Business students from the University of Illinois last week won the national round of the PwC xACT division for the third consecutive year. The xACT and the xTAX divisions are part of PwC US's xTREME Games, now in its ninth year.
Illinois was one of five schools represented in the xACT finals held January 20-21 in New York. The school competed against students from Bucknell University, Emory University, Indiana University, and the University of Texas.
Members of the winning team were Daniel Ettleson, Steven Heiss, Nighath Hussain, Stephanie Korinek, and Eric Rosenbaum, according to the University of Illinois's Department of Accountancy. In addition to cash and travel expenses, students also will see “University of Illinois” inscribed on the base of the Montgomery Award, a silver bowl kept at PwC headquarters.
The xTREME Games are designed to build the critical thinking, teamwork, and communication skills of undergraduate accounting students through real-world business challenges. The program helps to create future business leaders and inspire students' interest in accounting careers while promoting important professional skills, according to PwC.
The latest xTREME competition began with a series of local campus events held last fall at 84 schools across the country. More than 4,500 students competed in five-person teams for the chance to represent their schools at the national level.
The games are held in two divisions: xTAX, short for Extreme Tax, and xACT, short for Extreme Accounting. Teams develop and present solutions to actual tax and accounting issues. The five best in each division advance to the finals, earning $10,000 each and an additional $5,000 for their faculty advisors. PwC has awarded nearly $2 million in total xTREME prize money to date.
The five schools that will be represented at the national xTAX finals January 27-28 in Washington, D.C., are: Brigham Young University, Bryant University, the University of California-Berkeley, the University of Houston, and the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
“Participants are gaining valuable experience by diving into real issues, outside the classroom,” said Amy Thompson, US Campus Recruiting Leader at PwC. “They are making decisions and collaborating to solve complex challenges – in much the same way that our professionals work with each other and with our clients every day.”
Since 2008, PwC has supported colleges and universities – and the students they educate – with more than $30 million in funding. The funds have been used for xTREME and a variety of other curriculum enrichment initiatives, such as the incorporation of IFRS into curriculum and faculty learning programs, according to the Big Four firm.