DECA coordinates workshops, events for business students at Rutgers

<p>While relatively new to campus, the Rutgers chapter of DECA has made a large impact on campus through its events and conferences, which help Rutgers business students prepare for real-world situations.</p>

While relatively new to campus, the Rutgers chapter of DECA has made a large impact on campus through its events and conferences, which help Rutgers business students prepare for real-world situations.

The Rutgers chapter of DECA, which began two years ago, works to prepare business students for the real world through conferences, events and interview skills workshops.

Mwakulomba Juma, the co-president and co-founder of DECA Rutgers and a School of Management and Labor Relations junior, said DECA is a huge organization with 850,000 members worldwide. 

The majority of the members and chapters are in high schools, he said. But on a college level, DECA has over 275 national chapters.

“Our mission is to prepare emerging leaders in the business field. One of the ways we do that is through conferences,” Juma said.

The organization has two regional conferences — national and state, he said. In these conferences, members take a cluster exam related to the field and their majors including business entrepreneurship and international marketing. 

“We have clusters of every business major including finance, accounting, human resource and recently added IT cluster. We hold workshops (and) mock trials to prepare the members for regional conferences,” he said.

Members are put in situations where they have to react spontaneously. In one of the clusters, members were given a prompt and had 15-20 minutes to come up with solutions, Juma said.

“If you actually know how to tackle the issue in the time constraints and come up with solutions to make that situation better, that is leadership to me,” he said.

DECA Rutgers holds biweekly meetings with a total of 25 to 30 active members. 

They participate in meetings, fundraising events and competitions, he said.

“Two weeks ago, we had our first state conference as the Rutgers chapter. We had most members show up for the chapter unlike other state chapters,” he said.

There are almost 15 colleges in New Jersey that have DECA as a chapter. DECA Rutgers had the most members and also won the most awards at the state conference, he said.

DECA Co-President Evan Kane will soon represent DECA Rutgers and New Jersey in California, he said.

“I am really proud because we are putting Rutgers and New Jersey on the map in DECA because DECA already has 850,000 members from different states and different countries. That is one of the biggest accomplishments we have had so far,” he said.

Being a relatively new organization, the short term goal of DECA Rutgers is to increase its membership and have members learn from their experience of being a part of  DECA Rutgers, Juma said.

“So one of the goals is to retain as many business kids and change their mindset into entrepreneurs', and help them with the business world by teaching them skills like interview skills, how to deal with crisis situations. Our projection for next semester would be to have at least 50 active members who would be involved in making changes and be active participants in all our events,” he said.

A lot of people do not know about DECA Rutgers because it is a huge school, but the organization really does a lot to help the business students, he said.

“I would suggest people giving it a try. I was a DECA member in high school, four years in a row, and ended up taking up leadership positions. It had a great impact on my life that I wanted to share that with everyone else. That is why I wanted to start it here,” he said.

Laniquah Demps, a member of the organization and a School of Arts and Sciences junior, said that the organization prepares leaders in all fields but focuses primarily on entrepreneurs within the business field.

“Through role plays, members like me are challenged to solve real case studies that relate to our intended career path,” she said.

Every DECA meeting has a purpose. At times, the members have workshops that help them with professional development and meetings that prepare them for the conferences, she said.

“My long-term goal is to use whatever I learn in the organization, in the real world. I seek to improve my knowledge about entrepreneurship in addition to my interview skills through the organization,” she said.

The organization stands for values and prepares emerging leaders — this is what college organizations should strive for,  she said.

“I like DECA and what it stands for. There are a lot of high school chapters and being the fact there is also collegiate DECA, it shows the impact it's having on students including high school students,” said Alyxandra Muldowney, a member of the organization and a Rutgers Business School junior.

DECA Rutgers meetings are tailored to accomplish its purpose and mission. Some meetings are solely meant to prepare members for conferences while others focus on developing their professionalism, she said.

“I want to improve my interview skills because it will prepare me for the real world when I have to start searching for a job and through DECA, I believe I will definitely be able to accomplish that,” she said.

Anushtha Mittal is a first-year student in the Rutgers Business School. She is a contributing writer for The Daily Targum.

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