The UT Tower will be bathed in orange light on Wednesday to celebrate a McCombs School of Business victory in the Deloitte FanTAXtic Case Competition. McCombs' five-person team took home a $10,000 reward for the University of Texas at Austin, $2,000 in personal scholarships for each team member and the priceless pride that comes from defeating the defending champion, the College of William and Mary.
The national competition was held at Deloitte University in Dallas Jan. 18-20. The team, made up of accounting graduate students David Patterson, Scott Huff, and Michelle Niakan, plus Maggie Hood, honors finance major, and David O'Neill, accounting major, first competed against seven regional teams in early November. The teams were given several weeks to prepare a presentation on a complex business tax case regarding partnership tax and international tax codes.
Then, the winning teams from each of the nine regions across the United States met to compete for the national title. For the national event, however, the teams were given only general areas to research prior to the competition. Once they arrived in Dallas, they were given the new case and two hours to prepare a client memo, which they then presented to the "client" judges. The following morning, they were given new facts, more questions and three hours to create a presentation.
Patterson said the hardest part of the competition was working so quickly with so much new information.
"The national competition was really high pressure because we had never seen any of the facts," Patterson said. "We had a general idea of what they would ask, but we didn't have any of the numbers or questions."
O'Neill said he is thankful for the experience because it gave him a better understanding of what to expect in the future.
"This is a beneficial experience because I get to see what tax professionals do on a day to day basis," O'Neill said. "It is good to apply what you learn in class to what you do in the job."
Patterson and O'Neill agreed that one of the most rewarding aspects of the competition was the friendships formed.
"I definitely think that it was a valuable experience, and I would recommend it for anyone. There is a lot of pressure, but there is a pressure in the real world with deadlines, also," Patterson said. "You're also working with a team that's very smart, and that's a lot of fun. It's nice to have that experience and build camaraderie amongst the team."
This story originally appeared on McCombs Today.