Students Win Deloitte National Case Study Competition


Five Fordham students won the Deliotte FanTAXic competition. (Courtesy of Benjamin Haney)

Five Fordham students made up the winning team at the 19th annual Deloitte FanTAXtic national case study competition on Jan. 17 and 18 at Deloitte University in Dallas, Texas.

The students competed against nine other universities from around the country in this national competition. Each of the nine universities that competed won the Deloitte FanTAXtic competition in their respective regions.

The competition required students to present the best analysis on a complex, issue-driven business tax case. This year’s case challenged students to analyze the impact of using debt versus equity to expand operations for a startup venture, according to a press release Deloitte put out.

Steve Kimble, chairman and CEO of Deloitte Tax LLP, congratulated all of the students that participated for their technical proficiency, teamwork and innovative thinking in the press release.

“These students are truly getting a real-world experience that provides the opportunity to build their skills and be exposed to the types of challenges that will face them as they prepare for the tax profession of tomorrow,” said Kimble.

Vickie Carr, partner at Deloitte Tax LLP and Deloitte Foundation board member, said the FanTAXtic competition shows students what a career in the tax industry is like.

“Aligning with our mission to help prepare the next generation of talent, the competition connects the academic experience to real-world business scenarios enabling students to use a variety of technical and soft skills to deliver a solution to the case,” Carr said. “I am continually impressed by the caliber of students participating in this competition.”

Meghan Keough, GSB ’20, was one of the students who competed at the competition. She said she has been interested in taxes since she took an introductory class her junior year.

She will be starting full-time in PwC’s Core Assurance practice in a few months and has been looking for opportunities to learn more about taxes before focusing on audit work.

“Because I liked the intro tax class so much, I decided to take Professor Veliotis’ advanced class,” said Keough. “While I was in it, he mentioned that he was looking for another senior for the regional competition. I sent him my resumé and he placed me on a team.”

Benjamin Haney, GSB ’22, got involved in the competition after receiving an email last spring inviting students to apply for the competition.

“I applied despite not having a particularly strong interest in accounting; it just seemed like a unique experience,” Haney said. “It ended up being one of the best decisions I’ve made. It led to me developing a love for accounting and deciding to pursue it as a career.”

Keough said the competition had two parts that each built off of the presentation that the team gave at the regional competition last semester.

The night of Friday, Jan. 17, they were given two hours to prepare a tax research memo and supporting calculations based off of a new scenario.

“The scenario was that one of the owners of the fictional company that we had previously consulted for had inherited a stake in a new business, and we had to consider both tax and non-tax considerations to recommend whether or not he should take over managing the business,” said Keough.

The next morning, they were given a new scenario and asked to create a 10 minute presentation to be judged by Deloitte tax professionals.

“This time, the scenario was that the company from Regionals was looking to expand its operations, and we needed to recommend whether it should take on debt or equity to finance the expansion,” she said.

Keough said the team only had a few hours to prep for each challenge, but ended up having a lot of free time to meet other students and professionals in the tax field.
Haney said the competition fostered his passion for accounting.

“The experience was absolutely incredible. Deloitte University was a remarkable campus and an amazing place to stay and explore,” he said.

Keough said she loved the experience, but the time constraints made it stressful.

She said it was interesting to work on a case that was a realistic representation of what a tax professional does because most class projects do not go into the same level of detail.

“We had to work very quickly, so it was tough to delegate the work on the spot (especially the first night when we didn’t really know what to expect), but the time passed so fast that we only had to focus on the cases for a few hours total,” said Keough.

Keough said the free time they had throughout the weekend involved a bunch of great events and that Deloitte University, the training center where the competition was held, was really cool.

Keough said this is the first time that a team from Fordham has placed at Nationals and that she was so proud of the team.

“I think the reason we were able to do so was because we worked so well together,” Keough said. “Since we had to work so quickly, we didn’t have much time to decide how to split up the work, but I was really impressed by the way that everyone stepped up to take on different parts of the projects so that we could get everything done. I’m so grateful to have had this experience, and I would recommend the competition to anyone interested in accounting.”

Haney said a lot of people encouraged them to be proud just for winning the region and not to stress too much about the national competition.

“But everyone on our team had the goal of winning. We were honored to represent Fordham well and bring back the championship,” said Haney.