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Campus business students compete in first national tournament

10/24/2011 —



For the first time in campus history, a team of business students from Penn State New Kensington competed in the PricewaterhouseCoopers' "Extreme Accounting Games," a national collegiate business tournament.

Sophomore captain Rajesh Vadlamudi of Hyderabad, India, sophomore Grant Schoenfelder of Murrysville, senior Marc Meggantz of Fox Chapel, junior Megan Emanuel of Murrysville, and freshman Paige Campbell of East Deer represented the campus Oct. 19 in preliminary rounds at Penn State University Park. Known as "PwC xACT," the competition gives students the opportunity to work through some of the same issues that challenge business and government leaders.

Thirty-five teams, comprising undergraduate and graduate students, devised solutions for business cases that required marketing, management and financial analysis. The New Kensington campus group's case study involved the best option for client: acquire an existing company with significant financial and operational risks, or build a new company from scratch. Presentations were evaluated by a panel of judges from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

"Our students knew their material very well and worked effectively as individuals and as a team," said Rujirutana "Dr. A" Mandhachitara, associate professor of business administration and advisor to the campus team. "They learned a great deal about teamwork, analytical and problem solving skills, and the challenges in time management. It was a valuable learning experience for them." 

The New Kensington team was the first non-University Park campus team to compete in Penn State's opening round. Previously, participating teams were composed of students from the Smeal College of Business. Although the New Kensington team did not advance to the next round, their analytical skills garnered praise from the judges.

"Two judges commented that the team came from a completely different perspective, and they liked the financial and marketing recommendations the team made," said Mandhachitara, who teaches upper-level marketing classes at the New Kensington campus.  "They said that they had never thought about these ideas before." 

Sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers, the competition annually attracts more than 4,000 students from 80 colleges and universities. Established in 2003, the event uses real-world business challenges to test critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. Each national finalist team is awarded $10,000 and an additional $5,000 is given to their faculty advisors.

Penn State New Kensington offers a bachelor's degree in business and an associate degree in business administration.

For more on the campus business program, visit http://www.nk.psu.edu/Academics/Degrees/business_welcome.htm

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