Business Students Win Campus KPMG Case Competition
by Sarah Small
A team of four College of Business students took first place in the KPMG Global Case Competition held on the ILLINOIS campus and will now compete in the national round of the competition in January.
Jason Febery, Angela Jiang and Meng Zhang, juniors, and Kyle Branyik, senior, won the case competition held on campus the weekend of November 6 and will now focus their attention on the upcoming national round of the competition.
The team calls itself “The Emporus Group,” said Febery, a student in the Hoeft Management and Technology Program studying Material Science Engineering and Finance. He said the team chose this name because the word “emporus” refers to a merchant in ancient Greece, and in the ancient times the merchants drove the economy and business world. The name is especially fitting for them now because the global finals for the KPMG will be hosted in Athens, Greece.
The team has been working together on case competitions since last year, Febery said. They have done about six or seven competitions together and have developed friendships and good working relationships with each other. In the KPMG competition, the judges complemented the team on how well its members work together, he said.
“We’ve worked as a team for a long time,” Febery said.
At the November 6 competition, the team competed with between 15 and 20 other teams of ILLINOIS students in a two-day competition held at the Business Instructional Facility.
“It’s very exciting because there was some tough competition,” Febery said. “We were up against some grad students in the competition. We were very proud of how well we did.”
In case competitions, teams are presented a business scenario and must offer the company solutions on how to improve the functionality of the company. There is usually something the company is doing wrong that needs to be fixed, Febery said.
“What the judges are looking for is clarity and understanding the problem, and that you’ve thought about the benefits and risks involved,” Febery said.
Since his team won the campus competition, it will compete in the national round of competition in January. The team will compete at the Chicago KPMG office where the students have three hours to read a case, analyze the problems and prepare a presentation. Once completed, the team will present via video conference to the KPMG judges.
Febery said the very limited time will be a big challenge for the team.
“You’re supposed to use everything that you’ve learned and then are expected to present to the judges three hours later,” he said.
Since cases are not known ahead of time, he said it is difficult for the team to practice, so to prepare, each member is focusing on a specific area such as risk analysis and others.
The ILLINOIS team will compete against six others for the top competition in Athens.
“(Case competitions) allow you to take what you’re learning in the classroom and apply it,” Febery said. “They give meaning to what you’re learning.”
For more information on the competition, visit: http://www.kpmgcampus.com/GlobalCaseCompetition/dates.shtml