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5 Things Business Students Should Do to Maximize their College Experience (and Walk Away with a Job)

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By: Cecilia Yau

College is a stressful time. As a student, you are expected to do spectacularly in your classes because your parents have invested thousands of dollars in your education (no pressure). At the end of your 4 years, you’re expecting to walk away from your university with a fancy piece of paper, and hopefully, a career. As a current college senior, here are 5 tips to help you maximize your college experience and come out as a well-rounded and sought after prospect for your chosen career field.

1) Join a campus student organization
Student organizations (like DECA) are an amazing way to meet and build meaningful connections with other students on campus. The volunteering you do, guest speakers you meet, and competitions you participate in are also an amazing addition to your resume.

2) Get job experience (of any sort!)
Just because you want to be a future CEO, CFO, COO, or other C-suite job doesn’t mean you need to start off with one. As a college student, no one expects you to have a part time job or internship that matches your career field right off the bat. Your college years are probably the only time when it’s acceptable to jump from job to job every semester. Go out there and get some work experience! It will impress the person on the other side of the interview table, put a bit of cash in your pocket, and teach you a little about what kind of career you want to pursue.

3) Study abroad
Studying abroad is an incredible experience that will give you a different viewpoint of the world. Get out of your comfort zone and explore a new country. This will probably be the only time in your life when you can take 5 months off to study and explore another country while paying very little money and avoiding other adult responsibilities like a full-time job.

4) Learn to network
Soft skills are quickly becoming one of the most sought after traits for new college hires. Practice your networking skills at socials that the university or student organization hosts. These skills will benefit you greatly when you’re interviewing for a job, and later, when you enter the professional world.

5) Have a little fun!
In the end, don’t forget to have a little bit of fun. Go out on Friday and Saturday nights and spend Sunday recovering and studying instead. Work on cultivating a good work-life balance. Don’t be stumped when your interviewer tosses you an easy question like “what do you do for fun?” and say something boring like “studying.”

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My UNLV DECA Experience

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By: Sneha Patel

UNLV DECA has been one of the most inspiring organizations that I have been fortunate enough to a be part of because it has allowed me to become more professionally competent, assist the community, expand my social circle, and develop new skills that will allow me to thrive in the business world.

Our unique DECA chapter recruits members into our organization by participating in an involvement fair held on campus, posting fliers, and through the word-of-mouth process. Our organization is unique because we are all encouraged to network during our DECA meetings. We do this by doing ice breakers before the meetings officially begin, which helps our participants not only meet others and become comfortable with each other, but also help us learn how to work in a team. Just by doing little things, such as these ice breakers, it makes our DECA experience a whole lot more memorable.

Additionally, I have learned how to interact with industry professionals and properly greet others when I am placed in a business environment. There was one instance where UNLV DECA hosted the Las Vegas Competition Academy and the members were in charge of interacting and directing the attendees. Many of the other DECA members have already participated in this event, but it was a new experience for me.

Our DECA president allowed the volunteers to have a practice run to ensure that we all knew our roles when the competition began. Even though I made a few mistakes during the practice run, I was able to resolve them because the president and other DECA members gave me valuable feedback on how to improve. This allowed me to be successful when the actual event began. This showed me how professional, polite, and patient our chapter members are We not only work as a team, but we learn from each other.

By participating in UNLV DECA, I have had the opportunity to develop myself both personally and professionally and I am eager to continue to learn and expand my skills in the coming semesters. I urge others to do the same and join DECA.

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An Education Student’s Take on DECA

By: Johana Mendoza

When I first joined DECA, I thought that I was going to go into the Hotel Industry. I was attending a magnet school and was a part of their hospitality program. I thought that was what I was going to do, and I figured that DECA would bring me closer to my future career and give me a leg up against other individuals that wanted to go into the hotel industry as well. Little did I know, I would enter college as an education major.

There seems to be a bit of misunderstanding that DECA is only for those that want to go into entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality, and/or management. Though I still have some sights set on entrepreneurship and management, I am definitely an education major first. So, I get a lot of questions about why I am in DECA, and, every time, I respond that DECA is more than its career clusters. DECA is also about networking and growing as a leader. It is about presentation and professionalism, all of which are extremely important qualities for a teacher.

I honestly wish that students from other careers would join DECA, not only to make the organization more diverse, but to grow professionally from an organization that can take you places. Even as a future educator, I know that DECA is still going to put me a step ahead of other people in my industry because I have used the opportunities that DECA provides me to my advantage. There are countless resources that an organization like DECA holds and I hope more people become aware of that and use them to grow as well.

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Applebee’s Hosts ICDC Fundraiser

By: Ryan Arinas

UNLV DECA members had the opportunity to manage a restaurant for a morning to raise money for their trip to ICDC.

Volunteers had the option of being a host or a server at the Applebee’s on Maryland Parkway for the breakfast fundraiser. The menu included pancakes, eggs, sausages and the guests’ choice of a drink (non-alcoholic of course)!

Not only did the event benefit UNLV DECA as a fundraiser, but members also gained valuable leadership and management skills that are crucial to running a successful restaurant. These skills may also be applied to other career fields members wish to pursue.

By interacting with guests, members practiced their people and communication skills, leaving those who attended happy and satisfied. The event also taught them a valuable lesson in teamwork and collaboration. Working towards a common goal certainly brought everyone together run a great restaurant.

Members also learned from the employees working at Applebee’s. They met some servers that have worked at Applebee’s for 20 years. The servers passed on their knowledge about improving communication and collaboration skills, adding to what members learned first-hand while serving at the fundraiser.

Many members took this experience as a great way to practice their coordination, collaboration and communication skills. Physical and mental coordination brought UNLV DECA to its feet to execute another successful event!

We would like to thank Applebee’s for giving their time and resources to help UNLV DECA make it to ICDC.

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Yum! Laughs! Fun! UNLV DECA Crepe Social

By Ryan Arinas

UNLV DECA had a fun Saturday afternoon enjoying unlimited crepe, smoothie and coffee at La Maison de Maggie. Members felt like they were right in France and had the opportunity to socialize with close friends and have tons of great laughs.

The crepe startup’s focus is bringing a French experience to Las Vegas. La Maison de Maggie’s interior reflects this realistic, French experience, and all of the crepe ingredients are imported from France. UNLV DECA was invited by Bonito Sahagun, Chairman of the Nevada DECA Board of Trustees and a co-founder of La Maison de Maggie.

Throughout the whole experience, members learned about the vision behind the restaurant and its initial challenges, ranging from city regulations to logistics. Some members also had the opportunity to learn more about the Sahagun’s extensive background, and he gave valuable insight to each member about pursuing their dreams.

Thank you La Maison de Maggie for hosting this yummy event!

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UNLV Collegiate DECA Hosts Competition Academy

By Cecilia Yau

On December 4th, 2015, UNLV Collegiate DECA hosted its 2nd annual Competition Academy for high school DECA students in the Las Vegas area to attend.

The competition academy is a place where students who are new to high school DECA can come to learn about competitions, get competition tips, and have a chance to try a mock case study or business stimulation in front of a real judge.

For many high school DECA students, the competition academy will be the first opportunity to develop their skills for the state conference and beyond.

After months of planning from the Competition Academy Committee, the event was a success. Over 80 local high school students attended and 12 local business professionals offered their time to act as judges and mentors for the  program.

Students from UNLV DECA and CSN DECA also volunteered their time and gained experience learning how to run a competitive event of this size.

At 8:30 a.m., UNLV DECA President Randy Huynh officially opened the ceremony, though volunteers had started setting up several hours before.

After the ceremony, Nevada DECA State Director Curtis Haley ran the students through a training session where they all learned how to get through a case study. For many, this was the first time they had such an experience.

At noon, their hard work was payed off with lunch and the opportunity to interact with UNLV DECA members.

Over the next three hours, the students tested their newly acquired skills during the competition session with judges from various local industries. The judges provided feedback to students after the scores were compiled.

To close the day, students with high enough scores were given medals at the award ceremony.

UNLV DECA had a blast hosting the 100+ students, advisors, and judges on our campus. We hope that the students excel in their state competition next month and return next year for our 3rd annual Competition Academy!

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Volunteering in a Hawaiian Paradise

By: Bonnie Lei

OCA Las Vegas hosted a Hawaiian themed OCA 88 Funds dinner at the Mandalay Bay Beach Club and gave UNLV DECA members the opportunity to volunteer for the event.

The annual recognition dinner honors three distinguished Asian and Pacific Islander icons in the Las Vegas community.

OCA Las Vegas is part of a “national organization dedicated to advancing the social, political, and economic well-being of Asian Pacific Americans in the United States,” according to their website.

UNLV DECA volunteers were given leis to match the theme and signs to help direct the guests from the hotel lobby to the Mandalay Bay Beach Club. Volunteers were put into teams of two and spread out along the pathway to the venue starting from the casino lobby. With a smile on their face and a beaming energy, they held signage signifying they were there for OCA and gave directions for where to walk. Later in the evening, the volunteers assisted with running the silent auction.

This event-based project not only gave back to the community, but it also gave volunteers the opportunity to meet and network with the three distinguished icons: Lawrence Barnard, CEO and President of Saint Rose Hospitals; Catherine Siefert, Vice President of Hotel Operations at the Monte Carlo; and Maggie Hsu, Chief of Staff and Vice President of Business Development at Downtown Project.

“My favorite part about the event was that it was not just a volunteer event,” said Aurora Chen, freshman. “We actually got to introduce ourselves to the guests and speak to them after the event ended.”

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8 Million Things I Learned at DECA CLA

By: Blaze Lovell

The Big Apple isn’t just a gathering center for advertisers and media giants. People from various backgrounds around the world come to live, work, and play in New York City. There isn’t a better place to DECA Epic!

1) Take it in!

From Broadway plays to multiple sporting events and venues to the various landmarks spread across the five boroughs, New York City may appeal to anyone’s interests. Besides viewing and visiting all the city has to offer, take advantage of the network opportunities. Every DECA conference provides them, but not in a business metropolis on the scale of New York. Immersing yourself in the culture with other like minded individuals is rewarding experience. When in Rome…

2) Cheap food

What’s a DECA team to do with just 7 minutes left until the next train and no food? Sprint to the nearest Pizza stand! For just $3 ($1 in some places) you can find a pizza slice bigger than your face. Street vendors with $1 hotdogs and kabobs do exist. Look past the chain restaurants and fancy hotel eateries, opting for locally owned delicatessens and vendors.

3) Not everyone is rude

The movies make it look like the entire population of Manhattan is in a rush and disregards basic decency and manners. Yes, people will bump into you and not say sorry, but they are also trying to navigate through an area of 22 square miles with more people than the entire population of Rhode Island. Residents still hold open the door for you and give you directions when you inevitably get lost. People may have different mannerisms in certain cities, but at the core, we’re all the same.

4) Be on DECA Time (sometimes)

Remember that DECA team that got pizza? Well, they missed their train. The next one brought a surprise, however. A flash mob of break dancers astonished the riders on the train bound for the Bronx. This doesn’t mean you should miss important appointments, but in the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

Maybe that wasn’t quite 8 million things. If you want to learn more, visit NYC for yourself and see its population of over 8 million. Remember, everyone has something to offer. Every person is an opportunity to learn.

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What’s Beyond Collegiate DECA?

By: Randolph Huynh

Many college students who join Collegiate DECA (especially former DECA members from the high school division) believe that DECA is about competing in business competitive events. Competing is an amazing experience and being able to achieve “International Finalist” or “International Champion” is an honor that many DECA students, both in high school and and in the collegiate division, yearn to achieve. However, that is only a small part of being a Collegiate DECA member.

The main goal of being involved in Collegiate DECA is to build 21st century skills that can be applied to any industry you are, or want to be, involved with.

An article by the huffington post noted that 45 percent of college graduates aren’t working in jobs that fits with their bachelor degrees. So why are college graduates not getting the jobs they’re majoring in? The Washington Post noted three skills that are lacking from college graduates.

  • Lack of problem solving
  • Lack of decision making skills
  • Lack of basic talking skills

A good habit that Collegiate DECA members learn is to be on “DECA time”, which means arriving 15 minutes early. It’s a standard practice that impresses many people because being on time means you’re late. In UNLV DECA, you will definitely learn business skills that are essential to being a standout for any industry.

The workforce is becoming very competitive, especially in the Hospitality and Business industry. So how can Collegiate DECA make you become a standout?

Collegiate DECA’s core focus is: Competence, Integrity, Innovation, and Teamwork. Students who are involved in Collegiate DECA member will build essential skills from three areas:

  1. Lead
  2. Serve
  3. Advocate

Lead

The best way to learn how to be a leader is to simply just do it. One way to gain leadership experience at UNLV DECA is to join a committee. Every year, UNLV DECA officers are responsible for creating an action plan for different projects that will be executed by committees. What’s shocking to many people about UNLV DECA’s committees is that we start from the ground up. With a budget of $0, members in the committees learn how we can run a project that costs over $3,000. Members who are involved with committees will learn how to:

  • Find different resources and reach out to the community to fund the project
  • Collaborate with a diverse student group
  • Be accountable  
  • Be able to adapt and figure out solutions to unexpected challenges

Members who are involved with committees will have an easier time learning how to collaborate and work in teams.

Serve

Serving is a major part of the learning experience that UNLV DECA provides. In order to lead, you must first learn to serve. 

Advocate

On the national level, DECA is over 70 years old. It is the responsibility of its members to ensure that its legacy carries on for years more. Whenever you wear the DECA pin or wear the DECA shirt, you ARE DECA. Members are given opportunities to attend various community events and networking. At these events member learn how to:

  • Network with business professionals
  • Present their image
  • Build business relationships

Being active in Collegiate DECA leads to building these essential, 21st century business skills that can be applied to any industry. Having these skills also makes you a standout. If you want to know what is the end product of being a Collegiate DECA member, take a look at some of our distinguished UNLV DECA members.

Dyan Baguio – Went through the selective MGM International Internship Program and was offered a position at MGM International.

Nicholas Huynh – Accepted four job offers with different businesses without showing a resume.

Daniel Dinev – Became the first Nevada Collegiate DECA ICDC champion.

These are just some of the members who received unique experiences and opportunities through UNLV DECA. Now it’s your time to see what kind of journey you will have in the world of Collegiate DECA!

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Why Serve?

By: Randolph Huynh

In Collegiate DECA, serving in the community is more than giving your time. It is also showcasing who you are and what you can do. Many people do not realize this, but the best job offers comes from being involved in the community. Business professionals are constantly watching who they want to hire, and the best way to be out in the view isn’t just at networking events or job fairs but getting involved in community events.

Many of our community partners are related to the business industry and are also well connected in a diverse network that ranges from the medical field to the engineering field. What some students don’t realize is that you must

“Give before you can receive”

The community is always looking for young students who can help grow the community. The majority of UNLV DECA’s community projects are event-based, and at these events, members are challenged with knowing how to:

  • Problem solve
  • Give their 110% effort
  • Stay Focused
  • Make things happen

Many members who serve the community through Collegiate DECA have received internship and job offers. Just spending three to four hours serving and doing the best you can to make an event successful is worth the opportunity to build your professional network.