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PricewaterhouseCoopers Challenge comes to Sonoma State University

October 30, 2013 12:24 PM


PricewaterhouseCoopers Challenge comes to Sonoma State University


Rohnert Park, CA- This past Tuesday, two teams of Sonoma State University students 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. 

sbe_pwc_1213_runnerup_lowres.jpg"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.

TAAN will be notified in mid-November if their presentation has been selected for nationals, and if selected, they will compete in January. 


Top right photo: Nathan Norris and Aileen Robinson accept their award at the awards banquet following the PwC Challenge.

Bottom left photo: The runner up team, "Tax Heroes." From left to right: Isabel Karst, Austin Heiland, Brice Dirden, James Hare.   

About School of Business and Economics
Sonoma State University School of Business and Economics' vision is to be the educational nucleus of a thriving North Bay economy.  Its mission is to create extraordinary learning experiences for our students and to advance best business practices in the North Bay and beyond.  Creating a vibrant community, developing a sustainable business model for entrepreneurship in higher education, and developing and delivering innovative programs and processes are express goals for its campus-wide, community-reaching entrepreneurship initiative.  With undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs serving over 1,500 students each year and concentrations in Accounting, Finance, Management, Marketing, Wine Business, and Economics, the School offers the most in-demand degree on the Sonoma State campus. The School of Business and Economics is accredited by AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), making it one of 15% of all business schools in the world to meet these standards of excellence. For more information, visit

About PwC
Since its creation in 2002, the PwC Challenge has involved 85 schools, 35,000 competitors, and awarded almost $3 million in prize money.  PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they're looking for. We're a member of the PwC network of firms in 157 countries with more than 184,000 people. We're committed to delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Tell us what matters to you and find out more by visiting us at  Gain customized access to our insights by downloading our thought leadership app: PwC's 365™ Advancing business thinking every day.

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