A group of five Kishwaukee College students took second place in the PricewaterhouseCoopers Challenge at Northern Illinois University.
The competition tested accounting, finance, business, and presentation skills through problem solving realistic business cases.
Maria Tranchina, Oregon; Edwin Yockey, Kingston; Briana Williams, Rochelle; Damian Aquilera; and Tracy Drobick, Rochelle; earned second place among six competing teams from Northern Illinois area community colleges.
All teams were given a case in which a media company acquired a theme park and a gaming company; competitors had to determine the best outcome for the media company.
Teams had two weeks to prepare a 10-minute presentation for judges which included PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) executives.
After their presentation, judges asked interview style questions.
Everett Westmeyer, Assistant Professor of Accounting and faculty advisor for the competition, explained that the students were perplexed by the judge’s questions, noting they were not about the case.
“I had to break it to them – this was their first interview with PwC,” said Westmeyer, “This is a competition for the students to win as much as it’s a competition for PwC to find the best future employees.”
PwC has been ranked as the most prestigious accounting firm in the world according to the Vault Accounting 50 annual Accounting Survey.
“It’s great exposure for the students,” said Westmeyer.
The five students will be heading downtown to Chicago for extended interviews at PwC headquarters in December.
To prepare for the competition presentation, the team, with guidance from two faculty advisors, analyzed the case, developed a plan of action, and fine-tuned their presentation skills for two weeks.
Their dress rehearsal for the competition was presenting in front of one of Westmeyer’s classes.
“They’ve put forth tremendous effort, a lot of great ideas, work together really well, and were overall really focused on doing the best they could,” said Matthew Weibel, Communication Instructor and faculty advisor for the competition. “The judges were very pleased with our student responses.”
He said students impressed the judges by being very open to each other’s opinions and working cohesively to present the best case.
This is the second year Kish has sent a team to participate in the competition. According to Everett Westmeyer, two of the students from last year’s team have transferred to NIU and blossomed into leaders in student organizations.
He said a Kish student from last year’s competition is in serious talks with PwC about employment after they earn their degree.
“We hope it will be an ongoing tradition for Kish to keep doing this,” said Matthew Weibel of the PwC competition.
To learn more about Accounting at Kish College, visit www.kish.edu/accounting.