Collaboration is one of five Broad College core values that opens up knowledge and creates meaningful relationships leading to positive impact. Partnerships, both internally across the university and beyond, with external organizations, are one way the college embraces collaboration.

In the fall semester, Broad launched a new partnership with DECA to better support high school students’ transition into college and positively influence students’ careers in business.

Michigan DECA students speaking at a podium in the Broad College Complex

DECA, a nonprofit student organization, is committed to preparing emerging leaders for careers in business.

DECA, a nonprofit student organization, has more than 160,000 members around the world who are committed to preparing emerging leaders for careers in business. Students, educators, school administrators and business professionals from every state are involved in events, competitions and conferences at either the high school or collegiate level.

“Shaping the career interests of young people who have an a priori interest in specific facets of business is incredibly energizing and exciting,” Cheri Speier-Pero, associate dean of undergraduate programs, said.

This new partnership will be with Michigan DECA, a statewide branch of the organization made up of high school chapters, to deepen student knowledge of college life at Broad and professional opportunities that await Spartans.

Two-day conference brings new connections and insight

To kick off the new relationship, the Broad College hosted a DECA Leadership Conference on Nov. 4–5, with 337 students and advisers in attendance from 35 high schools. Attendees were able to connect with corporate speakers and Michigan State University and Broad College faculty, staff and students, along with fellow DECA members, through a variety of sessions.

“Through this partnership, our members were able to connect with businesspeople to learn real-world business trends and insights that will help to prepare them to be career and college ready,” Dave Wait, Michigan DECA state director, said. “We would not have been able to connect with so many business professionals if it weren’t for the help of the [Broad] College faculty and staff.”

Broad College staff presenting to students in classroom.

Ed Tillett, director of Multicultural Business Programs, led a session at the DECA conference.

The MSU- and Broad-specific breakout sessions focused on admissions; diversity, equity and inclusion; opportunities for education abroad and college preparation. During the opening session, MSU admissions officer Terence Brown announced that every Michigan DECA student attending the event would receive a $500 scholarship if accepted and enrolled at MSU. John Ambrose, MSU’s director of undergraduate admissions, was able to make this commitment on behalf of the university, showing the level of excitement and support the college has for this initiative.

Sessions also covered a range of events and what it’s like being a part of a collegiate-level DECA organization, especially transitioning from high school. Christina Vanderkelen, marketing senior and president of MSU Collegiate DECA, shared her insights as a panelist.

“In college we really focus on letting our members have the freedom to explore as many opportunities as they want by not having our club be a huge time commitment for them,” she said. “We also give lots of advice on how to choose the right college, how to make friends and how important it is to join extracurriculars in college!”

“An added bonus of the partnership was the ability to bring our student members to [MSU] to experience a day on campus and develop a better understanding of the programs in the Broad College,” Wait added.

A partnership to prepare emerging leaders

DECA’s partnerships are based on shared missions, identified goals and clearly defined deliverables. The Broad College’s work with DECA will be one of 15 partnerships between the organization and various colleges and universities.

DECA members often participate in competitions and case studies while taking leadership roles and being a voice in business in order to prepare for their future. When applying to the Broad College, students showcasing their business experiences and engagement within organizations such as DECA can also contribute to the diversity Broad strives to strengthen.

“DECA can help prepare incoming freshmen for their case studies [and] preparing for interviews as it gives you key critical thinking skills, and it’s also a great step into consulting or figuring out what major or path you want to go into,” Vanderkelen said.

The partnership will set future Spartans up for success, preparing them to be young professionals and transformational global leaders, ready to make an impact.