DECA President: Nish Palepu

Junior Nish Palepu gets appointed as DECA President.

DECA is a non-profit student organization that prepares emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in marketing, finance, hospitality and management. Founded in 1946 by Chris Kimbell and Michael Wayne, DECA has grown to become one of the largest student organizations in the world, with over 225,000 members in high schools and colleges across the globe. 

Troy High School’s DECA started in 2016 and is one of the best business clubs in the world. This season, 130 students from Troy High School signed up for DECA, and out of the 130 students, 96 students went on to the States DECA Conference in Detroit, Michigan from March 9 to March 11. 42 Troy High School students attended the International Career Development Conference, also known as ICDC, in Orlando, Florida from April 22 to April 25. 

DECA provides its members with opportunities to develop their leadership, communication, problem-solving and teamwork skills through a variety of competitive events, conferences and community service projects. DECA’s mission is to prepare emerging leaders and entrepreneurs for careers in business, while promoting civic responsibility and professional ethics. 

At Troy High School, emerging leader Nish Palepu was recently appointed Michigan DECA President for the 2023-2024 season. “I was on top of the world and the entire school was cheering for me,” Palepu shared. “Things really went well this year.” 

When asked what the application process was like, Palepu explained, “They give you a case study, which is mainly to test your skills as a candidate, and you give a speech there as well. After that, you get shortlisted and then they select the top 15 candidates. Then the 15 people go to States and actually campaign there where you have your own booth and you give a one minute speech. at the opening ceremonies in front of all the members.” 

While giving the speech Palepu explains that, “It was quite nerve racking, but the cheering of the crowd helped [me] get through it.”

Palepu has done DECA for two years and has a passion for finance. When asked if DECA helped him with his future career, Palepu responded, “DECA has been a huge part of my financial journey because it takes that next step in learning.” 

Palepu also talks about how DECA has impacted his career choices. “I wanna pursue business as a career and DECA was one of those clubs that stood out to me. When I started competing, it was really fun meeting new people and exploring new categories of business that I have not really ever been able to.” 

DECA’s adviser, Elena Wollborg, thinks of Palepu fondly, “He has always been invested in the club ever since he joined. He was always the student that asked questions and he’s just always had an interest in business.” She continues, “He enjoyed what the club stood for.”

DECA has given Palepu some unforgettable memories. “Last year’s States conference was the first in-person conference since [COVID-19]. Also at this year’s State Conference because of becoming DECA President for the new season.”

When asked about Palepu’s experience with Troy High School DECA, Palepu answers, “My experience with Troy High DECA has been really great, it’s a very large organization, but it has definitely grown a lot since last year when I joined, and the environment even while campaigning is just amazing. Everyone knows how to get loud and bring that energy to DECA.

Wollborg explains that “Nish is an all around phenomenal business student, very interested in DECA. He works really hard in his finance event. He’s a stellar student in all the business classes he takes.”

As the President of DECA in 2023-24, Palepu promises to “Increase membership, provide new opportunities and expand resources to DECA members.”