Daniel Zhang is currently a junior from California. He competed in Marketing at the 2018 National Leadership Conference in Baltimore, and he placed first at Marketing with his teammate, Raj Dosani.
DZ: I’m a Junior at Dohry Valley FBLA, I’ve just been promoted to a section office in Bay Section of California and events this year I’m doing is partnership with business for chapter event which is really different from what I’ve traditionally done with tests and role-play, but I think I’ll like it a lot.
DT: Thats cool, so why did you and your partner choose marketing as your competitive event last year.
DZ: So I actually like really passionate towards marketing and I want to go into the career of marketing and management so what would be more perfect than doing that as an FBLA event. Also beforehand that I did a marketing internship at a startup company at kickstarters which gave me the background knowledge about marketing that influenced my decision in choosing my FBLA competitive event.
DT: What about your partner, his name is Raj Dosani?
DZ: He goes to UC Berkeley, he was a Senior last year he also worked in a job for sales so we both have the experience of being exposed to the marketing industry.
DT: So you felt like you had the upper edge in this event due to your background in marketing?
DZ: It helped a lot more with the role play than the objective test because it gave us a lot more background knowledge into the general market industry which was useful during the role play because we were able to show our competency in marketing terminology.
DT: Can you give us some details about how the two parts of the competitive event work and tips that you think made you succeed.
DZ: How it works is the objective test is a 100 question test like any other test and all the information was centered on marketing and the different competencies and you have 60 minutes to do that as a team on one computer. For the role play they give you a prompt and they leave you in a room for 20 minutes and you each get an index card to plan on. You do the pitch which should last 4-7 minutes and then the judges ask you questions. What I found most useful in preparing for the objective test was copying and pasting all the marketing competencies on these different google docs and I basically made my own worksheets to study from. I spent a lot of time doing online research and that helped a lot. A lot of the objective test was really random such as Econ and other business topics, definitely not just marketing. Another thing that helped was taking the different tests, like every single test we possible could find online. A lot of the questions you would find are recycled, like around 40% or 50% of the objective test. Taking the test and studying the answers will definitely be helpful because you will see these questions again.
DT: For the ordinary person competing in this event, how do you think members can become better at pitching, I feel like that would be a very difficult to learn.
DZ: Doing the role play you need to be able to think fast. You have 20 minutes to prepare and you are not speaking with a script, you are speaking directly to the judges and they will be asking you tough questions on loopholes they can find on whatever prompt you have. A lot of it comes with practice, it also comes with researching on your own about marketing. For me and Raj we both had unique experience in the marketing industry like having an internship and working at a sales position in a company. That helped a lot and it was something not a lot of students had in FBLA. It is also important to know the rubric really thoroughly, don’t just look at it right before you’re doing it. Make sure that when you are studying for the objective test you are already looking at the rubric for the role play and memorizing exactly what’s on the rubric, and the specific points they want to hear. You can speak really well, talk really pretty, but you might not have all the points they want to hear which is detrimental to the performance of your roleplay. At Nationals last year, I don’t think our speaking was top performance. After we did it, we thought we lost but we hit every single point the judge wanted to hear. There are 8 different competencies you have to hit in the roleplay and we practiced beforehand memorizing 4 different competencies each. Everytime we practiced our role play, I did my 4 competencies and Raj did his 4. We were extremely well versed in our separate 4 subjects so we were not wasting time thinking about it when we were doing the role play. It worked very well for us, I think we ended up getting 96 out of 100 in the roleplay at Nationals. We probably got some points deducted for the nervousness but you can’t really help it. Just having all the points memorizing down in your head really helps. A great way to get practice is approaching someone in the marketing industry and doing practice pitches with them, there’s a lot of pitch examples on different websites, we personally used a lot of DECA prompts for practice pitches. It takes a lot of practice, a lot of perseverance, and it comes a lot from the background of what you generally already know.
DT: Those are some great ideas! My last question is had this event changed you in anyway, I know you were already pretty knowledgeable in Marketing, but did you pick up any new skills or expertise that you didn't possess before?
DZ: It helped me get a bit more confidence within FBLA, like going to States, going to Nationals, competing in Marketing, it really helped me learn a lot more and develop a better work ethic towards it and also the experience of speaking with the judges was a milestone this being my first roleplay event. It was really different giving a pitch to the judges and overcoming my nerves, this really helped me getting of my feet in my speaking and fast-thinking abilities. It contributed to building my character as it gave me the confidence to start a few of my other initiatives outside of FBLA.