After initially disbanding in 2017, the newly formed Paly DECA club, a business and entrepreneurial development club, has come back stronger, qualifying two teams to the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). The club, which was only rebooted a few months ago, now has over 30 completely new members and competed in its first competition: the Anaheim State Development Conference in March 2019.
“The State Career Development Conference (SCDC) is the biggest and most exciting California DECA event of the year,” the official DECA website said. “Members from across California gather each year for competitions, workshops, state officer campaigns, networking and countless other opportunities. The best competitors at SCDC qualify to attend ICDC.”
Sophomore Jun Hyuk Kwak, Vice President of Business for Paly DECA, is one of the members who placed top 10 in his event, Entrepreneurship Team Decision Making, and qualified for ICDC.
Kwak was particularly impressed by Paly’s success at the event, given the small size and novelty of the club.
“The trip was an incredible event and gave us a welcoming surprise. We came in as a brand new DECA club with only 11 students going up against other giant clubs with huge reputations.”
Junior Jun Hyuk Kwan
At the conference, Paly DECA was one of the smaller clubs and was outnumbered exponentially compared to other schools. Despite being short in numbers, Kwak said he was thrilled to be able to place in his event.
“My partner and I studied hard and gave it our best with what we had and we never expected to win,” Kwak said. “It felt amazing hearing our names being called for the finalist position. Initially, there was doubt: ‘How could I have won, especially considering both our, and our club’s, extreme lack of experience?’”
In order to prepare for the event, Kwak and his partner prepared extensively.
“There was both a 100 question exam and a role play,” Kwak said. “To prepare for the exam, we looked at sample exams in addition to the review of business terminologies and concepts. For the role play, we examined sample case studies online and practiced sample case questions.”
When asked about the most valuable and memorable experience throughout the conference, Kwak said winning was one of the best parts. However, he also stated that building friendships, with his partner and other club members , contributed to the overall positive experience.
Junior and co-president of Paly DECA Ria Pai also saw SCDC as a success. As co-president, Pai took on the task of leading the brand new club to Anaheim, hoping for success. Competing for the first time, Pai believes she gained invaluable experience and knowledge from the trip.
“The trip was a triumph. Seeing how other DECA clubs work in different parts of California really showed me how we can improve our DECA club.”
Junior Ria Pai
For the next DECA competition season, Pai looks to gain new members and take more competitors to the State conference.
“I would definitely recommend this trip to those who are interested in business and who would like to compete and travel,” Pai said. “It allows one to understand various aspects of the business and economic world. Equally as important, the whole jaunt allows new connections to be made and old ones to be strengthened.”