The DECA Club is dedicated to molding leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management through competence, innovation, integrity and teamwork. DECA clubs worldwide train students to be young professionals by holding various competitions. Pre-Covid competitions would look something like this: Students registered for a given event (hospitality, for one) enter a silent reading room. They have 10 minutes to analyze a situation and take notes if necessary. They then go into a room with anywhere from one to three judges. The judge roleplays as a character and engages in conversation with the student. Students must use critical thinking, public speaking, and analytical skills to impress them. Virtual competitions might include tests or virtual simulations (hotels, restaurants, retail stores, stadiums) in which students must figure out how to grow and sustain a company. The FIDM challenge, in contrast, is much more multifaceted.
The FIDM challenge, best stated by junior finalist Carly Mallah, is “an Entrepreneur of Tomorrow Challenge in which students have to present an entrepreneurial proposal for a new product idea for a specific market segment.” In simpler terms, each student or small group must essentially create a business and provide marketing, fiscal, and general details regarding how their business will live on and thrive. For instance, a student with a sports equipment business might explain their target audience and measures they are taking to engage with that specific audience. Three Blind Brook students, who also happen to be board members of DECA, placed second place in the entire nation. The video presentation of their product granted them a $1000 prize to be split evenly between the three of them. They will also be recognized during the national Virtual International Career Development Conference. This is a very prestigious competition that is widely accepted by the international business world. Upon asking what brilliant idea got Carly Mallah, and seniors Claire Limb and Brooke Gerchick this hefty honor, Mallah responded, “We created a sustainable food business dedicated to providing considerably cheap meals to young people through utilizing imperfect produce. Imperfect produce can be defined “imperfect” in several ways: cosmetic damage, surplus or excess inventory, undervalued or lack of demand, or doesn’t meet a strict specification from the buyer, usually in the way it’s harvested or packaged. Regardless of this, this food is perfectly safe to eat and has no health or taste defects. We figured that this would bring quality food to people that might otherwise be forced to eat fast food due to a lack of resources.” It is clear that these students are very skilled in their craft and are very deserving of such a distinguished prize.