Whitman Accounting Students Compete in Annual Deloitte Tax Competition

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On Nov. 7 two teams of five Whitman students competed in the annual Deloitte FanTAXtic competition. The students were Yujing Sun, Zhengliang Peng, April Yunwen Gu, Shuwen Tan, Jiayi Fan, Brett Aston, Lauren Dishman, Rolf Witt, Kirby Corcoran and Catherine Anderson. The competition is held in several regional offices across the country; the Whitman team competed in the Boston offices.

The students received the case material three weeks before the competition. After the initial analysis, the teams put together a 15-minute presentation of their solutions to each of the tax issues.  On the day of the competition, the “client” met with the students and gave them some additional information which had to be worked into their solution.  They were given an additional 90 minutes to research this new information and integrate it into their presentation (which was extended to 20 minutes). This case required several long, late night meetings in Whitman, countless cups of coffee and a lot of Varsity pizza.  Each student put in about 60 hours of prep work for the case.  It was a very intense three weeks.

The students’ presentation was in a conference room with judges present and a Deloitte partner posing as the client. Once the competition was over, the students shopped, enjoyed a great dinner, and went on a haunted trolley ride.  They visited three different cemeteries in Boston and heard lots of ghost stories. It was a great reward for a lot of hard work.

While the Whitman team did not finish in the top two teams in the Boston region, one of the teams won honorable mention, meaning the team finished either third or fourth out of the 14 teams in the region. The students learned a lot, not only about tax, but about themselves. It was a lot of pressure to talk in front of “Big Four” partners, and they handled it flawlessly.

Kerri Howell

Kerri is director of communications and media relations for the Whitman School. She is responsible for managing all internal and external communications with students, faculty, staff, alumni, members of the business community and other key stakeholders.After receiving her B.A. from State University of New York at Geneseo, she went on to earn her M.S. in communications management from Syracuse’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications, where she has served as an adjunct professor in the public relations department since 2004.
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