A contingent of 16 business students at Kansas Wesleyan University descended on Lawrence this week, and left with a reputation that they are a competitive force to be reckoned with.
Walking into a collegiate business competition, the 16 DECA Club students walked out with enough winner’s hardware to fill a bookcase.
DECA, previously known as Distributive Education Clubs of America, is an international association of high school and college students, and teachers of marketing, management and entrepreneurship in business, finance, hospitality, and marketing sales and service.
The organization prepares leaders and entrepreneurs for careers and extended education in those disciplines.
At the competitions, students roleplay in several categories. The Wesleyan DECA force of nature swept through the 15 competitions and collected 13 first places, six seconds places and six thirds. Every student won a medal.
The Coyotes competed against their peers from Fort Hays State University, Ottawa University, Cowley County Community College and Butler County Community College. An estimated 50 students in total participated.
Under the leadership of DECA Head Coach Brylee New, all Wesleyan students competed in two events each.
KWU President and CEO Dr. Matt Thompson called the spectacular outcome nothing short of amazing.
“We know our students work very hard, and are dedicated to their studies,” Thompson said. “The fact that every student came away from DECA with a medal, and we came close to sweeping every first place, speaks volumes about how serious, and how prepared, these students really are. This is just another example of the Power of And at KWU – academic preparation and business competition.”
Dr. Trish Petak, Assistant Professor of Business and Accounting and Chair of the Department of Business and Accounting, heaped praise on both the students, and Coach New.
“Our students’ success at state DECA is a result of their dedication and commitment to their academics and DECA (it probably doesn’t hurt they’re all super competitive, too) and is reflective of Brylee’s leadership in getting them prepared for competition,” she said.
“DECA provides students with real business situations; the students’ challenge is to propose a solution to the judge, who serves as the CEO, President, Investor, or Financial Controller of the company. “
New said the DECA experience is an important cog in the learning wheel.
“KWU DECA provides a unique learning experience for our students, allowing them to step out of their comfort zone, learn more about the business world, and how to interact and adapt in it,” she said.
“We’ve seen first-hand how our students have made DECA a point of conversation in the interview process with local, regional, and national businesses, and have been offered jobs because of their relevant education and experiences.“
Senior student leader Gabbie Miller said coaching made the difference. “Brylee has done a great job with preparing each student to be successful,” she said. “She is committed to this program 100% and it clearly shows in the results.”
The competition is not over for these students.
“In mid-April, we’ll be off to Orlando, Fla., for the national competition,” said Petak. “With high expectations.”
Final results for KWU students:
- Business Ethics: First place, Aspen Lungwitz and Gabbie Miller. Second place, Nathan Mercer and Matthew Whitsitt.
- Entrepreneurship (starting a business): First Place, Nissa Inzunza.
- Event Planning: First Place, Megan Schutz and Hailey Vandevanter. Third Place, Curtis Vanderstaay and Austin Wiley.
- Fashion Merchandising & Marketing: First Place, Hailey Vandevanter. Second Place, Austin Wiley.
- Financial Accounting: Third Place, Matthew Whitsitt.
- Human Resource Management: First Place, Autumn Colgin. Second Place, Courtney Brockhoff.
- Managerial Accounting: First Place, Curtis Vanderstaay.
- Marketing Communication: First Place, Ryann Kats and Shelby Paul.
- Marketing Management: First Place, Nissa Inzunza.
- Restaurant & Food Service Management: First Place, Shelby Paul. Third Place, Tifanie Becker.
- Retail Management: Second Place, Ryann Kats. Third Place, Nathan Mercer.
- Sales Management Meeting: First Place, Courtney Brockhoff.
- Sports & Entertainment Marketing: First Place, Autumn Colgin & Eli Truhe. Second Place, Aspen Lungwitz and Gabbie Miller.
- Travel and Tourism: First Place, Eli Truhe. Second Place, Megan Schutz. Third Place, Haylie Rodriguez.