Back in the days of high school, I joined a marketing club called DECA. I credit the club in shaping my passion for business. For DECA, I managed the operations of my high school’s espresso coffee cart covering sales and purchasing of coffee and snack products. For DECA competition in a written business plan category, I placed first in the state competition and top eight in the national competition.
You are probably thinking what exactly do you compete in because this is a marketing club. I’m glad that you asked. For majority of the categories, students do a role play with a judge. They are given a business scenario usually a typical business problem and then they sit in front of a judge to play out the “scenario”. The rest of the categories are written meaning students submit a business plan before the competition, then they answer questions from a judge. Okay, got it?
Last weekend, I volunteered to be a judge at the Northern California district DECA conference. I had a written category, Internet Marketing Business Plan. I spent the morning reviewing four business plans and then the afternoon listening to presentations then asking students questions. I was pleasantly surprised with the quality of business plans and the presentations by the high schoolers. It was funny though because the budgets were unrealistic and the returns on investment were so high, but I got the gist of what they were trying to do.
If you have the opportunity to volunteer / mentor younger folks, you should. When I was a younging, I looked up to my mentors and still remember how they changed my life today.