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How to Join the FBLA Competitive Events

By Eric Eng

By Eric Eng

business students brainstorming

Future Business Leaders of America, Inc. (FBLA) stands as the world’s largest business Career and Technical Student Organization. Annually, FBLA engages over 230,000 members, assisting them in preparing for various careers in business.

The program’s core mission is to inspire and prepare students to become community-minded business leaders within a global society. This goal is accomplished by offering a blend of pertinent career preparation and leadership opportunities through FBLA, which are specifically tailored to cultivate the essential skills needed to thrive in a highly competitive business landscape.

FBLA Divisions

Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) organizes its members into four divisions to cater to different educational levels and professional stages. The FBLA-Middle Level serves students in grades 5-9, introducing them to fundamental business and leadership concepts.

The High School Division, for grades 9-12, is the largest group, focusing on competitive events, leadership development, and community service. Postsecondary/Collegiate members include college students and those in business education, participating in advanced professional development and networking.

Lastly, the Professional Division supports the organization by offering mentorship, scholarships, and guidance to younger members, comprising FBLA alumni, educators, and business professionals.

Young woman smiling at the camera.

FBLA High School Competitive Events

In this section, we’ll explore the FBLA High School Competitive Events. We’ll cover what these events involve and provide you with a clear guide on how to participate and compete effectively. Discover the steps to engage in these competitions, where you can demonstrate your business skills and leadership potential on a platform!

CATEGORY DESCRIPTION
Objective Test An objective test administered during the National Leadership Conference.
Production Test Two parts: a production test administered and proctored at a designated school-site prior to the NLC and an objective test administered on-site at NLC.
Presentation Event The presentation of a project, speech, or interview. Competitors may be allowed to use technology, equipment and/or visual aids as part of the presentation. Check specific event guidelines to determine what is allowed.
Case Study Event An objective test administered during the National Leadership Conference. For team events, competitors will test individually, and members’ scores will be averaged to determine the team score. The top 15 scoring individuals/ teams will advance to the final round of competition. Some case study events do not have an objective test.

Chapter Events

An FBLA Chapter event refers to a project developed by a team of competitors, which is then presented at the National Leadership Conference (NLC). These events typically involve teams from various chapters working together to create comprehensive business-related projects that showcase their skills and knowledge in front of a larger audience at the conference.

Objective Tests

This is an online, objective test that is conducted during the conference, designed to assess participants’ business knowledge. The test typically consists of multiple-choice questions that cover various aspects of business theory and practice. It is a structured way to evaluate the understanding and application of business concepts among the participants in a formal, competitive setting.

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Presentation Events

This involves competitors presenting a project, speech, or participating in an interview before a panel of judges. During these presentations, participants may have the opportunity to use technology, equipment, and visual aids to enhance their delivery and effectively convey their message. It’s important for competitors to refer to the specific guidelines for each event to understand what tools and aids are permitted, ensuring they comply with the rules and maximize their presentation’s impact.

  • Business Plan
  • Electronic Career Portfolio
  • Future Business Educator
  • Sales Presentation

Events with a Topic

  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Business Ethics
  • Coding & Programming
  • Computer Game & Simulation Programming
  • Data Analysis
  • Digital Animation
  • Digital Video Production
  • Financial Statement Analysis
  • Graphic Design
  • Introduction to Business Presentation
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Introduction to Social Media Strategy
  • Mobile Application Development
  • Public Service Announcement
  • Social Media Strategies
  • Visual Design
  • Website Coding & Development
  • Website Design

Speech

  • Impromptu Speaking
  • Introduction to Public Speaking
  • Public Speaking

Interview

  • Future Business Leader
  • Job Interview

Young woman signing contracts and handshake with a manager

Production Events

A production test in the context of FBLA events usually involves two distinct stages. The first stage is a production test that is administered and proctored before the National Leadership Conference (NLC). This part of the test typically requires participants to complete specific tasks or projects within a given time frame under supervised conditions.

The second stage is an objective test that takes place on-site during the NLC. This test consists of multiple-choice or true/false questions that evaluate the participants’ knowledge in a structured format. Together, these two components assess both the practical skills and the theoretical understanding of the competitors.

  • Computer Applications
  • Database Design & Applications
  • Spreadsheet Applications
  • Word Processing

Role Play Events

During the National Leadership Conference (NLC), an objective test is given to evaluate competitors’ knowledge. In team events, each team member takes the test individually, and their scores are then averaged to determine the overall team score.

The highest-scoring 15 individuals or teams move forward to the final round of the competition. This final stage involves competitors responding spontaneously to a given prompt. During this phase, judges have the opportunity to interact with the competitors, asking questions or seeking clarifications, which adds a dynamic element to the assessment.

  • Banking & Financial Systems
  • Business Management
  • Client Service
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Help Desk
  • Hospitality & Event Management
  • International Business
  • Introduction to Event Planning
  • Management Information Systems
  • Marketing
  • Network Design
  • Parliamentary Procedure
  • Sports & Entertainment Management

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9th and 10th Grade Events

The events described below are exclusively available to high school members who are in the 9th or 10th grade.

  • Introduction to Business Communication
  • Introduction to Business Concepts
  • Introduction to Business Presentation
  • Introduction to Business Procedures
  • Introduction to Event Planning
  • Introduction to FBLA
  • Introduction to Financial Math
  • Introduction to Information Technology
  • Introduction to Marketing Concepts
  • Introduction to Parliamentary Procedure
  • Introduction to Programming
  • Introduction to Public Speaking
  • Introduction to Social Media Strategy

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How to Participate in FBLA Competitive Events

Joining in the FBLA competitive events is a great way for high school students to demonstrate their business acumen and skills. The competition starts at the State Leadership Conferences, where you can participate in various challenges that test what you’ve learned in business subjects. If you do well at the state level, you’ll have the chance to compete for national awards at the National Leadership Conference every summer.

You can choose how you want to compete based on what you’re most comfortable with: you can go solo in individual events, team up with friends for team events, or take part in chapter events that evaluate your chapter’s overall management and growth.

Keep in mind that the types of events and rules can differ from state to state, so make sure to check out the guidelines provided by your state, especially if you’re competing locally or statewide.

Before joining any event, it’s important to carefully go through the specific guidelines and rating sheets for that event. This will help you understand exactly what’s expected and how to prepare effectively.

Whether you’re competing alone, with teammates, or as a chapter, these events are a fantastic opportunity to enhance your abilities and achieve recognition for your efforts.

What types of competitive event awards will be given?

At the National Leadership Conference (NLC), members who excel in competitive events (except Open Events) will receive trophies during the Awards of Excellence ceremony. In addition, cash prizes are awarded to the top three competitors or teams in each event, thanks to the contributions from event sponsors. These cash awards are distributed after the conference.

The amounts of the cash prizes can vary each year depending on the level of sponsorship received. For the 2024 National Leadership Conference, the cash prizes are set as follows: $400 for each first-place winner, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place.

In the case of teams, the prize money is shared equally among team members. For example, if a team of two wins first place, each member will receive $200.

For teams, the amount will be divided. Example: If a team of two wins first place, each team member would receive $200.

Each competitor will need to complete an online account on bill.com to receive their prize money. Instructions will be shared after NLC.

Group of students looking at a computer

Guidelines for Participating in FBLA High School Competitive Events

FBLA competitive events involve a series of guidelines that must be closely followed by all participants. These guidelines apply universally across all FBLA High School national competitive events.

At both the state and national levels, participants must ensure they adhere to the specific rules and deadlines. For national competitions, all members and advisers are responsible for thoroughly understanding and complying with these guidelines.

Some key points include:

  • Competitors must have paid their FBLA national and state dues by 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time on March 1 of the current school year. Participants must also register and pay the national conference registration fee to compete at the National Leadership Conference (NLC).
  • Competitors must be registered by their state chair or designee using the official online entry forms by the second Tuesday in May at 11:59 p.m. Eastern Time. All prejudged components, such as reports and projects, must be submitted electronically by this deadline.
  • Each state is allowed to submit four entries in all events. Competitors can only participate in one individual/team event and one chapter event at the NLC. All members of a team must be from the same chapter, and if they are late for an event, there is no guarantee that they will be allowed to compete.
  • Competitors may be disqualified for violating event guidelines, and picture identification is required when checking in. For team events, a team must consist of two to three members, except for Parliamentary Procedure, which requires four or five.
  • Competitors can participate in an event more than once unless they have placed in the top ten at a previous NLC. However, if an event’s name changes but the content remains the same, they cannot compete under the new name if they’ve previously placed top ten. Participation in pilot events does not affect eligibility for future competitions.
  • For objective tests, ties are broken by the scores on the last 10 or 20 questions, or by the time taken to complete the test. For productions and performances, respective scores are used to break ties, and judges’ decisions are final.
  • FBLA-PBL adheres to the Americans with Disabilities Act, and participants requiring accommodations must submit the necessary form by the specified deadline.
  • Unauthorized recording devices are not permitted in competitive events, although FBLA reserves the right to record any performance for educational or training purposes.

View of a student talking to a person wearing a suit.

FBLA Awards and Recognition

FBLA offers various awards and scholarships to provide members with significant recognition for their achievements. Here’s a brief overview of some of these opportunities:

1. National Leadership Conference (NLC) Scholarship

This scholarship helps cover conference and travel costs for high school members attending the NLC. Each scholarship includes $500 and a complimentary registration to the NLC, totaling $195. FBLA plans to award up to 50 scholarships annually. Members interested in this scholarship must have paid their dues by March 1 and submit an application with the required materials by April 15. If a winner cannot attend, the scholarship will be given to another applicant.

Application Materials for the NLC Scholarship

  • A PDF of the member’s resume highlighting their FBLA involvement, leadership roles, and any awards received.
  • A PDF of a signed letter of recommendation from their chapter adviser, detailing the applicant’s financial need and how attending the NLC would benefit them.
  • A PDF of a one-page essay discussing how attending the NLC would aid their personal and professional development and why the scholarship is essential.

View of different studying materials on a table.

2. Distinguished Business Leader Scholarship

This scholarship recognizes high school seniors who are active in FBLA and plan to continue their involvement at the collegiate level. The scholarship amount is $500, dependent on annual contributions to the fund. Applicants must be at the Advocate or Capstone level of the Business Achievement Awards (BAA) program and submit an application that includes a cover letter, a resume, and a letter of recommendation.

3. Dressed to Impress

The Dressed to Impress initiative aims to provide business attire to three members from each state, representing each of the three student divisions: FBLA Middle School, High School, and Collegiate. To be eligible, members must have paid their dues by the application deadline of October 15. High school students must complete their applications with an adviser’s assistance.

These scholarships and initiatives help members advance their professional attire and career opportunities, supporting their growth both within and beyond FBLA.

Partner Scholarships

FBLA also encourages its members to apply for scholarships from their partner institutions. Here are the following:

1. National Technical Honor Society (NTHS)

The National Technical Honor Society (NTHS) continues its partnership with FBLA, supporting its mission by offering two scholarships to active members who are in good standing with both NTHS and FBLA.

NTHS sponsors two events at the FBLA National Conference each year. With a history of over 30 years, NTHS has been a leader in recognizing exceptional student achievements in career and technical education (CTE) programs nationwide, distributing over a quarter of a million dollars in scholarships annually. NTHS/FBLA members can also apply for the Jon H. Poteat Scholarship.

Criteria for NTHS/FBLA Scholarships:

  • Applicants must be current, dues-paid members of both NTHS and FBLA.
  • Scholarship funds are to be paid directly to accredited educational institutions, certification organizations, or continuing education programs.
  • Applications must include a letter of recommendation from both the FBLA and NTHS advisers and a 1-2 page resume detailing involvement in both organizations.

Young woman writing on a table.

2. Johnson & Wales University (JWU) Scholarship

Johnson & Wales University (JWU) offers substantial scholarship opportunities for FBLA members, with awards up to full tuition. To be considered, students must apply to JWU and indicate their FBLA membership to be automatically entered into the National Student Organizations scholarship program.

3. Long Island University (LIU) Scholarship

Long Island University (LIU) is providing a Presidential Scholarship for all FBLA members graduating in 2024. This merit-based scholarship is valued at $40,248 per year and requires applicants to meet specific GPA and SAT or ACT score requirements.

The scholarship can be renewed for up to eight consecutive terms of full-time undergraduate study, provided GPA standards are maintained. If a student does not meet the criteria for the Presidential Scholarship, they may still be eligible for other merit-based scholarships without the need for an additional application.

Recognitions

1. Who’s Who Award

This award recognizes exemplary FBLA members who have significantly contributed to the association at local, state, and national levels. Each state can nominate one member from an active local chapter who has paid their dues by March 1 of the current school year for this honor at the National Leadership Conference. The State Leader or their designee must complete the entry form. Nominees are selected based on their years of involvement in FBLA, participation in state and national conferences, contributions to projects at all levels, and involvement in other activities.

Group of students standing near a window and smiling for the camera.

2. Outstanding Chapter Adviser Award

Each state has the opportunity to nominate one local adviser for recognition at the National Leadership Conference. This award is for advisers who demonstrate exemplary leadership, make significant contributions to the development of FBLA members, and uphold the values and goals of FBLA and business education.

3. Gold Seal Chapter: Hollis & Kitty Guy Award of Merit

This award is given to outstanding local chapters that actively participate in projects and programs aligned with FBLA’s goals. State Leaders or their designees nominate active local chapters, which must be recorded at the national center as having paid their dues by March 1 of the current school year. Each state can select either two chapters or up to 15 percent of its total number of active local chapters, whichever is greater, for this recognition.

Final Thoughts

Ready to take your first steps into the dynamic world of FBLA competitive events? Embrace opportunities that will sharpen your business acumen, and leadership skills, and expand your professional network. Don’t miss out on the chance to stand out, excel, and maybe even travel to the National Leadership Conference.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. How many people advance to the final round?

In the preliminary rounds, fifteen competitors or teams—or an equal number from each section—advance to the final round. If there are more than five sections in a preliminary event, two competitors or teams from each section will move on to the finals.

2. What is the deadline for competitive event registration?

All competitors must complete their registration for competitive events by May 7. Registration is processed through the conference registration system.

3. What should I do if I can’t attend the Awards Session?

If you cannot stay for the Awards Session, inform your State Leader or chapter so that someone else can receive any awards on your behalf. If an award needs to be shipped post-conference, you will be responsible for covering the shipping and handling costs.

4. What are the Open Events at the National Leadership Conference?

Open events are competitive testing opportunities for high school and middle school members that don’t require pre-registration. They are available at the National Leadership Conference, and seating is first come, first served. Event times will be listed in the conference app. The top scorer in each open event will be recognized during the Awards of Excellence Ceremony.

5. Do I need to show a photo ID to compete?

Photo identification is required for all high school and collegiate FBLA members when checking in for competitive events. Acceptable forms of ID include a driver’s license, passport, state-issued ID, or school ID. Middle school members are not required to show ID. If a high school member does not have a suitable ID, an alternate ID form can be obtained from FBLA.

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