Two teams of Sonoma State University students recently won the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Challenge, earning them $1,000 each. 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.
So what were the PwC judges looking for? Not just good test takers, but students who think critically, communicate effectively and use teamwork to succeed- all qualities they are looking for in someone they would hire, as seen in the winning team, "TAAN," 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 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.
Top: Nathan Norris and Aileen Robinson accept their award at the awards banquet following the PwC Challenge.
Middle: From left to right: Isabel Karst, Austin Heiland, Brice Dirden, James Hare.