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Leventhal and Marshall Team Takes 2nd Place at FanTAXtic Case Competition

Leventhal and Marshall Team Takes 2nd Place at FanTAXtic Case Competition

Greg Kling, associate professor of the practice of accounting, led the team at National Competition held at Deloitte University.

Color photograph of faculty and staff at the USC Marshall School of Business.
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A team of USC Leventhal and Marshall students won second place in the Deloitte FanTAXtic Case Competition. The National Competition was held at Deloitte University in Westlake, Texas, on Jan. 20-22, 2023.

Led by Faculty Advisor and Associate Professor of the Practice of Accounting GREG KLING, the team included Leventhal students Lucy Pape BS/MBT ’23 and Alex Mainvielle ’25, as well as Marshall students Aaron Rubin ’25 and Parsa Shamlou ’25.

Deloitte created the FanTAXtic competition to educate and prepare the next generation of professionals in business and tax. The regional competition in October 2022 involved a case analysis over about three weeks, which the teams presented online to Deloitte partners. The top two teams from eight regions advanced to the national competition at Deloitte University, where they tackled an extension of the original case, competing for more than $50,000 in individual and institutional awards.

The national competition case concerned a hypothetical Deloitte client who wanted to open a business. In part one, the students had two hours to analyze and rank five equity investors. In part two, they were told which equity investor the client had chosen and given the financial statements to figure out how he should incorporate to minimize tax liability. They had four hours to prepare before presenting to the Deloitte partners.

“The whole process was such an amazing experience,” Mainvielle said. “I definitely learned a lot from the case and from each of my teammates, and Greg was an exceptional faculty facilitator who prepared us for the case well. I really enjoyed representing USC and the Leventhal School of Accounting.”

“I think as important as taking second place was the camaraderie, how they held each other accountable, and the belief they all had in themselves.”

— Greg Kling

Associate Professor of the Practice of Accounting

Mainvielle helped put the team together, Kling said, bringing in Rubin and Shamlou who were strong in finance. Kling recruited Pape, one of his former undergraduate students who brought significant tax knowledge as a Master of Business Taxation student.

“Our two introductory accounting courses prepared us from a critical thinking standpoint,” Mainvielle said. “Even if there were aspects of the case we weren’t sure about, we were able to do our due diligence and do the research required to solve some of these problems because we have the skill sets and tools that allowed us to find the answers. Lucy helped explain nuances in the tax code.”

Kling believes their enthusiasm contributed to their success. “I think as important as taking second place was the camaraderie, how they held each other accountable, and the belief they all had in themselves,” he said. “What we needed were students who cared, who were motivated and excited to compete.”

Rubin was confident from the beginning. “When we went into the regional competition, we had a very coherent and professional presentation,” Rubin said. “And I just felt that the work that we had done, and the understanding that we had about the topic, was going to ultimately lead us to success.

Kling said that putting together a Leventhal and Marshall team was inspired by Marshall Dean Geoff Garrett and Leventhal Dean William W. Holder, who consistently emphasize that the business and accounting students are one Marshall community.

“I think this was really a good example of following their lead,” Kling said. “It wasn’t about finding only Leventhal students. We reached out to the greater Marshall community. And that's what was exciting to me because it really felt like we viewed ourselves as one community. To me, that’s what was really special about this year.”