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Congratulations to Claire Burkhardt for finishing 2nd Overall at ICDC!

We had many Nevada DECA members represent us well at ICDC this year. You can find the full list in our former blog post, but special congratulations are in store for Claire Burkhardt from Davidson Academy for her 2nd Overall Finish in Principles of Finance (PFN)! State President, Morgan Heath-Powers, took some time to interview Claire so she can share her experience preparing, and advice she would give to Nevada DECA members about preparing for ICDC. See the interview below. Congratulations Claire!

What made you join DECA? 

I was interested in business and finance, and DECA looked like a cool activity where I could learn more about those things.

What were some of your key study or practice strategies leading up to the State Career Development Conference (SCDC)?

I took a couple of practice tests, but I mainly practiced on my roleplay. Specifically, I focused on my introduction and outline, and then on being able to explain the content of the PIs well.

You came in 5th place at SCDC, but 2nd place overall at the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Was there anything you changed about your preparation between SCDC and ICDC? Did you find ICDC competition to be noticeably more challenging than competition at SCDC?

I definitely changed a lot of things. For one, I actually sat down and studied the exams. I found a bunch of Business Administration Core ICDC exams, then took three or four of them all at once. Once I graded them, I noticed several patterns of question areas that I was consistently missing, so I studied general information in that area instead of just one specific question about one specific thing.

Looking back on the year, what were your biggest strengths or challenges in competition?

I think my biggest strength would be the roleplay. I have pretty good speaking skills, and I like the roleplay presentation style and the fact that it’s a little more flexible than the exam.

My biggest challenge was probably getting into what I call the ‘DECA mindset’ for the exam. I had to think about the questions in a different way from then I would generally consider problems, and I definitely had a hard time understanding and ‘turning on’ that way of thinking.

From what you've learned this past year, what are some of the key elements that you think make up a strong roleplay or presentation? 

I think that there are three important elements: being clear, concise, and confident. It doesn’t matter if you know everything that the PIs on the roleplays cover; you still have to be able to clearly explain them in order to have an effective roleplay. Additionally, nobody’s going to want to listen to a long and convoluted explanation on something. In my opinion, roleplays are best when they’re short and to the point. But, of course, don’t completely forgo depth for conciseness. Finally, you have to be confident. If you appear confident in what you’re saying, your judge is probably going to believe that you know what you’re talking about. It goes the other way too. If you know what you’re talking about but don’t present it confidently, there’s a good chance that the judge is going to doubt you and your information.

How do you recommend someone prepare for the exam?

The best thing that you can do to prep for an exam is to just take exams. If you take enough exams, eventually you start to get a feel for the way the DECA exams work and that ‘DECA mindset,’ as well as an idea about what’s generally on the exams. The exams also recycle questions, so if you’re familiar with past exams, there’s a good chance you’ll see familiar questions on the exams you take for competition.

Quizlet is also an amazing resource for studying for the exam. I mentioned earlier that I took a bunch of exams and then looked for consistently weak areas within them. Well, once I identified an instructional area from the exam, I just searched that area, combined with the word ‘DECA,’ on Quizlet (ie. I needed to review Channel Management, so I searched Channel Management DECA). There are thousands of premade DECA study sets on Quizlet, and I just copied and pasted the specific sections into a master study set that I studied from. I also took all the questions I missed on the exam, generalized them a bit so they weren’t multiple choice, and studied those in a personalized Quizlet set.

In approach of the coming school year, you've been elected as a new chapter officer for Davidson Academy DECA. What motivated you to run and what are you looking to accomplish in the coming year?

I think that there were two main reasons why I became an officer for this upcoming year. First, I wanted to help other people learn and prepare for competition. Becoming a chapter officer seemed to be the best way to do that. Second, I’ve found that teaching is one of the best ways for myself to learn both real-world skills and also academic knowledge, so I’m looking forward to giving back to my DECA chapter while also learning and growing myself.

What has been your biggest takeaway from this past year in DECA - competition related or not?

My biggest takeaway would probably be that hard work pays off. Even though I did a lot of studying before ICDC, I had zero expectations of getting second place—I just wanted to do my best. However, because I did so much studying, I podiumed, and my hard work paid off in a much bigger way than I expected.