UT Dallas DECA Students Make the Grade at International Competition


UT Dallas JSOM DECA Warner Theatre

UT Dallas DECA competitors gathered for a group photo outside the 2016 international conference venue in Washington, D.C,

UT Dallas students took multiple top spots in competitive events at the DECA international conference earlier this spring, and the campus career-readiness club, based in the Naveen Jindal School of Management, earned the highest level of recognition for a chapter.

UTD DECA brought home the Executive Level Chapter Passport Award from the April 16-19 event — formally the 55th annual Collegiate DECA International Career Development Conference. Among chapter competitors, one student earned a first-place award; two teams took second place, and another student took third place in the competition held in in Washington, D.C.

“We just started this DECA chapter in 2014,”says faculty advisor Amy Troutman, a JSOM accounting professor. “Since fall 2014, this chapter has grown from 40 charter members to 137 members.”

Top UT Dallas competitors earned these honors:

First Place

Anuka Dhakal

Anuka Dhakal

Event: Corporate Finance
Major and Class: Finance Junior

Second Place

Chandrashu Rao and Harshith Dasara

Chandrashu Rao and Harshith Dasara

Event: Corporate Finance
Major and Class: Computer Science Sophomore / Healthcare Management and Biology Freshman

Second Place

Sesha Dasari and Ekin Bukulmez

Sesha Dasari and Ekin Bukulmez

Event: Business Ethics
Major and Class: Finance Sophomore / Global Business and International Political Economy Sophomore

Third Place

Kelsi Edwards

Kelsi Edwards

Event: Corporate Finance
Major and Class: Marketing Freshman

Students Who Placed in the Top 10 by Category
Event Competitor/s – Major and Class
Human Resource Management Rebecca Raymond – Business Administration and Accounting Senior
Entrepreneurship: Starting a Business Bilal Ayub – Marketing Junior
Jonathan Molinar – Finance Junior
Aman Vakharia – Finance Junior
Entrepreneurship: Growing a Business Jasmine Chemplanikal – Supply Chain Management Junior
Joanna Cherian – Marketing Sophomore
Shawn Steaphen – Information Technology and Systems Sophomore
Financial Statement Analysis Soham Daptardar – Global Business Junior
Benjamin Henderson – Economics Junior
International Marketing Sara Irfan – Information Technology and Systems Junior
Sravya Boppuri – Accounting Junior
Business Research Nousheen Karimi – Global Business Junior
Mounika Mutyala – Supply Chain Management Sophomore
Yee Luc – Supply Chain Management Sophomore
Advertising Campaign Thuy-Mi Le – Marketing Junior
Frank Moreno – Computer Engineering Junior
George Peng – Healthcare Management Junior
Financial Statement Analysis Diana Pinzon – Accounting Junior
Austin Lee – Accounting Senior

UTD DECA victories extended to Individual Passport Awards, which 36 students earned for personal excellence.

“These students were prepared and motivated,” Troutman says. “They showed up ready to compete head-to-head with the best college students out there. I was impressed with the competitors from other universities, but I was more impressed with our students from UT Dallas.”

DECA has 15,000 college student members nationwide and focuses competitions on what are called 21st Century Employability Skills in four broad areas — marketing and communications, hospitality and tourism, business management and administration, and finance and accounting. In total, students may compete in 27 categories. About 1,300 students took part in the international conference.

Diana Pinzon and Rebecca Raymond Top Ten
Top 10 winners Diana Pinzon and Rebecca Raymond

This past year, JSOM junior Rebecca Raymond served as statewide president for Texas Collegiate DECA. Last year, she led the UT Dallas chapter to its inaugural international competition, where one team took second place, another placed fourth, and 10 students placed in the top 10 of their categories. This year, UT Dallas competitors took four top-three spots and another 19 placed in top 10 positions.

Jindal School Dean Hasan Pirkul’s “financial support made it possible to take many more competitors to the international conference this year than last,” Troutman says. “We are particularly grateful to him for that.”

The 91 students who went to the international competition moved up from the DECA state competitions, held earlier in 2016. In that event, 250 students from eight Texas universities, including The University of Texas at Austin, University of North Texas and University of Houston, took part in competitions at the Jindal School.

Overall, 58 of the 91 students placed in their event. “I could not be more proud of the amazing job that our students did,” Troutman says.

“Students who do well in DECA are those who can think through complex problems quickly and distill them into manageable chunks of issues to be resolved,” she says.