Business Students Compete in PwC Challenge
More than 35 St. John Fisher College School of Business students competed in the annual PricewaterhouseCooper’s (PwC) business case competition, held on Monday, Oct. 30.
Open to all majors in the School of Business, the teams were challenged with developing a solution to the case scenario and presenting it to a panel of judges including Matt Parrilli, Ed Kay, and Kate Meisenzahl, all from PwC.
The students had two weeks to develop their cases and presentations with the help of student, faculty, and PwC employee mentors. The case competition models a realistic business scenario focusing on multiple issues that current companies face. Analyzing the case provided students the ability to think critically, make decisions based on facts, and collaborate within their teams.
A total of eight Fisher teams competed, with awards given for the first and second place teams. The presentations were approximately 10 minutes in length, followed by a 10 minute question and answer session. The competition was coordinated by PwC Tax Manager Mike Messenger ’06 and PwC Senior Tax Associate Katy Miller ’11.
This year’s case described a fictitious convenience store that was faced with the dilemma of whether or not to implement the use of automated checkout machines as a way to cut costs and fund expansion of their chain. Each team was required to present a cost/benefit analysis of the proposal, state whether they agreed or disagreed with the idea, and present additional ways to fund short- and long-term growth.
“The PwC Business challenge is a great experience for any business major. To get real life application of actual business scenarios is huge, and it definitely helps as you enter the business world,” said Eric Green ’20, an accounting major and member of the winning team. “Last year, I learned a lot of important things that I was able to build upon in my presentation this year. Overall it is a lot of fun and enormously beneficial in helping students develop teamwork, presentation, and critical thinking skills.”
Accounting majors Andrew George ’21 (Honors Student), Andrew Callahan ’19, Eric Green ’20 (Honors Student), and Joe Dotterweich ’21 (Honors Student), along with finance major Brandon Todd ’21, earned first place in this year’s competition (pictured above). The team was guided by faculty mentor Omar Watts, assistant professor of accounting, student mentor Aviana Catarisano ’18, and PwC mentor Megan Goodwine, a tax associate at PwC. Each student from the first place team won $250 for their achievement.
Accounting majors Lizzy Izydorczak ’21, Sarah Van Der Karr ’21 (Honors Student), Anthony Kousmanidis ’20, Mitch Foster ’20, and finance major Lauren Witmer ’21 (Honors Student) earned a second place finish. Their leadership included faculty mentor David Kunsch, associate professor, student mentor Morgan Becher ’17, and PwC mentor Kyle Ingalls ’14, ’15 (MBA), PwC tax associate.
Student competitors included Brandon Audi, Brandon Kohtanich, Joseph Puma, Cassey LeClair, Leaha Eidman, Stephanie Ingalls, Natalie Valenti, Misi Soukhasene, Fatou Thiam, Maxwell Herbst, Tyler Swartz, Jacob Haase, Emily Risch, LucyMarie Gaulin, Katie Stinson, Emilie German, Kyle O’Dea, Samantha Servati, Andrew Card, Zach Cicchini, Teddros Ghebrezgabiher, Garrett Litvak, Eagan Sicker, Avery Terroso, Kate Mitchell, Lauryn Long, Matt Sciandra, and Sanjeev Sekharan. Student mentors included Erica Atkins, Adam Russell, Todd Stebbins, Mike Manou, Jordan Gamer, Kevin Colafranceschi, and Shane Bloom.
The students were led by faculty members Carolina Saffie Robertson, Merouane Lakehal-Ayat, Monica Hodis, Ron Sicker, Farrokh Mamaghani, Derek Vanderlinde, Patricia Wollan, Art Hintz, Tom Tyson, and Marcia O’Brien. Mentors from PwC included Amber Lennington ’15, ’16 (MBA), Michael Dix ’15, ’16 (MBA), Hannah Garofoli, Jessica Martinez ’15, ’16 (MBA), Eric Williams ’13, ’14 (MBA), Brian Johnson ’13, and Chelsea Power.