In January, a team of five students from Syracuse University’s Martin J. Whitman School of Management placed third in the 20th national FanTAXtic case study competition presented by Deloitte. This year’s case challenged teams to advise a new business venture on the best way to acquire the engineering expertise required to develop their products in the midst of the pandemic. Teams had to consider how tax and other applicable issues could impact the business strategy.
The competition began with 54 teams from over 40 colleges and universities during the regional competition in November 2020. The Whitman team placed in the top six in the region to move on to the national competition. Winning team members consisted of Allen Bailey ’21, Mira Berenbaum ’23, Zachary Byle ’23, Samantha Danylchuk ’23 and Mark Di Meglio ’22. They were led by Ginger Wagner, professor of accounting practice, who has advised the Whitman teams every year.
“Having never taken a tax class, I learned so much, especially from the upperclassmen,” says Danylchuk. “Overall, it was such an amazing learning experience, and I’m so thankful for Professor Wagner for this opportunity. We wouldn’t have won without her. She cheered us on the whole way throughout both rounds and was always so happy and motivating during our meetings.”
This year was the first time that the FanTAXtic competition took place in an entirely virtual format. Wagner shares, “The virtual competition was a challenge for the students. They adapted beautifully though.” She explains how there were both advantages and disadvantages to the all-online platform. “It was easier to meet to some degree because there were no travel requirements, but trying to organize a spreadsheet, calculations, research and presentation while nobody was in the same room was difficult,” she says.
Danylchuk adds, “Participating in this competition virtually was challenging because we were either sharing an Excel file on Zoom or all trying to work on the same PowerPoint from different places in a time crunch.”
The competition allows students to gain more knowledge about the tax profession and apply what they learn to real-world scenarios through case studies. “This is a very real-world example of the life of a CPA,” Wagner says. “I worked on many research projects like this when I was in the field. The client would call with questions and we had to find the answers, and we would have to put together client letters that explain the situation.”
Each team member was awarded a $500 scholarship, and the School was awarded $2,500.
Sponsored by Deloitte Tax LLP and supported by the Deloitte Foundation, Deloitte FanTAXtic offers experiential learning that complements the classroom to help prepare the next generation of tax talent for a career in business and tax. The interactive program includes case simulation, role playing and presentations which provide students with insights and perspectives on challenges facing the profession today, future trends and the overall changing business tax marketplace. Deloitte Tax LLP professionals participate in the event and offer the students support and guidance throughout the competition.
Learn more about the Whitman School of Management’s accounting program highlights.
- IMPRESS Program Continues to Teach Career Skills, Enable Networking Despite Pandemic - May 17, 2021
- Whitman Team Earns Highest Placement in 10 Years for CFA Institute Research Challenge - April 22, 2021
- Looking for a Post-Grad Destination? Up-and-Coming Cities Make Great Options for Business Students - April 7, 2021