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Maanav Dalal (Engineering 1)

Meeting DECA alumni has helped me settle into university better and continue my extracurricular involvement, as McMaster also has a DECA team. I have been fortunate to make friends in every corner of the world and in terms of university that means wherever I am, I'll have friends beside me.

Your DECA experience: "By involving myself in my school's DECA community, I was able to learn transferrable business skills (how to present yourself, general business knowledge, test taking skills, research). Over time, building up these skills allowed me to attend the International Career Development Conference a record 3 times and play a key role as the VP of my chapter's executive as well as teach my chapter what I learned. From exploring the world, to making friends who'll last a lifetime, DECA for me has been an experience of growth in every aspect of myself."

Why McMaster?: "Over grade 12, I learned how vital mental health is to your success, and took steps (such as learning mindfulness and better prioritizing of tasks) to ensure that mine would be in a prime state for one of the most important years of my life. Deciding universities was challenging, but after visiting McMaster, my understanding of the importance of mental health made the choice easy. I quickly realized that the supportive community of people and the amount of support systems present at the school would make my university transition seamless.

Additionally, it was an honor getting scholarships based on my achievement, as I was well aware that McMaster valued my academic and extracurricular achievements, further confirming their high desire for student success. After being here for a month,  it's evident I'll have the support I need to make these the best years of my life!

How did DECA help prepare you for your university program?: An integral part of many DECA events is the case study, where as a competitor you're thrown into a scenario and have 10 minutes to understand the problem and devise a viable solution for the participants / businesses. Over time, competing helped calm my nerves in high-pressure situations. This skill has transferred to help me perform better on tests, and with universities that required interviews as a part of their application, I was prepared to provide my best ideas!

Another part of DECA that helped prepare me for university was the content it covered. By enhancing my business knowledge passively while studying for DECA, I did better in my business and economics courses that had an overlap in content. As a bonus, this worked in the other direction where my courses in school supported my DECA performance, revealing real-life applications to what I was learning in class.

Finally, DECA helped me network. Meeting DECA alumni has helped me settle into university better and continue my extracurricular involvement, as McMaster also has a DECA team. I have been fortunate to make friends in every corner of the world and in terms of university that means wherever I am, I'll have friends beside me. DECA also helped me realize that later in life, I want to pursue business as a part of my career after I gain a foundation as an engineer, opening me up to many career opportunities.