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Murray Journal

Utah Students Learn Entrepreneurship in New York City

Jan 28, 2016 10:07AM ● By Bryan Scott

By Saundra Stroope | [email protected]

Murray - DECA is a nonprofit high school and college student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management around the globe. With nearly a 70-year history, DECA has impacted the lives of more than 10 million students, educators, school administrators and business professionals since it was founded in 1946. This December, Murray Chamber president Stephanie Wright and her daughter, along with 28 fellow Utah students and chaperones, had an opportunity to participate in a five-day New York City experience. 

Wright said a lot of the kids had to earn the money to attend the program, and they came away with a better appreciation for the value of money after being shocked at the cost of rent for a small 450-square-foot apartment.  They had nightly conversations about what they learned each day, and among other topics, discussed the impact of starting a career and budgeting for living costs, including wages, rent and subway fares. The experience also gave them a better appreciation of how people do things differently on the East Coast. The New York rush and hustle exposed all participants to a new culture and “by the fifth day, they loved it.”  

“Overall it opened my eyes to communication.  Living in Utah is like a protective bubble,” Wright said. 

They program focused on interactive tours and discussion to teach the students about how to market, advertise, finance and start a business. The agenda included a special behind the scenes tour of Madison Square Garden, one of the world’s most famous sporting arenas that hosts approximately 320 events a year, a tour of the financial district, Madam Tussauds Wax Museum, The Empire State Building, Radio City Music Hall, Macy’s department store on Herald Square, the 9/11 Memorial and the opportunity to interact with New York business owners.

By the end of the experience, DECA exposes participants to real examples of the concepts students learn in marketing, finance, hospitality and fashion merchandising classes.  They expect students will be able to explain different types of financial markets, understand career opportunities in merchandising and hospitality, know global retail trends, realize the impact of customer service, and describe the role of sales and promotion in marketing.   

The impact of the program, according to Sarah Williams, high school division assistant director with DECA, is that participants “see what business actually looks like in New York City. They see the principles teachers tell them about in action on a daily basis.  They interact with one another and get the larger picture.  They realize the world is bigger and experience a different culture and lifestyle.”

DECA also offers leadership conferences throughout the year and competitive events in the late fall and spring.  Students prepare all year for the opportunity to talk about their own business plans and share marketing and promotional ideas for business case studies.   

Most participants become introduced to DECA through chapters formed at a local high school or college.  To make a donation, find a chapter or volunteer visit the website at