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Barton Lu

Barton Lu

Chapter Development Officer, DECA Ontario

In grade 9, I joined DECA because I was interested in exploring marketing. With that, I took the plunge.

Now in grade 12, I’ve realized that business isn’t what I want to pursue in university. However, my four enriching years in DECA haven’t gone to waste. 

DECA is a business competition that challenges students to apply their knowledge to real-life business scenarios. Although DECA is a business organization, the typical DECA student has many interests, ranging from engineering and computer science to the medical sciences and the humanities.

No matter the industry, 21st century skills such as critical thinking, creative problem-solving, communication skills, and collaboration are at the forefront of employers’ minds. More than ever, the jobs of the future are focusing on these essential soft skills. Therein lies DECA’s value — in the transferable skills it fosters.

Three girls at DECA

Students don’t always see just how valuable some transferable skills are. Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) students may scoff and believe that by choosing STEM, they’ve effectively evaded most networking sessions and presentations. However, as my science teacher once said, “I’ve never seen anybody schmooze a room better than my PhD advisor.” Luckily, 97% of DECA members report that DECA taught them how to communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently.

Above all, DECA teaches students to embrace a systems thinking approach to problem-solving. This means being able to see how all the internal and external facets of businesses influence each other and interconnect.

I may not be going into business, but taking the plunge into DECA has undoubtedly prepped me for university and the workforce beyond.

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