Commerce Undergrads Excel

Second Place in EDS Challenge

Four undergraduate students Erica Bown, a marketing major; Kara Hagen, also marketing; Michael Macaluso, a management major; and Charles Tripp, a finance major participated in the EDS challenge, held at EDS headquarters in Plano, Texas. The Illinois team took second place. Thirty-three schools participated, including Carnegie Mellon, Michigan, Purdue, Florida, Notre Dame, USC, Wis-consin, Brigham Young, Minnesota, Michigan State, Texas, Ohio State, Northwestern, Virginia, and Penn State. For the first time the contest included international schools and the first place winner was the Instituto Tecnologico Autonomo de Mexico.

According to faculty coach, Dan Stone, the Illinois team turned in a masterful performance in both the preparation of the case analysis and the presentation. "Several executives and academics told me that our team's presentations were the most professional they had ever seen." Mark Blickhan (BS Accountancy 1995), a participant last year, provided valuable pointers. The four members of the team worked extremely hard to prepare for this competition and then performed superbly. Each member received a $750 scholarship to mark their achievement.

"More than anything else, participating in the EDS Challenge made me realize how much I have learned at the University of Illinois. I now feel confident that I have the knowledge and skills needed to solve real world problems."

Erica Bown

Third in Arthur Andersen Tax Challenge

llinois has been one of the ten finalists in the Arthur Andersen Tax Challenge every year it has taken place. This gives us the distinction of being the only undergraduate team to participate in the national finals for the four years the competition has been held. This year the Illinois undergraduate team came in third in the nationals.

The Tax Challenge took place on November 17-19 at Andersen's St. Charles Conference Center near Chicago. UI accountancy alumnus Howard S. Engle, a tax partner at Andersen and president of the Commerce Alumni Association, is the architect of this event.

Each team is given a case to analyze and seven hours to complete a solution. Winners are announced on Sunday. The first prize is $20,000. The University of Illinois received $5,000 for third place.

Howard Engle, Erin Campbell, Jon Davis, Darby Willis, Gene Willis, Sara Campion, and Michelle Leman

Faculty coach Jon Davis said that "The case required lots of teamwork and critical thinking. Given that our team prepared for only a few weeks (some of the competitors trained for several months), our success reflects very well on the Project Discovery curriculum." Members of the team were Erin Campbell, Sara Campion, Michelle Leman, and Darby Willis, all seniors in the Project Discovery Program. Professor Gene Willis was the other faculty coach.

"Our success reflects very well on the Project Discovery curriculum."

Jon Davis, faculty coach

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