Business Students Advance to National Deloitte Case Competition Finals
Competition could net students scholarships up to $2,000 each
A team of six College of Business juniors has advanced to the national finals of Deloitte’s Audit Innovation Campus Challenge. The case competition brought together students representing more than 50 colleges and universities across the country to take on the challenge of how technology will reshape the future of work, spanning topics like on-boarding and community building.
College of Business Student Competitors
The students had four weeks to respond to the open-ended question of how innovation and technology could better enable people to have professionally rewarding experiences while continuing to meet the needs of clients and stakeholders. The challenge statement was released in early October and the students were supported by Deloitte professionals and their faculty advisor, Michelle Draeger, CPA Ph.D., an assistant professor of accounting in the College of Business.
“The prompt tends to intentionally be vague to encourage students’ creativity,” said Draeger. “So it’s always exciting to watch the transformation that occurs in the students’ idea generation process over the time span of just a few weeks.”
“I was unsure of how creative or innovative I could be, so I was nervous to join the team,” she said. “However, my better judgment told me to take a chance and join the team, and I have loved every second of it!”
Johnson found that she and her teammates bonded quickly, with the time they spent together rivaling the fulfillment of moving onto the finals.
“While our ideas were crazy and kind of goofy at times, we decided to just go with it and see where it could lead us. When I saw our name on the screen as moving onto the national finals in the spring, my first thought wasn’t ‘Oh no, more work…,’ but was ‘You mean I get to work with this team for longer? I’m so excited!'”
As a student in the College of Business, Johnson has been encouraged throughout her classes to innovate and push boundaries. She’s found those lessons reinforced by the competition.
“Coming up with new technologies or processes is one of the challenges faced by the accounting world as a whole,” she said.
“This competition has helped all of us realize that thinking outside of the box should be encouraged, and as we move into the careers we are pursuing, we should make sure we are always trying to push the limits in a good way to expand the capabilities of the accounting profession.”
The challenge sparked new ideas for Emma Brendle, who is concentrating in finance and international business as a business major.
“The case competition went beyond just accounting to inspire creativity within each of us,” said Brendle. “We were able to take our coursework and our essential accounting and business knowledge and push the envelope to find a great idea.”
Twelve teams advance to the finals and will compete in the 2020 National Competition of the Audit Innovation Campus Challenge in April. The competition’s grand prize is $10,000 to the first-place school and $2,000 scholarships for each student on that team, with the second-place team receiving half of that amount and the third-place team receiving a quarter of that amount.