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Students Advance to Final Round of KPMG International Case Competition in New York City

KPMG ICCAfter a strong showing in the semi-finals of the KPMG International Case Competition in northern Virginia, four University of Pittsburgh College of Business Administration students have advanced to the final round of the competition, which will be held in New York City in February 2018. Pitt Business students Sebastian Deza, Matthew Jones, Adam White, and Marie DeCosse are on one of the six teams that made it to this final stage.

 

"We played the roles of consultants, advising a group of entrepreneurs with regard to their financial tech company. The specific task was to develop product and service lines that would appeal to underserved and unserved markets," says Marie DeCosse (BSBA–Accounting, Class of 2019).

 

"One of our strengths was to keep our recommendations in alignment with the client's values and goals. The tagline of this competition was 'Innovate. Disrupt. Transform.' With this in mind, our recommendations aimed to align with this tagline, remain realistic and explain the implementation of these ideas," explains DeCosse.

 

"This competition allowed me to apply basic classroom principles to real-world scenarios," says Adam White (BSBA–Finance, Class of 2020). "In essence, we are asked to be advisors for executives on complex operational solutions, which I enjoyed because we were able to act as leaders of the company," he says.

 

In the semi-finals round, KPMG provided the Pitt Business team with an interactive case preparation before the competition day. Determined to compete to the best of their ability, the team practiced regularly to ensure that they would be prepared for the competition. Securing a practice session at the KPMG offices in downtown Pittsburgh, the team rehearsed in accordance to the competition’s three-hour time constraint and practiced presenting their findings to KPMG professionals. After receiving feedback, the team continued to prepare for the semi-final round.

 

"I worked to condition my mind as best I could,” White says. “Case competitions are 40 percent solution and 60 percent delivery, so it is important to believe in yourself and present confidently."
 

Before the final round of the KPMG competition, the four Pitt Business students will participate in another practice round at the KPMG Pittsburgh office. This time, the team will present to senior managers, partners, and Pitt Business professors to effectively prepare for the high-pressure environment during the final round in New York City.

 

"The biggest advantages of participating are fine-tuning public speaking skills, being able to network with KPMG professionals, receiving valuable constructive criticism, and learning to work under pressure," says DeCosse. "The opportunities we have been given to network with KPMG professionals and the feedback we have received has been extremely beneficial. It will greatly contribute to our professional development.”

 

Participation in case competitions and other co-curricular experiences are a vital part of the student experience at Pitt Business.

 

"At Pitt Business, we aim to provide our students with opportunities and experiences that prepare them for professional environments. The KPMG International Case Competition allows our students to practice what they have learned in the classroom, apply it to a real-world situation, and continually improve their skills and network," says Audrey J. Murrell, associate dean of Pitt Business and director of the school’s David Berg Center for Ethics and Leadership.

“Our students’ success in the KPMG International Case Competition is another example of how Pitt Business takes its students from the classroom, to the city, to the world,” she says.