University of Southern California

Leventhal Students Win $9,000 at Deloitte Accounting Seminar
Four Juniors Take Second Place in Accounting Case Competition
May 6, 2009 • by News at Marshall

Four undergraduate students from the USC Leventhal School of Accounting, part of the Marshall School of Business, won second place in the recent National Student Case Study Seminar sponsored by the Deloitte Foundation. Each student won a $1,000 scholarship, and USC received an institutional award of $5,000.

The achievement marked yet another strong showing by Marshall in a national or international case competition, where student teams analyze a business situation, or case, and present their solutions before a panel of judges. This academic year, Marshall teams achieved what no other university has ever done: win 1st place in three international case competitions, dealing with broad, global business issues.

The Deloitte case competition, held April 11 in Scottsdale, Arizona, focused on complex financial accounting issues that have arisen through that firm's consultation process.

The USC team – Ryan Christensen, William "Spike" Whitney, Kelly Williams, and Jenny Zha, all juniors – advanced to the national event because they had earlier won a regional Deloitte competition, in which they bested two teams from the University of California at Los Angeles, a Loyola Marymount University team, and several other USC teams. The winning regional team from USC included another student, Clifton Smith, but he was studying abroad this semester.

At the national competition, the USC Marshall team placed second to Michigan State. The other competing schools were Florida A & M, University of Houston, University of Washington and University of Wisconsin.

"I believe our team did an excellent job preparing their case, grasping the technical issues, anticipating possible questions of the judges, and presenting in a seamless fashion," said Rose Layton, professor of clinical accounting and the team’s faculty advisor.

Team members said the experience was among their best at USC.

"I think it's a great launching point for my future in accounting. I had a lot of fun, networking and meeting people," said Williams, who's from Laguna Niguel, California, and is double majoring in accounting at Leventhal and business administration at Marshall.

"That was my first national one," Whitney, an accounting major from Pasadena, California, said. "It was really cool to be part of the team, staying up late til the wee hours preparing for competition. I enjoyed it a lot." The night before competition, the team worked until 1 a.m. and then awakened at 6 a.m. for last-minute improvements before their 8:30 a.m. presentation, he said.

About the USC Marshall School of Business
Consistently ranked among the nation's premier schools, USC Marshall is internationally recognized for its emphasis on entrepreneurship and innovation, social responsibility and path-breaking research. Located in the heart of Los Angeles, one of the world's leading business centers and the U.S. gateway to the Pacific Rim, Marshall offers its 5,700-plus undergraduate and graduate students a unique world view and impressive global experiential opportunities. With an alumni community spanning 123 countries, USC Marshall students join a worldwide community of thought leaders who are redefining the way business works.