaperone or not, because it’s three days to Rochester upstate during a school week—Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday—in the middle of spring, so I think that for many students it’s kind of hard; I’ve already had people confirm with me that they want to go, but again, it’s dependant on if we can get a school chaperone to go, and that’s very hard considering teachers have to teach,” Lo said.

Regardless, the Stuy DECA competition season is ongoing. “We have corporate challenges right now going on […] I think Amazon this year has partnered up with DECA for a competition [called the Unreal Campaign Challenge], and so they’ll just have a list of these on their website that I hope all members will participate in.” Lo said.