The ILLINOIS Dynasty reigns supreme in New York at PricewaterhouseCoopers headquarters. For an amazing third year in a row, business students from ILLINOIS won the national round of the PwC xACT case competition, part of the xTREME Case Competition designed to give students experience and exposure to real world accounting/auditing issues.
John Hedeman, assistant dean and coordinator for the ILLINOIS effort, called shortly after the announcement to share his excitement with everyone in the College. “We won! The youngest team ever assembled at ILLINOIS pulled off an unbelievable win.”
Students Daniel Ettleson, Steven Heiss, Nighath Hussain, Stephanie Korinek and Eric Rosenbaum each knew their task of achieving a national win was made even more difficult for the fact that a team from ILLINOIS had done it twice before. PwC judges would be looking to share the wealth with other contenders.
And yet, the students made history with this third successive win, competing against Bucknell University, Emory University, Indiana University, and top ranked University of Texas. In addition to cash and travel expenses, students will return home with the satisfaction of seeing “University of Illinois” inscribed on the base of the Montgomery Award, a silver bowl kept at PwC headquarters.
Heiss attributed the win to the amazing repertoire between all the members of his team including Hedeman and the PwC recruiting team, Tim Reierson, Ken Dembek, and Beth Compton. He recalled with profound respect the conclusion of the last practice before the actual competition, “The crowning moment came when I concluded our presentation and our mentors and advisers jumped out of their seats and broke into applause for us. That was the most confidence boosting moment that could have happened. It was such a great feeling to see those PwC professionals and Dean Hedeman be genuinely excited and happy for us.”
Heiss described the full group as more of a family than a team. They worked hard to prepare under less than ideal circumstances (Heiss often teleconferenced with his group from Germany where he was studying for a semester), they supported each other throughout, and they celebrated together afterward.
“This was an Illini effort in every sense of the term,” said Heiss.