Third consecutive Dragon named MN DECA state president

Sophia Smith is a junior majoring in finance and the 2024-2025 Minnesota Collegiate DECA president. Being involved in DECA since high school, Sophia said it was a given that she would continue participating in it through college. This is the third consecutive year the MN DECA president is a Dragon.

Sophia notes the positivity and family feel of the group, and the support from her advisor Ralf Mehnert-Meland. MSUM alum who were former MN DECA presidents, reached out to Sophia to share their congratulations.

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After spending seven months in Florida for an internship, Sophia decided at the last minute to run for presidency. She campaigned against three other candidates for the position, which delegates voted on.

Although Sophia is a finance major, she does not compete within her major. Instead, Sophia does retail and travel to focus on areas she would like to improve in. DECA focuses on providing real life scenarios for students to think critically; retail and travel specifically focus on marketing and management skills.

“I know numbers, but I want to improve in customer relations and competing outside of my major allows me to do that,” Sophia says.

Communication is the most important skill Sophia has learned in DECA that she can apply to her personal and professional life. DECA has helped her improve in talking in front of large audiences. Now, she’s giving speeches to crowds of more than 100 people.

“I surprised myself by presenting in front of 100 people; it wouldn’t have been possible without DECA,” Sophia says.

As president, Sophia will attend state officer and board of director meetings, host conferences, and open and close ceremonies. On top of her presidential responsibilities, Sophia is also the treasurer of the finance management association at MSUM and a resident assistant (RA).

In the future, Sophia aspires to enter wealth management, or something related, and own her own company. She will spend the summer gaining finance knowledge as an intern.

Sophia believes DECA should be a requirement because of the skills and experiences you develop. DECA is open to anyone and is a great way to build a resume and network for future opportunities. The biggest takeaway for her is the people she has met throughout her time in high school and collegiate DECA.

“Everyone needs networking and resume experience. DECA gives you a head start,” Sophia says.

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