Loyola Business Blog

Sellinger students compete in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Challenge

Loyola University Maryland undergraduate students in the Sellinger School of Business put their analytical thinking and decision-making skills into action for PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Challenge case competition. The competition models real-world business scenarios focusing on strategic issues facing companies all over the world.

For the competition’s first year at Loyola, “the turnout was staggering,” said John Peter Krahel, Ph.D., assistant professor of accounting and program moderator.  Eleven small teams totaling 48 students, ranging from freshmen to sophomores, reviewed a business case, developed a solution and presented to a panel of PwC professionals. 

An opportunity like Challenge gives underclassmen the chance to meet professionals from a firm like PwC, which is a rarity so early in their college careers.

Knowing that firms like PwC are actively seeking recruits may inspire greater determination and lead to better outcomes for our graduates two or three years down the road,” Krahel said.

After Challenge, participants walk away with a stronger sense of overall professionalism and improved presentation skills along with a broader network of relationships.

“This is a way for freshmen, even nonbusiness majors, to explore a career and lifestyle vastly different from what they might have imagined for themselves,” Krahel said.

The Oarsmen, a Loyola team consisting of sophomores Kara Podlovits, Thomas Rispoli and Justin Worster, won the year’s competition. Their task was to help restore the reputation of Greenlight Tires, a fictional Mississippi-based tire manufacturer whose tires were found discarded in a wetland.

“If I could ascribe their victory to one key advantage, it was their attention to detail,” Krahel said. “They articulated several options for their ‘client’ to consider, developed cash flow projections and pro forma balance sheets, calculated a reasonable price at which to set the merger, and even sought out other examples of large companies purchasing environmental cleanup firms.”

One judge said, “I would hire everyone on this team tomorrow if they graduated today.”