News 2023: Collegiate DECA shines in Orlando competition

News 2023: Collegiate DECA shines in Orlando competition
Collegiate DECA shines in Orlando competition

Four of six UMass Dartmouth teams finish in top 15 of their respective categories

The UMassD DECA team pictured in Orlando

Ten members of the UMass Dartmouth Collegiate DECA club recently traveled to Orlando, FL for the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC), where they split into six teams to compete in case study and business research competitions. Competing among more than 250 universities from around the globe, four of UMassD’s six teams finished in the top 15 in their respective categories, with three of those teams finishing in the top 10. 

Competitions ranged from marketing communications to financial statement analysis. UMassD Collegiate DECA also had a team present business research to aid LaSalle Bakery, a local bakery in Providence, RI. 

"My favorite part of the trip was creating a stronger bond with students from the other Massachusetts DECA chapters," said Samuel Dunn '24, president of UMassD Collegiate DECA. "It was a great experience to compete alongside other students from Massachusetts and build a great sense of community at the same time. It's always awesome to represent your school outside of the campus grounds. I think the most rewarding thing that we experienced while on this trip was gaining valuable experience in networking!" 

DECA, formerly Distributive Education Clubs of America, is a 501 not-for-profit career and technical student organization with more than 177,000 members in all 50 U.S. states, Washington, DC, Canada, China, Germany, Poland, Guam, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and Spain. UMassD has sponsored a Collegiate DECA chapter for the last 12 years, sending teams to conferences in Baltimore, MD and Orlando, FL in the past two years. 

"We were really pleased with our team's performance this year, as this was the largest group of students to attend the trip in recent years due to COVID-19," said Joshua Keith '23, '24, treasurer of UMassD Collegiate DECA. "Our team members were really dedicated throughout the planning process and were excited to utilize classroom learning in a real-world setting. Some of our members are already preparing for next year’s competition in Austin, Texas." 

"UMassD DECA would like to formally thank the Student Government Association for approving part of our SFP proposal, and the Charlton College of Business Dean's Office – Dean John Williams, Associate Dean Chan Du, and Senior Administrative Assistant Daryl Nobles – for their support by aiding with the funding process," added Keith. 

Trip to Orlando 

What did you have to do to qualify for the trip to Orlando? 

"In February 2023, many of Collegiate DECA's students were able to attend the Stonehill College Qualifying Event, which simulated an ICDC event. The event consisted of case studies that students would have to compete in and place in the top three positions to qualify for the Orlando ICDC event. Collegiate DECA members met with Charlton College of Business professors and faculty, who served as coaches, to sharpen their skills in their respective competition," said Keith. 

Where did you fly out of? Where did you stay in Orlando? 

"Providence, RI on a non-stop flight to Orlando, FL. We stayed at the Hilton Orlando Lake Buena Vista in Disney Springs, FL.," said Keith. 

What was the itinerary like? 

"Professional development workshops, a motivational speaker, and the event itself. When we were not in an event, we networked with business students from other universities, explored Disney Springs, and got some beautiful Florida sun at the hotel's pool and hot tub!  

"Meeting people from all around the country was an amazing experience. Seeing other college students from different chapters and learning about their perspectives on their futures was really eye-opening. This was definitely an experience I recommend to every student," said Dylan Cantara, '24, vice president of UMassD Collegiate DECA. 

Join Collegiate DECA 

The Collegiate DECA club and its leadership positions are open to both undergraduate and graduate students of all majors and programs. Students interested in joining UMassD's Collegiate DECA club can reach out to President Samuel Dunn at, and Treasurer Joshua Keith at for the next academic year.  

The Collegiate DECA club's executive board credit their co-faculty advisors, Jacqueline Einstein, assistant teaching professor of management, and Kellyann Kowalski, associate professor of management, as great role models and resources for Collegiate DECA and others in the Charlton College of Business. 

"Professor Einstein and Professor Kowalski have been an instrumental part of our experience in Collegiate DECA and at UMass Dartmouth," the group says. "We look up to them as role models both professionally and as individuals. They bring a level of expertise and charisma to our club meetings that many of our students look up to." 

Collegiate DECA's 2022-2023 executive board consisted of President Samuel Dunn (Finance), Vice President Dylan Cantara (Finance), Treasurer Joshua Keith (Accounting + MBA), and Secretary Aparna BalasubramaniaSharma (MBA – Business Analytics).