On Nov. 3, while most students will be at school, DECA members freshmen Anirudh Kunaparaju, Karan Gugle, and Carmelia Muljadi will be on a plane to Chicago.
As finalists in the DeVry Innovation and Entrepreneurship Challenge, the three are flying to Chicago for the final phase of the competition. Their original task was to create a ten-minute video of a business plan for a hypothetical company. The business that the group came up with is a travel website named LocomoXion Travel that generates maps, reviews, financial estimates, and other important travel information. They decided to make their business in the travel industry to reduce their competition.
“The site helps people create pre-trip, trip, and post-trip plans,” Gugle said.
After being chosen as one of the top three groups, Kunaparaju, Gugle, and Muljadi‘s team received invitations to compete in Chicago, where they will give a 30-minute presentation on their business plan. They were further rewarded with free airfare and hotel fees for the competition.
“We all had high expectations, but we didn’t think we would get this far,” Muljadi said.
DECA advisor Carl Schmidt has high hopes for the group, though he acknowledges that as freshmen they will probably have less experience than their competitors. The three began working on the challenge in late August, in their first couple weeks at MVHS, after attending DECA’s Business Boot Camp.
“They have extraordinary talent, and coming from [MVHS] will be a distinct advantage,” Schmidt said.
According to Schmidt, it is extremely rare to see freshmen be so successful early on in the year.
“A team is only strong when the group has different talents, and the sum of their talents is strong,” Schmidt said.
Though the three have spent weeks preparing, they are anxious for the upcoming competition in Chicago. The final winning group will receive another trip to Chicago, where they will meet with executives from DeVry University, and a free trip to DECA’s International Career Development Conference in Salt Lake City, Utah.