SSU students win the PwC Challenge
On Tuesday, Oct 29, two teams of SSU students won the PricewaterhouseCoopers Challenge, earning them $1,000 each. The PwC Challenge is designated for campuses as either an Accounting competition or Tax competition. Sonoma State was part of the Tax Challenge which involved using models of real-world business scenarios within the campus environment.
Small teams of students work together to build a solution based on a particular business case and present it within a two week period. The first place team’s presentation will be submitted for the next stage of the Challenge, where, if selected, they will be awarded $10,000 and be one of five teams to compete in Washington, D.C.
“This is not a competition that you apply to; this is a competition where you must be invited. I think this is just another validation of the progress Sonoma State University has made in enhancing the reputation of its accounting program in the community,” explained Professor Joe Standridge, the faculty advisor for the PwC Challenge as well as Sonoma State’s Accounting Forum.
PwC judges evaluated students on critical thinking, communication and the use of teamwork to succeed, all qualities they look for in potential future employees. The winning team, “TAAN” was made up of Tom Lynch, Aileen Robinson, Alexa Bridge and Nathan Norris.
“This is unexpected and really exciting. It is the most fun I have had doing a presentation,” said Aileen Robinson. “We did the very best we could and we are very happy with the outcome,” followed Nathan Norris.
Sixty-four Sonoma State students total competed in the Challenge, which is a case competition that gives students the opportunity to increase their exposure to professional services and the world of public accounting.
“There is no right answer, which forces students to think outside the box and really evaluate different alternatives, and ultimately question whether they have the ‘best’ solution. It becomes a great simulation of corporate life,” said Professor Standridge.
The second place team, “Tax Heroes,” was comprised of James Hare, Brice Dirden, Austin Heiland and Isabel Karst.
Held on Sonoma State’s campus, sixteen teams presented their work before a panel of PwC judges. Students addressed how to make up tax revenues lost when fuel efficient cars become more popular and how they would advise their clients. The judges not only had questions about their solutions, but also what it was like to work in a team, how they used all their resources, and the overall experience.
TAAN will be notified in mid-November if their presentation has been selected for nationals, and if selected, they will compete in January.
PricewaterhouseCoopers is a multinational firm with headquarters in London, England. They are considered to be one of the “Big Four” auditors.