Collegiate DECA finds success at competition

Thousands of the United States and Canada’s top business students met in Orlando from April 18-22 for Collegiate DECA’s International Career Development Conference, where students competed against one another in specialized competitions, listened to guest speakers and took advantage of networking opportunities.

Thirteen students and two professors from Misouri Southern attend the event, with several students finding success.

“We had three students make it to the final round of competition and all three of the students placed top 10 in their event,” said Cara Gooch, current chapter co-president and former Collegiate DECA executive president.

Viktoryia Johnson was named top 10 in human resource management, Holly Loncarich won second place in banking and financial services and Dillon Walker was named the international champion in accounting.

“It is a business simulation that involves a multiple choice exam over finance and a presentation to a hypothetical client (the judge of the event). We are given an accounting scenario and have 30 minutes to prepare followed by 15 minutes to present to the judge,” said Walker, describing the event he competed in. 

At the collegiate level, DECA has more than 15,000 members from 275 universities around the world, according to their webpage.

“It’s a huge honor to make top 10 and an even bigger honor to make top three and bring home a plaque, so we’re very excited and proud to have three students make it on stage,” said Gooch. “I just love that through these competitions we’re proving that an education from Missouri Southern is valuable and that our ‘small’ university can beat out a big university any day.”

Walker is also quick to dismiss the notion that the success is more impressive due to Southern being a smaller university.

“​​I don’t really think of it like that; I think it’s best to focus on what Missouri Southern State University is rather than what it is not,” said Walker. “I am just honored to be able to represent Missouri Southern (particularly the School of Business) on the international stage because it shows that the professors and programs provide students with a quality education and that Missouri Southern is willing to invest in students by supporting them with opportunities like this, for which I am extremely grateful,” said Walker.