UB accounting juniors rise to the top in PwC Challenge

The 2017 PwC Challenge winners. Clockwise, from top left: Chan, Berr, Jeong, Lee and Lim.

Release Date: November 8, 2017

“We learned to consider every idea and never underestimate the power of a collaborative team, especially with help from great mentors like ours”
Jonathan Berr, Undergraduate Accounting Student
University at Buffalo School of Management

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Five University at Buffalo School of Management accounting students will share a $1,250 prize as the winners of the 14th annual PwC Challenge, held Nov. 3 on UB’s North Campus.

The winning team, named “Best Analytics,” was made up of accounting juniors Jonathan Berr of Oceanside; William Chan of Brooklyn; Soyoung Jeong of Busan, South Korea; Sangrok Lee of Buffalo; and Dong Hwan (Aiden) Lim of Buffalo.

Sixty School of Management accounting students participated in this year’s PwC Challenge, a competition PwC sponsors at about 100 campuses across the country. Participating students put their decision-making, presentation and teamwork skills to the test by analyzing and proposing solutions for a real-world strategic issue.

This year’s teams examined a grocery chain that’s considering replacing part of its workforce with automated checkout machines to fund its expansion plans. With advice from a faculty coach, PwC mentor and student mentor, the teams evaluated the costs and benefits of increased automation and gave their recommendations to fund the company’s short- and long-term growth.

Teams presented their analyses to a panel of PwC judges: Nathanael Carbrey, BS/MBA ’12, senior associate; Eric Chapman, MS ’08, senior manager; and Heather Warnes, BS ’11, MS ’12, senior associate.

“We learned to consider every idea and never underestimate the power of a collaborative team, especially with help from great mentors like ours,” says Berr, a winning team member. “Participating in competitions like the PwC Challenge is a great way to put yourself out there, make new connections and gain valuable presentation skills.”

Alex Ampadu, clinical associate professor of accounting and law, coached the winning team. Kelsey Gasiorczyk, BS ’13, MS ’14, assurance senior associate at PwC, and Andrew Freedman, a senior accounting major in the School of Management, worked with the winning team as their PwC mentor and student mentor, respectively.

Coming in second place were juniors Dongmin Chen of Brooklyn, Robert Dong of Queens, Song Lin of White Plains, Samantha Ng of Whitestone and Jing Zhang of Buffalo, under the team name “LIFO the Party.” Coached by Weihong Xu, associate professor of accounting and law, the team shared a $1,000 prize.

In third place, Team “Double Declining Dambra” — named after the squad’s faculty coach, Michael Dambra — was made up of juniors Thomas Coniglio of Lackawanna, Maddie Davis of Rochester, Bryce Gatto of Westfield, Kelly Graser of Amherst and Vinicius Moura of Hyannis, Massachusetts.

The UB School of Management is recognized for its emphasis on real-world learning, community and economic impact, and the global perspective of its faculty, students and alumni. The school also has been ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, Forbes and U.S. News & World Report for the quality of its programs and the return on investment it provides its graduates. For more information about the UB School of Management, visit mgt.buffalo.edu.

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