It’s doubtful anyone would argue that networking and real-world experience go a long way in hatching a student’s career. School isn’t just about hitting the books! There are so many ways for kids to get involved on campus and develop the skills, passions and relationships that will help them in the future.
There’s definitely one group who won’t argue with that: our Student Group Of The Week, DECA Queen’s! With the goal of helping each member in their professional development, they offer hands-on case solving, networking opportunities and workshops to develop essential skills that can transfer to pretty much any career. And they don’t discriminate – membership is open to every Queen’s undergrad.
Their flagship event, the Queen’s Invitational, is the group’s central focus. It’s a three-day conference comprised of case competitions, speeches, networking and social events. This year’s Invitational takes place this week, from November 16-18, where delegates will compete in two competitions (a Charity Case Challenge and DECA Case Competition). And because it’s attracting over 150 of the best and brightest from over 12 schools across Canada, it’s on employers’ radars too. Just ask Toronto consulting firm LEVEL5, which is choosing five delegates this year for an interview.
We caught up with Elliot Seetner and Jerry Ouyang, DECA Queen’s Co-Chair and Speaker’s Co-ordinator, about why their group is so awesome. They’re both studying Commerce, with Elliot in his third year and Jerry in his second.
Tell us about your involvement with DECA.
Elliot: I joined DECA in high school and decided I wanted to continue my involvement at Queen’s. I succeeded in getting the Speaker’s Co-ordinator role on the executive team in 2011, and was promoted to Co-Chair for 2012. As Co-Chair, I oversee 16 other executive members in managing the DECA Queen’s chapter.
Jerry: I became interested in DECA Queen’s during my first year. I participated in the Queen’s Invitational event, ranked well, and had a great time. This led me to want to take part in the
How should students decide which student group will provide the best experience for them?
Elliot: Research groups on campus to determine the unique opportunities available. School websites, group websites and past group members are all great resources. After doing this, attend any “taster” events or information sessions offered by those groups.
Jerry: It’s best to attend the committee’s events first to see if you like what the group does and if you want to be a part of their initiatives.
What valuable experiences and skills have you gained working with DECA Queen’s?
Elliot: My experience on the executive team has allowed me to develop my leadership, organizational, and problem-solving skills.
Jerry: Public speaking skills, presentation skills, and the opportunity to network with other students.
What are your career ambitions? How have the skills you’ve gained helped you (or how will they help you) in your future career?
Elliot: My goal is to enter law school and go into a business-related specialization. By leading 16 of my peers, managing a budget of almost $45,000, coordinating hundreds of tasks, developing and advancing towards a big-picture vision, and solving the numerous challenges along the way, I feel ready to take on the world. My experience is sure to help me succeed in LSAT preparation, law school courses, and future project management.
Jerry: As of now I am unsure about what I want to do specifically – but joining DECA Queen’s and getting involved with their activities has certainly allowed me to further develop my leadership skills.
Why is it important for students to get involved in groups such as yours on campus?
Elliot: For members, DECA Queen’s is the opportunity to develop presentation and analytical skills, and to network with other successful students. For executive members, it’s the chance to further these skills, as well as develop leadership skills, practice taking initiative and participate in the execution of incredibly intricate projects.
Jerry: Being involved is important for personal development and getting your name out. It allows you to develop a broader perspective on things in your program.
What advice do you have for your fellow students?
Elliot: Get involved!
Jerry: Don’t be afraid to try! Shoot high, because even if you don’t make it, you’ll land somewhere close.
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