Kettering University students performed well at an international DECA competition.

Kettering University DECA receives top awards at International Career Development Conference

At the international conference, students took exams, solved current and practical business case study problems, wrote business and entrepreneurship plans, and role-played with industry judges.

Kettering University students took three top awards at the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference in Orlando April 18-21. Kettering’s team went head-to-head against 1,500 students from the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Three students took second place in the Advertising Campaign team event, and four took honorable mention in Business-to-Business Marketing and Emerging Technologies.

“In my experience, Kettering University students are always a step ahead of students from other schools because of our exceptional co-op work experiences,” said Jacob Sherwood, senior in Mechanical Engineering with a minor in Business, Innovation and Entrepreneurship. “It is the investment of our co-op partners that truly accelerates our learning process and prepares us for our careers in industry. That is what appeals to the judges at this competition. Our project has been created in relation to our real world work experience. This is something that other schools cannot provide to their students and what sets Kettering University students apart.”

According to Allison Putnam,Lauren Putnam and Jacob Sherwood, the three Kettering students who won second place at the international competition, Kettering students who compete at collegiate DECA bring a unique insight and perspective to their campaigns that traditional college students do not have.

“The Collegiate DECA’s International Career Development Conference is jam packed with your typical four-year business colleges and universities,” Sherwood said. “Kettering University stands out as one of the few STEM schools at the competition. Many of our competitors have never been exposed to a real world work environment. They are constrained to the theoretical view of the world. This experience working in industry and the knowledge that can be obtained from it is immeasurable in value. There is no substitute for first-rate real-world experience.”

Shane Thomas, the Director of Competitive Events for Collegiate DECA, agrees that real-world work experience can only help the students who compete at DECA events.

“The biggest benefit of collegiate DECA is that the student competitors get a chance to get in front of industry professionals,” said Shane Thomas, Director of Competitive Events for Collegiate DECA. “At DECA competitions, students give oral presentations to industry professionals, which develop their communication, presentation, critical thinking and problem solving skills. Student competitors are working on solving actual, real-world problems that professionals face on a daily basis.”

At the international conference, students took exams, solved current and practical business case study problems, wrote business and entrepreneurship plans, and role-played with industry judges. Of the 14 Kettering students who competed this year, seven are obtaining degrees in engineering or mathematics. Also, of the seven who took top awards, three are engineers. 

Lauren Putnam,  freshman majoring in Business, said the team was confident in their presentation.

“The international competition was huge,” she said. "There were so many business professionals, and students were everywhere. Our team was very confident; we had done the same project with variations from year to year. It was easy to break up the information so the whole presentation didn’t seem so long and complex. Other students had great projects and ideas from what we heard. I think we had more detail when it came to some aspects of the project, which is what I think helped us have the edge.”

The Kettering students who received honors at the 2015 Collegiate DECA’s International Career Development Conference are listed below.

Second Place - Advertising Campaign:

  • Lauren Putnam (Freshman in Business)
  • Allison Putnam (Senior in Business)
  • Jacob Sherwood (Senior in Mechanical Engineering)

Honorable Mentions – Top 10

Business-to-Business Marketing Management:

  • Troy DeLong (Sophomore in Mechanical Engineering)
  • Harschal Patel (Freshman in Industrial & Manufacturing Engineering)

Emerging Technologies:

  • Madeline Geffert (Freshman in Business)
  • Ross Person (Freshman in Business)

About Collegiate DECA: Collegiate DECA is a totally student oriented organization focused on developing future business leaders. The four cornerstones of DECA are career awareness, civic consciousness, social intelligence, and leadership development with competitive events in: Business, Design, Entrepreneurship, Finance and Accounting, Food Service and Culinary, Hospitality and Travel, Information Technology, Management, and Marketing and Sales. Besides the yearly State and International Career Development Conferences in the spring, Collegiate DECA also sponsors a yearly Leadership Conference in the fall. Collegiate DECA is open to all Kettering students. To find out more about the chapters, contact Professor Cayo (