UofGH DECA Invitational grows in third year

In its third year, the University of Guelph-Humber’s DECA Invitational had its biggest showing yet.

The annual invitational conference run by the DECA-UGH Executive Team brought 65 delegates from five schools including Ryerson University, York University and the University of Waterloo to the University of Guelph-Humber’s Toronto campus for a day of case competitions, networking and speeches.

“Our judges were all very impressed by how the event had progressed and how the competition had grown as a whole,” said DECA-UGH President Parisa Khazra. “We had one judge who has been here all three years. He said: ‘Every year, you guys get bigger and better.’

“This was definitely the biggest and best DECA Invitational in Guelph-Humber’s history.”

To judge case competitions that focused on topics including retail management, sports and entertainment marketing and public relations, the UofGH DECA Invitational brought in 16 judges including professionals with senior positions at the Toronto International Film Festival, Rogers Communications and Wal-Mart.

The day’s keynote speech was delivered by Daniel Lewis, an award-winning entrepreneur who co-founded the funky tea business T By Daniel.

“He’s the coolest person ever,” said Khazra with a laugh. “He’s just an exciting speaker with a great story. He’s been a hit for two years now.”

The theme of this year’s DECA Invitational was “explore your potential,” which Khazra said revolved around a message of “finding what your strengths are, capitalizing on them, learning about yourself.”

Organizing the DECA Invitational has had that effect on UofGH students. A fourth-year Business student, Khazra has plenty of experience participating in case competitions. But she and her team found that it’s hard to understand the scope of organizing such a big event until you actually do it, which made this a valuable learning experience.

“Planning an event is very different from being a competitor at an event,” she said. “It takes a lot of time and dedication.”

Meanwhile, she and her DECA associates are already mulling how the event could be topped in the future.

“Next year it’s going to be about growing the chapter as a whole, doing really insane training, getting everyone ready,” Khazra said. “We’ve done really well the past few years and I think we can do even better.”

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