Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
The Goodman School of Business sent a team of 60 delegates to the 2014 DECA U Provincials, held in downtown Toronto on January 17 and 18. DECA U is Canada’s largest undergraduate conference and case competition had has over 2200 members across 20 universities and colleges. DECA U Brock  won 11 medals this year and two Chapter Awards.
Tammy Boodram (centre of the photograph) is the president of Brock’s DECA U chapter. We caught up with her to find out about her involvement with DECA U and the secret to her team's success.
1. Why did you get involved with DECA U?
I joined DECA U in my first year simply because my friend needed a partner to compete with her! I thought it sounded like a good opportunity to develop myself professionally, but I never expected to continue to be so involved with the conference five years down the road. I stuck with it because it allows me to continuously learn and develop myself every year. I have been able to travel around North America, meet some amazing and inspiring students, network with industry leaders, build contacts with business professionals all over North America, and of course advance my presentation skills!
2. Why should Goodman students join DECA U Brock?
Getting involved in DECA U Brock means having the opportunity to develop yourself professionally while showcasing your school pride. The club provides students with thorough training on presentation skills and practice for mastering quick, think-on-the spot analytical skills, which is a tool that every business student requires. The conference itself provides great opportunities to network with business professionals and exceptional students from other universities, while also learning important life-lessons from remarkable key-note speakers.
Furthermore, the opportunities to travel with DECA U Brock are incredible. Apart from the Provincial Competition in Toronto, the team has attended other conferences from the Collegiate Leadership Academy (CLA) in the heart of New York City, to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC) in places like Orlando, Florida; Anaheim, California; Salt Lake City, Utah; Washington D.C., and more.
3. Can you walk us through a DECA U competitive event?
The most unique part of DECA U is the competitive events and presentations. Unlike most other business conferences, DECA U challenges students to assume a role-play position, think on their feet, be creative and make themselves stand out in a fast-paced, constantly changing environment. This is very similar to situations in the real business world, so it serves as great preparation!
For example, a delegate in a typical competitive event for an individual category, say Human Resources Management, would have 15 minutes to read, analyze and prepare a solution to a one-page business simulation case. Each case includes a list of about five to six ‘Performance Indicators’ which are business concepts related to the case. Students are expected to show thorough knowledge of each performance indicator since they are included in their judging rubric. As soon as the 15 minutes prep-time is complete, the delegate is escorted to a judge where he/she has 10 minutes to present their solution, and 5 minutes of questions from the judge. The timing is very strict so delegates can be cut off if they exceed the limit.
This 30 minute adrenaline rush is repeated again later in the day for the delegates’ second round of presentations.
4. Goodman had an incredible showing at the DECA U Provincials in Toronto. Can you share the team’s secret to success?
The success of our team can be credited to the outstanding dedication of the delegates themselves. We provided many training sessions and mock competitions, and received great faculty support from Professor Jacqueline Glenney, Professor Eric Dolanksy, and Student Engagement Coordinator Najlaa Rauf, all of whom provided excellent advice, feedback and insight. However, our delegates were a team of enthusiastic, goal-oriented, and determined students who wanted to perform their best; so ultimately, our secret to success was them!
5. In addition to a record haul of 11 medals, Goodman also won the Membership Engagement Award and the Marketing Excellence Award. What did these awards mean to the team?
Our team was extremely proud to have been awarded these titles since we definitely worked hard to earn them! To us, it meant that our students were the most committed to the purpose of the conference, and that our executive team had gone above and beyond throughout the year in recruiting efforts, improving communication through social media, and providing social mixers and team-building activities for our delegation. The awards were well-deserved and provided us another way to display our #GoodmanSpirit.