Aspiring Business Leaders: jumpstart your career with these competitions

Posted July 14, 2017 by Travis Pulver

Companies are always looking for the best and brightest to join their ranks. But only a few standout applicants get the jobs. Even fewer get hired or promoted to positions of leadership. For the up-and-coming business leaders just graduating college, it’s going to be a tough road ahead to find the position that is perfect for you.

If you’re coming out of college looking for a job in the business management or leadership sectors, or even if you’re in high school and looking to get into college or grad school, you need more than just good grades and a good resume to get recognized. Companies and colleges alike look for examples of your experience that showcase how you’ll do in competitive situations.

Do you know how to manage a team? Can you handle tough negotiations with clients? How will you respond when something doesn’t work the way you expect it to? These are all the kinds of questions businesses are going to want to know the answers to in order to give you the job. And you’re going to need to demonstrate your expertise in these areas. This is where business competitions play an increasingly important role for business schools and corporations.

College coaches can see athletes play for years before making a scholarship offer. By seeing him/her grow and perform over time, they can get a pretty good idea whether a player’s talents will translate to the college or professional level.

Well, now employers are starting to scout candidates who are testing their business acumen in much the same fashion. As a high school or college student, how can you really get noticed for the career in business or entrepreneurship you want?

ICS tracks hundreds of competitions that can help you showcase your business skills, but we figured we would highlight just a few here to help you get going. By participating in these academic competitions, you’ll gain a leg up on your competition. CEOs and hiring managers will get a better idea of who the entrepreneurs and business leaders of tomorrow will be by looking to these competitions. And you’ll be better positioned to become the next #1 hire on their list! So go ahead, get in the business arena by checking out these competitions:

DECA Competitive Events

DECA describes what it does as preparing “emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management in high schools and colleges around the globe. Events are preceded by a course of instruction first ensuring that the participants have had access to the information they need to excel at the competition(s) they enter.

Competitions will cover a broad range of skills related to business management and administration, entrepreneurship, marketing, finance, hospitality and tourism, and personal finance.

The Virtual Business Challenge will give participants a chance to put their knowledge and skill set to use in real world scenarios related to the industry they have selected (fashion, retail, restaurant, sports, accounting, hotel challenge, and personal finance).

Figuring out who wins—and who companies should keep an eye on—is easy. The winner in the retail, restaurant, sports, and fashion challenges will be whoever earns the most profit after one virtual year. Profit will factor into deciding the winner of the hotel challenge, but so will customer and employee satisfaction. The personal finance challenge winner will be determined by highest net worth. The accounting competition will involve recognizing issues quicker than other teams.

What better way can there be for an employer to gauge a person’s potential than to see it in action? Dealing with issues and problems in the real world is much different than in a virtual one. But if an employer is looking for a reason to hire one person over another, virtual experience and success are better than no experience (or success) at all. If you’re interested in these industries at all, it’s time to jump into a DECA competition!


Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge

The Conrad Spirit of Innovation Challenge gets a entrepreneurs into more specific categories. The challenge is all about devising a product or innovation, but not just any old thing people can be talked into buying.

It is geared towards coming up with something that can benefit the world. There are four categories for submissions: aerospace and aviation, cyber technology and security, energy and the environment, and health and nutrition. All of which happen to be industries with a tremendous amount of growth potential.

Over 100,000 high school students 450+ schools from around the world take part, and companies are increasingly turning to competitions like the Conrad Challenge to find their next great hires! But more importantly, of the 350 new products and innovations devised, over 20 percent are in development.

So, we are not just talking about a bunch of smart kids that came up with some interesting ideas. They came up with real, world-changing products. Joining the Conrad Challenge can help you not only land your first job, but just might help you in starting up your own entrepreneurial business!


Other ways to Jumpstart your Future.

There are many other competitions that can help business and entrepreneurially minded students in college or even in high school. Pitch Competitions abound to help students practice getting their own business plans together, but also there are business management challenges, and many others to interest students in all industries.

The Modeling the Future Challenge should be on every student’s list if they’re interested in emerging technologies that have the potential to change the future. Contests held by the American Computer Science League provide an entryway into computer science and technology companies. Students with a mind geared towards science and math have abundant opportunities in competitions. One that covers a wide breadth of STEM industries is the National Science Bowl held by the U.S. Department of Energy.

There are academic competitions that encourage students to test their abilities and knowledge in nearly every discipline. If an employer wants to know if a job candidate is motivated to test his/her limits, likes to face challenges, and is capable of adapting as needed and overcoming them, they increasingly look to academic competitions.

Don’t be left behind by just relying on your resume to get your next job, or even for your college applications. Get in the arena by participating in any of the many competitions featured at the Institute of Competition Sciences! There are hundreds of business related competitions available to students of all ages!