posted on: Thursday January 28, 2010
Kaitlyn Monast ’13 / News Staff
Accountants specialize in the art of numbers, but five Providence College students took accounting to an extreme in a national competition in which they won $10,000.Held annually by Pricewater-houseCoopers [PwC], one of the world’s largest professional service firms, Extreme Accounting [xACT] gives students a chance to get away from the safety of the classroom and enter the world of real business.At the fifth annual kickoff night at PC in November, an estimated 40 students received a packet with a simulated business case. The case involved a research and development company called Infinity Aeronautics. The company was out of money after trying to create an alternative fuel-helicopter.The case replicated the position many companies are being put into today. The companies had to decide whether it was best to file for Chapter Eleven Bankruptcy or to utilize government aid. With $1,000 at stake, each group was given two weeks to research, weighing the pros and cons of each decision.Ryan Portenoy ’12, Erin Kelly ’11, Kathleen Kelly ’11, Matt Bruckerhoff ’12, and Jessica Ho ’10 used businesses who unsuccessfully filed for Chapter Eleven to persuade their way to the $1,000 prize. While the money was more than enough of a reward, the team received an even sweeter surprise. For the first time in PC history, the winning team was asked to compete at the national level. Out of 2,000 competitors across the country, five teams were chosen to compete in New York City for the Montgomery Award.”During the competition, all of the students were videotaped with no school identifiers, and a DVD of the campus’s winning team’s performance was evaluated by a national review committee,” faculty mentor Carol Hartley, Department of Accountancy, said. “Making it to the national finals this year is a tribute to the overall quality of our students.”The team used the feedback given to them at the Providence competition by the judges and Hartley. They had from November to January to make the necessary changes to their presentation. As mentor, Hartley helped students connect with PC alumni who worked with PwC allowing students to further their research. The team spent even more time sifting through The Wall Street Journal for research, speaking to alumni, and strengthening their argument, ensuring that all judges’ questions involving New York and the economy could be answered with ease.This past weekend the team finally traveled to PwC in New York City to compete in the National PwC xACT competition. The first night was spent relaxing in the Big Apple getting to know the company. Friday was back to work for the team, presenting in front of top executives of PwC.