Accounting students take a bite out of the Big Apple at KPMG competition

A team of four CSU accounting students is competing at the U.S. national finals of the KPMG International Case Competition (KICC). The winning team will represent the United States at the international finals in Lisbon, Portugal, April 10-14. CSU students Alex Bracht, Dylan Conner, Matt LaCascia, and Kevin Ramos-Aguilar, who make up team Mile High Assets, will be wrapping up national finals Feb. 24 in New York City.

CSU hosted the Campus Round of the KICC competition this past fall. The Mile High Assets won the competition and moved on to the KICC Regional in San Francisco in January. There, the team was victorious over teams from the University of California – Los Angeles, University of Southern California, University of Washington, University of Kansas and San Jose State.

Creative and innovative ideas

“I believe we won because our ideas were creative and innovative,” Bracht said. “We proposed a variety of solutions to the judges, including the implementation of a new social media platform and using data analytics to improve the efficiency of the hotel’s operations. However, what really made the biggest impression was our charisma. We worked well as a team, bounced ideas off of each other, and mixed a bit of humor into our presentation.”

KICC is one of the largest and most recognized case competitions among the Big Four accounting firms. More than 3,000 students from 399 universities across 25 countries came together to participate in the 2015-2016 competition.

KICC teams review a business case, analyze it, and present solutions to judges from KPMG leadership. Judging criteria include balanced participation among team members, effective and accurate analysis, realistic resolution recommendations and ability to defend ideas during a question and answer session.

“Teamwork is important, as well as being able to effectively get an idea across to another group of people,” LaCascia said. “The competitions have really helped my presentation skills, as we had to discuss topics that we had no prior knowledge of, with limited preparation time.”

Valuable real-world experience

KICC participants also get to experience a fast-paced world of casework and learn to collaborate to solve complex issues. The valuable real-world experience of the KICC competition often helps students get a head start in their careers.

“As a team full of accountants, you wouldn’t think of us as great public speakers,” Bracht said. “However, the world of public accounting will require us to present business solutions to clients in many different industries. This competition is specifically designed to help students practice their business consulting skills.”

Tremendous achievement

“The most important thing we have learned from this experience is how crucial it is to have confidence in yourself and your abilities,” Bracht said. “Although we were all incredibly nervous during our first two presentations, we remained fully convinced that we would be competing in the next city.”

“The KPMG International Case Competition (KICC) provides a great opportunity for students to test their ability to develop innovative, real-world business solutions in an exciting and challenging learning experience,” said Audrey Gramling, chair of CSU’s Accounting Department. “It is a tremendous achievement for our students to make it to U.S. Finals. I appreciate KPMG providing this opportunity to our students and I sincerely congratulate these students on this outstanding accomplishment.”