College of Business students become problem solvers for PwC

Seven FIU College of Business teams competed in this year’s PwC Tax Case Competition, and the Bad Assets won.

The nationwide on-campus contest gives undergraduate and graduate students the opportunity to replicate real-world decision making by working on issues facing business and government leaders.

The assignment: create tax policy for a fictitious country struggling with issues related to virtual currency.

“The students are like a consulting team with government officials [represented by PwC executives] reviewing the presentation,” said Whitney Wilson, PwC’s Florida Campus Manager. “There’s a question and answer period where students get real-time feedback from the panel.”

At universities across the nation, each competing team is given the same scenario and must identify solutions for the presented problem. This year, 32 FIU students participated in the competition.

Over the course of two weeks, the four- or five-person teams worked with PwC mentors to create a written proposal and a 12-minute presentation that was delivered live before a panel of two PwC partners and one director.

COB students Rosa Batista, Crystal Coto, Jose Fong, Luis Quintanilla, and Carol Sousa comprise The Bad Assets.

Challenge addresses issues faced by business and government leaders.

PwC assurance associate Ethelence Aburto, an FIU alumni (BBA Accounting ’12), served as mentor to the Bad Assets. She worked closely with the students from the start of the project, answering their questions and offering motivation, support and pointers.

“They should be professional and consistent in how they dress,” said Aburto, who participated in the PwC competition in 2010 while at FIU. “Practicing the presentation is key, and making sure you know what comes next.”

Each member of FIU’s winning team received a $200 gift card. Additionally, a video of the Bad Assets’ presentation will be submitted to PwC’s national selection committee, which will narrow down the field of competitors. The five finalist teams will make live presentations at PwC’s national competition next January in Washington, D.C., and a winner will be named.

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