More Than 41,000 US and Canadian High School Students Compete in Largest Virtual Business Simulation Challenge

by Jeff Rutherford

ANAHEIM, Calif., May 5, 2017 /PRNewswire/ – Last week, in the loud, cacophonous Anaheim Convention Center, at the DECA ICDC (International Career Development Conference) high school students from the U.S. and Canada hunched over their laptops furiously competing in a virtual business simulation competition. It was the culmination of a competition that began earlier in the school year in October. The 96 teams competing in Anaheim had survived two rounds of intense online competition and were the top 96 teams from the 41,357 high school students that competed online.

The students weren’t fighting fantasy monsters or battling spaceships on their computers, they were testing real-world business strategies modeled in Virtual Business - the leading, online high school business simulation software designed and marketed by Knowledge Matters, a company headquartered in Hadley, MA. The teams competed against one another in a double-elimination tournament utilizing six different Virtual Business simulations - Hotel, Retail, Accounting, Personal Finance, Sports, and Restaurant. The teams had trained prior to the competition - practicing multiple strategies with the Virtual Business simulations - all with the ultimate goal to create the most successful business. In the Personal Finance simulation, the goal is to have the highest personal net worth - making choices within the simulation of how to prudently spend money and save your earnings.

DECA Virtual Business Challenge competitors intently focused on the Virtual Business Accounting challenge

Last week’s competition was the 18th year of the DECA Virtual Business challenge - a competition organized in partnership between DECA and Knowledge Matters. Since 1946, DECA has prepared high school and college students for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. The organization has 230,000+ student members that compete in a variety of competitive events, including the Virtual Business Challenge.

“In an era when some news headlines about high school students and education can question the quality of the high school educational experience, the Virtual Business Challenge is a prime example of the quality, expertise and dedication of today’s high school students,” said Peter Jordan, president and CEO of Knowledge Matters. “It’s not an exaggeration to say that the excitement last week in Anaheim was electric. The high school students competing in the Virtual Business Challenge had studied and prepared hard. Some students didn’t end up as winners, and they were excited, and a little disappointed, but they were intent as they competed to the last second of each 15-minute competition round to build the most successful virtual business vs. their competition.”

More than 41,000 high school students competed in the DECA Virtual Business Challenge - working hard to build the most successful virtual business

“Each year, we can’t wait to see the Virtual Business Challenge unfold at DECA ICDC. It’s loud and fun to watch as the competitors are cheered on by advisors and classmates as they scramble to quickly earn the most profits with their virtual businesses,” said Paul Wardinski, DECA’s Executive Director. “Knowledge Matters has been a great partner in designing and running the DECA Virtual Business Challenge each year, and it has become a staple in our competitive events.”

The top winners of the DECA Virtual Business Challenge at DECA ICDC this year included:

Virtual Business - Accounting

  1. The Woodlands School, ON
    Tom Yang
  2. Meadowbrook HS, OH
    Miranda Marsinek
  3. West Salem School, WI
    Kaylee Mulholland

Virtual Business - Sports

  1. West Bloomfield HS, MI
    Matthew Ladouceur, Nick Seidel, Brian Bembas
  2. Sherando HS, VA
    Anthony Damico, Seth Breneman
  3. The Shipley School, PA
    Zach Bradlow, Radhik Patel

Virtual Business - Restaurant

  1. Southwest Miami HS, FL
    Joel Diaz, Johnny Diaz, Emily Coll
  2. Richmond Hill HS, ON
    Ellen Tong, Brandon Wong, Shayna Pan
  3. Southwest Miami HS, FL
    Ivan Bartolome, Lisvan Bartolome

Virtual Business - Hotel

  1. Richmond Hills HS, ON
    Andy Jin, Matthew Cheung, Brandon Chang
  2. Lake Travis HS, TX
    Kejun “Jason” Liu, Jerzy Chen
  3. West Bloomfield HS, MI
    Rei Mizuno, Vietress Feller, Maria Kakos

Virtual Business - Retail

  1. Granada Hills Charter HS, CA
    Kerthinivash Korisal
  2. Innisdale SS, ON
    Samantha Ung, YinFeng Liu
  3. Highland Park HS, IL
    Sam Kalter

Virtual Business - Personal Finance

  1. Richmond Hills HS, ON
    Robbie Zhuang, Max Gao, Andi lif
  2. Apollo HS, AZ
    Aaron Watchman
  3. Mission San Jose HS, CA
    Rishi Chillara, Shayan Panjwani, William Zeng

About Knowledge Matters
Knowledge Matters is the leading provider of cloud-based, educational simulations for business (food service, hospitality, retailing, sports management and manufacturing) and personal finance. The company’s Virtual Business line of simulations have been used in over one-third of all the high schools in the United States. The company’s ProSim line of advanced simulations are used by leading universities globally.

About DECA
DECA prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. DECA’s Comprehensive Learning Program integrates into classroom instruction, applies learning, connects to business and promotes competition. DECA prepares the next generation to be academically prepared, community oriented, professionally responsible, experienced leaders. DECA Inc. is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit student organization. The United States Congress, the United States Department of Education and state and national departments of education authorize DECA’s programs.

Media Contact:
Jeff Rutherford rutherford@knowledgematters.com 413-203-4431