Alex Chan David Lim
Stacking the DECA
Shoreline Community College has a long and successful history at state, national and international DECA competitions.
This year, the largest group in more than 20 years - 19 students - competed at the College DECA International Conference with 15 earning honors, including:
David Lim and Alex Chan, 1st Place, International Marketing
Yasuhiro Sumino and Crystal Ng, National Finalists, International Marketing
Chris Brunstad and Christina Lazarakis, National Finalists, Sports Marketing
Students earning Awards of Excellence are:
Alyson Hensell and Breanne Lucero, Advertising Campaign
Gordon Chu, Kathy Li and Janice Lo, Advertising Campaign
Tri Cendani and Fitri Ardani, Business Ethics
Katherine Martin, Hospitality Marketing
Dan Swanson, Marketing Management
Serving as SCC DECA advisers are David Starr, Laura Portolese-Dias, Stephen McCloskey and Mona Starr.
College DECA, also know as Delta Epsilon Chi, has more than 13,000 members, serving its diverse international membership as a professional association, providing leadership and career opportunities to develop and enhance the leaders of tomorrow.
Delta Epsilon Chi’s renowned Competitive Events program uses interviews, role plays, simulations and project reports to evaluate students’ marketing and management skills. The competition includes 25 different events, judged by business professionals.
Looking for a good international marketing idea? David Lim and Alex Chan have one, in fact, it’s a national award-winning idea.
Lim and Chan were among 19 Shoreline Community College students competing April 22-25, at the 2009 College DECA International Conference, in Anaheim, Calif. Fifteen of the SCC students earned conference recognition and honors with Lim and Chan leading the way, winning first place in the International Marketing category.
Lim said he likes the competition.
“It makes you think,” the 17-year-old from Kuala Lumpur said after returning from the event. “How do you go about solving this problem?”
The problem facing Lim and Chan in the final round involved how to market an educational product in Asia. The teams got to study the details of a case study for an hour and come up with a solution. “No Web,” Lim said. “Just figure it out.”
Their solution involved T-shirts.
The idea was to have the company sponsor what would basically be a series of small entrepreneurships, offering cash to students to design, produce and sell limited runs of 50 shirts advertising the product. Lim said the plan also uses cultural differences to help make a splash.
“Here, everyone wears T-shirts with something about their school, the UW, (a fraternity),” Lim said. “In Asia, students don’t do that.”
SCC business faculty member and DECA adviser David Starr said the program teaches the students to use any advantage that comes their way.
“In this case, David and Alex used their personal knowledge and the judges saw that,” Starr said. “We also teach them a process that can be used in any situation. One year, a team had a case study about truck bed-liners. They placed third, came back and asked, ‘What’s a bed-liner?’”
The competition draws thousands of people and teams from schools across the country, including major universities. Lim said that he heard participants say the nature of the event makes preparation impossible, that it is just a test what the person or team has learned. It’s an approach with which he disagrees.
“We prepared, even how to shake hands,” Lim said. “You prepare as much as you can and you get to another level.”
Starr said he certainly saw that attitude in Lim and Chan. “They had a standing appointment with (faculty member and DECA coach) Laura Portolese-Dias since January,” Starr said. “Sometimes they’d practice presenting, sometimes other things.”
Chan, 20, and from Hong Kong, said the practice and compatibility with his partner paid off.
“When we walk into the room, we give it 1,000 percent,” Chan said. “Then, when we leave, we tell ourselves we didn’t do well and think about how we can work to be better.”
Chan said he met Lim literally as he stepped off the plane from Hong Kong a year and a half ago. “David was there to meet me,” Chan said. Eventually, Lim moved in with Chan and his host family. “We call ourselves brothers.”
All of that helps during the competition. “We read the case study and don’t even have to talk. We know what to do and just start working on the presentation,” Chan said.
Chan said DECA is an important part of his education. “I don’t want just a good GPA. DECA is not theory, it’s experience that will help you in the real world,” he said.
Lim said the team’s victory says something about him and SCC.
“This is something good to tell, this is what Shoreline Community College can do,” he said. And about himself? “It means that when I want something, I’ll work for it. It isn’t always about talent, it is about work.”
Starr said Lim is being too modest, but it is the attitude that allows him to be.
“I don’t think he gets it that he is the best,” Starr said. “They competed against university students, but he is the competition. He’s going to do very well.”
When it came to the awards ceremony, all 10 finalist teams were on stage as they called up the third-place winners, then second place, Lim said. “We knew we’d either won or at least get a finalist medal,” Lim said. And when their names were called, was there shouting and jumping?
“Of course not, you show people you’ve won before,” he said, smiling. “I’m not some rookie.”