UNT DECA competitors earn spot in international business contest

Thursday, March 2, 2017 - 00:25
Several members of the UNT DECA team have qualified for the 2017 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference.
Several members of the UNT DECA team have qualified for the 2017 Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference.

DENTON (UNT), Texas — Nearly two dozen University of North Texas students have advanced to a major competition for budding entrepreneurs.

All 23 UNT students who competed in the Texas Career Development Conference qualified for the Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference. The event will be held April 19 – 22 in Anaheim, California.

The Texas conference was hosted by the Texas Association of Collegiate DECA, which helps students who are interested in marketing, finance, hospitality and management become leaders in their fields. Students qualified for the International Career Development Conference by placing in the top nine or higher. 

“This is a tremendous honor and definitely shows the strength of UNT to the Texas collegiate community,” said Elliot Dubin, advisor and coach to the UNT chapter of Collegiate DECA. Nearly half of the chapter’s 50 members participated.

Students competed as individuals or as teams in 24 categories that tested their skills as future advertisers, finance specialists, event planners or other professionals.

“I am very proud of not only myself, but my entire chapter for all of the hard work that was put into our state competition pieces,” said senior Anna “Nicole” Willis, the contest’s advertising campaign winner. She is also president of UNT DECA and vice president for Texas DECA. “Competing in DECA has allowed me to take what I have learned across several different classes and put together a full advertising campaign.”

Nineteen of the competitors are students in the UNT Texas Academy of Mathematics and Science, three are in the Frank W. and Sue Mayborn School of Journalism and one is in College of Business.

Students who qualified in the top three are:

  • Anna “Nicole” Willis, an advertising senior from Hughes Springs, Texas – first place: Advertising Campaign
  • Matthew Li, a TAMS student from Katy, Texas – second place: Corporate Finance
  • Maya Duffy of Austin, Texas, and Puja Shah of Sugar Land, Texas, both TAMS students – second place: Event Planning
  • Martin Pham, a risk management sophomore from Arlington, Texas – second place: Human Resource Management
  • Ashwin Kumar, a TAMS student from Irving, Texas – second place: Retail Management
  • Katherine Xiong, a TAMS student from Plano, Texas – second place: Travel and Tourism
  • Raghuram Reddy, a TAMS student from Coppell, Texas – second place: Professional Sales
  • Neha Kumar, a TAMS student from Frisco, Texas – third place: Banking Financial Services
  • Amil Naik from Lewisville, Texas, and Shivam Semwal from Carrolton, Texas, both TAMS students – third place: Entrepreneurship Starting a Business

The remaining students who qualified are:

  • Mackenzie Carder from Lubbock, Texas, and Connor Grey from Amarillo, Texas, both advertising seniors – Advertising Campaign
  • Sneha Gajarla from Plano, Texas, and Mei-Yi “Monica” Su from Coppell, Texas, both TAMS students – Advertising Campaign
  • Zain Khoja from Carrolton, Texas, and Michelle Wen, from Plano, Texas, both TAMS students –  Business Ethics
  • Riti Srivastava from Round Rock, Texas, and Megha Philip from Carrolton, Texas, both TAMS students – Business Ethics
  • Ashima Soni from Plano, Texas, and Shalin Shah from Frisco, Texas, both TAMS students – Business to Business Marketing
  • Akshar Chodavadia, a TAMS student from Murphy, Texas – Entrepreneurship Starting a Business
  • Shreyas Amargol, a TAMS student from Austin, Texas – Human Resource Management 


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