Monroe High School junior Eric Grewal and senior Jackson Alesna will be off to the DECA International Career and Development Conference in Anaheim next month to compete against the world’s top marketing students.
Grewal and Alesna competed with more than 3,600 marketing/DECA students from 175 Washington state high schools for the 370 coveted spots. The state competition took place at the Meydenbauer Center in Bellevue earlier in March.
“The (state competition) experience was great,” said Grewal, who earned 4th place in the business finance category. “It was exhilarating walking into the opening ceremony and seeing all that enthusiasm.”
His presentation involved a role-play in which he advised a company about choosing a product. “I had to advise them on which product to buy and negotiate a sale,” he said.
He was given a table of financials and had to figure out how to maximize profits. “You need financial literacy and math ability to solve the role-play,” he says. “I’ve always had a talent for math; it’s one of my best subjects.”
This was Grewal’s second year to compete at the state level. He chose accounting last year.
Alesna placed 6th in business services marketing, in which he role-played a manager of a company that provides internet services to local businesses. His main objective was to present a promotion plan.
“I really liked doing it,” he said. “It’s all about the importance of networking, and the classic slogan that the customer is always right. You have to include social media, and have an understanding of what customers want and what is realistic for a business to offer.”
Alesna also competed last year with a written entrepreneurship entry.
Both Grewal and Alesna have been in DECA, the club associated with the marketing program, for three years. Grewal’s older sister advised him to take marketing as a freshman.
“You learn career skills, web programming, as well as business,” he said. He currently serves in his second term as vice president of the Monroe chapter.
Alesna served as a state officer for DECA his sophomore and junior years.
“Through that I gained skills for public speaking,” he said. “A big part of role-playing is being confident in your idea.” This year he has been chapter president at Monroe High.
Both young men tout the benefits of DECA.
“I am really proud to be part of it,” said Alesna. “These kids are the leaders of our future. They are taking time out to learn things a lot of people won’t learn until college or they are in the work force.”
Advisors for Monroe High School DECA are Steve McKenzie and Darby Vigus.