Accounting Students Take Second at Deloitte National Case Competition

A team of Marriott School of Management accounting students recently demonstrated their analytical and presentation abilities, taking second place and a $5,000 prize at the Deloitte National Audit Case Competition.

The team was given a complex real-world situation about a company preparing to go public. Different accounting situations made it difficult to determine whether the case should be classified as either an equity problem or a liability situation.

 "The case was pretty complicated, but we were concise in our presentation and clear in our communication," says Greg Downs, a team member. "Our presentation and our question-and-answer session really made us stand out for making a complex situation a lot easier to understand."

The student team was randomly generated as part of the Accounting 515 class last fall semester. In the course, students are divided into teams and spend the entire semester working together on different cases. Near the end of the course, all of the teams present to Deloitte partners in a competition held on campus, and the winner is selected to represent BYU at the national competition.

"Many of the schools at the competition interview potential team members and create their teams from the best students they interview," says Jeff Wilks, associate professor of accounting. "Our randomly created groups have shown that they can compete with the best of the best at other schools, and this year was no exception. To me, that underscores how great our students are." 

Wilks coached the BYU team comprised of first-year master of accountancy students Downs, from Fountain Valley, Calif.; Jacob Lane, from Sanford, Maine; Megan Palmer, from Lilburn, Georgia; Daisuke Taura, from Chiba, Japan; and Jeff Yeager, from Prescott, Arizona. Each student participant also received a $1,000 prize.

The students had about four weeks to analyze the case and prepare for the competition, held March 30-31 at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas. Though the team had presented many times during fall semester, they had to learn to work together in a whole new way.

"Two of us were out of state doing internships during the semester, which made it more difficult," Downs says. "It helped that we had presented together a lot during the fall semester, but we had to rely on our organizational skills and use Skype because we didn't have our entire team together until the night before the competition. I don't think many other participants had a situation like that."

Florida A&M University, located in Tallahassee, Fla., took first place in the competition. Other national finalist teams represented Miami University in Ohio, University of Notre Dame, University of Texas-Austin and the University of Washington.

"Participating in this competition demonstrates that our students are prepared to face complex, real-world accounting issues and present them in an understandable way to seasoned professionals," Wilks says.

The Marriott School is located at Brigham Young University, the largest privately owned, church-sponsored university in the United States. The school has nationally recognized programs in accounting, business management, public management, information systems and entrepreneurship. The school's mission is to prepare men and women of faith, character and professional ability for positions of leadership throughout the world. Approximately 3,000 students are enrolled in the Marriott School's graduate and undergraduate programs.

Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: David Packard