Case Competition Victory Leads Five BYU Students to Iceland

PROVO, Utah – Sep 26, 2018 – Five students in BYU Marriott's School of Accountancy enjoyed a free trip to Iceland over the summer for winning this year’s EY Beam Abroad Case Competition. The stress of preparing a case study while still completing junior core accounting assignments was not a deterrent for members of the winning team, who excitedly embraced the opportunity to grow from the challenging experience.

“We were glad to see our time in a small study room pay off,” says Duncan Hamilton, an accounting student from Issaquah, Washington, and a member of the winning team. “It was satisfying to see that we could take a topic that we knew nothing about and be able to research and teach ourselves, and then feel confident in proposing a plan built strictly off what we just learned.”

The on-campus competition—available exclusively to BYU junior core accounting students—showcased eleven teams. The teams were given one week to prepare a presentation based on a prompt. An EY professional was assigned to each team as a mentor, assisting during the preparation stages and providing information to aid in research efforts.

One week after receiving the prompt, the teams presented their conclusions to a panel of partners from EY. This panel of judges evaluated each group’s findings, and the winning team was announced that night at a dinner held for the participants.

“The Beam Abroad Case Competition has a strong educational piece where candidates learn accounting standards that are relevant in today’s world,” says Jennifer Garrard, lead campus recruiter for EY in the Salt Lake area. “Participating is beneficial for students because the competition is a real-life application of something they will be doing in the workforce.”

The prompt for this year’s competition was to recommend whether an asset management company should adopt US (GAAP) or international (IFRS) accounting standards. Hamilton and his team members recommended that the company adopt US accounting standards because doing so would allow for more aggressive accounting practices.

Garrard emphasized that while there is never one right answer, the winning team presented a powerful solution to the prompt, which they were able to defend. She pointed out that BYU Marriott students are well prepared to compete against each other year in and year out.

“BYU students usually get a lot of public speaking experience as members of the Church of Jesus Christ, so their presentation skills are strong,” Garrard says. “They also have an added edge of being in a top-three program in the country, so their technical skills are strong as well.”

In addition to Hamilton, the winning team was comprised of Daphne Armstrong of Bountiful, Utah; Tyler Hardy of Las Vegas; Ben Anderson of Fruit Heights, Utah; and Zach Baird of Vineyard, Utah. The five students knew each other from their first semester in the accounting junior core, where they learned how to collaborate effectively by working on projects together.

“The BYU Marriott accounting program taught us how to work together as a team, how to present confidently and professionally, and how to research things that we didn’t know,” Armstrong says. “Even though we weren’t familiar with the case-specific topic, we were definitely equipped with a basic knowledge of accounting and other necessary skills to help us succeed.”

EY Competition Winners
(From left to right) Daphne Armstrong, Zach Baird, Duncan Hamilton, Tyler Hardy, Ben Anderson
Iceland 4
Iceland 2
Iceland 3
Iceland 1

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Brendan Gwynn