Twenty-four students from Stonehill College’s DECA chapter recently traveled to Austin, Texas, where they participated in the International Career Development Conference (ICDC). Facing off against nearly 1,500 collegiate DECA members from more than 200 schools in competitive case study events designed to prepare them to become leaders and entrepreneurs, several Skyhawks walked away from the competition with honors.  

Two teams were awarded "DECA Glass," the prize given to the top three competitors in each event. This marks the first time in Stonehill history that two teams earned this award in the same year. DECA President Michael Keiran Leary ’25 and Social Media Chair Meredith Morse ’26 placed third internationally in the Marketing Communication team event, as did Benjamin Bass ’25 and Hayden Kane ’25 in the Business Ethics team event. 

Additionally, Chapter Treasurer Matthew Badeau ’25 and Fundraising Chair Leah Michalowski ’25 placed in the Top 10 internationally in the Business Ethics category, while Chapter Vice President Rafael Mejia ’24 received a 90th percentile score in DECA’s Finance Competitive Exam.

“This year we had the largest chapter that Stonehill DECA has ever had at 26 members. Never has a Massachusetts chapter this large fully qualified for the ICDC. I am truly thrilled by all that this group has accomplished. Their achievements are a testament to the power of Stonehill’s Meehan School of Business education, as well as their passion for and commitment to the impactful experiences that DECA offers. They work so hard all year to prepare for this event, and their success is well deserved,” said Associate Professor of Management Information Systems Michael Salé, Stonehill DECA faculty advisor. 

Left to right: Rafael Mejia ’24, Hayden Kane ’25, Benjamin Bass ’25, Michael Keiran Leary ’25, Meredith Morse ’26, Matthew Badeau ’25 and Leah Michalowski ’25.

DECA Reflections

Upon returning to campus with "DECA Glass," members of Stonehill’s team reflected upon their experiences with the campus organization.

Leary, a marketing major with a data analytics minor from Auburndale, Massachusetts, has participated in DECA since high school. He believes being part of the organization has helped him grow as a professional.

“DECA allows us to take what we learn in the classroom and translate it into real world scenarios,” he said. “That sort of experiential learning opportunity, which has allowed me to practice my presentation and pitching skills, came in handy for me when I completed an internship with TJX Companies last summer.”

For Morse, a marketing major with minors in data analytics and Chinese, DECA has helped her find faith in her own ability to accomplish greatness.

“I’ve always wanted to work for a Fortune 500 company, and DECA has given me the confidence to pursue that,” she said. “Being able to step into a corporate office and make a difference in people’s lives isn’t just a dream—it’s something I know for a fact that I can do.”

Since joining DECA, Badeau, a finance major minors in data analytics and economics from Woonsocket, Rhode Island, has come to appreciate the bonds he has formed with his peers.

“The support that our entire chapter gives to each other is unmatched,” he said. “You really grow close and form bonds. It’s an amazing thing to be part of.”

Michalowski, a finance major with an entrepreneurship minor from Holden, Massachusetts, remarked that Stonehill students involved in DECA are truly committed to helping each other grow and push themselves.

“We spend a long time preparing for the International Career Development Conference,” she said. “Every week, we work together on case studies focused on different topics so that we are prepared to compete. Practices are long and tough, but all our members are dedicated to becoming better speakers and presenters.”

Bass, a finance major with a double minor in entrepreneurship and public administration/public policy from Foxboro, Massachusetts, said his participation in DECA has instilled in him many useful skills, including those related to time management, organization, and networking.

“These are skills I will carry with me through my entire career,” he said.

Kane, a double major in environmental science and management information systems from Wilmington, Massachusetts, recommends that all students from the Meehan School of Business consider joining DECA. 

“When people ask me what DECA is, I always tell them it’s like Dungeons & Dragons for business,” he said. “You’re taking on a role, you’re solving problems, and there are elements you can’t control when you’re presenting in front of judges. It’s a lot of fun. You can benefit a lot from the experience of ‘playing the game of DECA,’ so to speak.”