Marietta students take top prize at business case competition

Aaron Tice ’17 (St. Marys, West Virginia) has a simple explanation as to why he and two other Marietta College students recently won the annual Tau Pi Phi national business case competition in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“I feel we won because we worked well as a team and went into the competition with a win-or-bust attitude,” said Tice, who is majoring in both Finance and Public Accounting. “The competition was new for me. We received our first case at noon on Friday. We had until 4:30 to create a one-page executive summary and prepare a presentation about our conclusions. The presentation had to be 20-minutes long.  On Saturday we received another case at 10 a.m. and had until 12:30 p.m. to be prepared for a Q&A session. I feel the reason we did so well was because we shook every judges hand and made a personal connection with the judges. We looked at it more as a business meeting than a case-study competition.”

Also on the winning team were Caleb Hester ’16 (Lancaster, Ohio) andMorgan Spradling ’16 (Hurricane, West Virginia). Marietta’s team competed against nine others from colleges and universities in Ohio and Pennsylvania. 

“The team was honored to represent Marietta College at the competition,” said Spradling, who is majoring in Public Accounting and Land & Energy Management. “It was a great opportunity to put to use everything we have learned in our classes in a real-life situation. Our well-rounded education from Marietta allowed us, as three accounting majors, to analyze cases with little to no accounting focus and compete well against the other teams.”

Hester attributed much of their success to Marietta’s professors, especially the advisers for the group — Dr. John Fazio and Prof. David Mead.

 “We are expected to read and discuss WSJ articles every day at the beginning of class, respond to case studies in professional memo and email format, and deliver effective presentations about research topics that interest us for all of our accounting courses,” said Hester, who is majoring in Finance and Public Accounting. “This, combined with our extensive internship experience, provided us the analytical skills and confidence we needed to win this competition.”

Hester interned with Nationwide Insurance and PricewaterhouseCoopers, Spradling with Brick Street Insurance and Caterpillar and Tice with Perry & Associates.

Fazio, Assistant Professor, accompanied the group to Pittsburgh.

“My greatest ‘takeaway’ from the event revolves around the judges comments that the Marietta College team far exceeded the competition, and one significant factor was the communication and social skills exhibited by the team members,” he said.

Mead said the entire B&E department is proud of all the students who participate in these type of competitions.

“It is good experience for them and helps to prepare them for the work world they will soon be in. The competition draws not only on their major field of study, but on the entire business curriculum they have studied,” he said. “Whether they win or not, students typically return from these events with greater confidence and self-esteem. Two students from this year’s team were repeat competitors at the event and we are especially pleased with their determination to participate a second time with a personal goal to bring a trophy back to the College.”