DECA Stock Market Competitor qualifies at International level


(Photo by Tommy Damon)

Senior Joe Bjorkman advanced to the DECA Stock Market Game Internationals after making 26 percent on his investments this year.

Riley Coesens, Editor in Chief

Milford High School Senior and DECA member Joe Bjorkman qualified to compete at the International level this spring, presenting a portfolio of his financial achievements in building a masterful stocks portfolio. Placing 23rd in the U.S. Central Region, Bjorkman worked tirelessly since the event started in mid-September. With a passion for the topic and a desire to succeed, Bjorkman spent months perfecting his portfolio and adapting to the unpredictability of the current stock market to influence his decision-making. As a result of his efforts, he will compete virtually in the first online ICDC competition, modified due to COVID restrictions, and will strive to bring home DECA glass. 

Like many eager young adults today, Bjorkman has an interest in investing and financially educating himself for the future. With the availability of information and resources, students are beginning to save and invest in the market sooner than ever, hoping to accumulate wealth and experience through real-world endeavors. In his portfolio for the event, Bjorkman started with $100,000 and accumulated a $26,000 surplus through diversification of the stocks he purchased, based on the fluctuations in the market on a day-to-day basis. 

One of the most important aspects of achieving success in the stock market is understanding the fluidity of the process as a whole; it is fast-paced and evolves constantly, and one must stay up-to-date on world events as the worth of various pursuits changes often. “The main way I prepared for my event was keeping up on current events,” Bjorkman shared. “I was constantly tuning into different news channels and reading articles online trying to find things to invest in.” As time went on, Bjorkman learned from his previous errors and overcame the numerous obstacles presented through a strange financial year unlike others before it–his reward for being so diligent was his success in constructing a viable portfolio that could withstand the highs and lows of the fluctuating investment opportunities. “One of the reasons I started offering students the opportunity to play the stock market game was that it encouraged them to become aware of what was happening internationally, nationally and statewide,” said DECA Advisor Kaye Sommer. “As the weeks progressed, he was aware of the changes in the business environment and was interested in engaging in conversations about the companies of interest.”

Upon receiving the news of his achievement, Bjorkman was thrilled to be moving forward in the event: “I was sitting in third-hour Leadership when I heard the news and I was ecstatic. I tried to contain it, but it was so exciting,” he said. “There were thousands of people competing in the competition and to be one of the top 25 was an honor.”

Bjorkman competed in the Stock Market Game event previously as a junior in order to learn more about it as a serious way to make money in his adult life. Bjorkman’s friend, Senior Nick McDonald, contributed to his pursuit of financial knowledge and experience, helping him long-term to form a foundation of investing practice and intellect that served him well during this year’s competition. Though he recognizes that he could have worked to expand his portfolio even more in the final weeks of the competition by taking more calculated risks, Bjorkman is looking forward to representing MHS nationally and putting forth his best efforts in facing competitors. 

One major aspect of the project that differed this year from others was the current stature of the market during the pandemic. This widespread interest in stocks and the basis on which it changed so rapidly contributed to the intensity of the DECA competition and the validity of skill sets it teaches young adults involved. The stock market manipulation apparent on behalf of individual traders posed new questions and insight for young adults like Bjorkman to consider in the coming years of investing.

The Stock Market Game offers students the chance to indulge in a competitive project that is engaging, skill-building, and individualized, and provides invaluable practice to those interested in pursuing financial opportunities of any sort in their futures. Sommer urges anyone interested in the stock market and current global financial issues to participate in DECA and/or discuss these topics with her–being educated is the first step to making a difference in any field! As for Bjorkman’s success in the event, he is beyond thankful for the support and advice he received along the way and is prepared to fuel future successes with motivation and passion for the cause. “I really hoped to gain a better knowledge of investing in the stock market and that was exactly what happened,” Bjorkman said. “I could not be any more grateful for the experience and I am excited for what the future holds.”