History Made at Deloitte Tax Case Study Competition

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The Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary made history this month when both undergraduate and graduate teams took first place for their divisions in the Deloitte Tax Case Study Competition held in Orlando, Florida. William and Mary is the first university to place first in both divisions.

As a member of the undergraduate team, I was really excited at the Awards Brunch on Sunday morning when the announcement was made that the W&M graduate team had received first place. I was equally excited when it was announced that the W&M undergraduate team had received first place," undergraduate team member Brian Adams told AccountingWEB

The Deloitte Tax Case Study Competition is an annual competition testing tax problem-solving skills, requiring each team to complete a complex hypothetical case study in a five-hour time period, testing the students’ time management and teamwork skills as well as their tax topic knowledge. Taxes represent the largest expenditure on the income statements of most companies, according to a statement from the Mason School of Business.


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This year’s victory marks the fifth time in the last six years that William and Mary’s undergraduate team has placed first in the competition. Members of the winning undergraduate team are Brian Adams, Clarissa Hong, Krystal Keeley and Bert Kolick.

"This has been a truly unforgettable semester in preparing for and participating in the Deloitte Tax Challenge. This has been the most challenging and enjoyable experience I have had at the College," Krysal Keeley, a member of the undergraduate team said.

This is the inaugural win for William and Mary’s graduate team. Team members are Kristin Hoffman, Domenica Levins, Shelley Lind and Allana Robinson.

"The work that I have done and the experiences I have gained in the tax area have convinced me that I want to have a career in taxation," says graduate team member Alanna Robinson.

Each member of the winning teams receives a $1,000 scholarship from the Deloitte Foundation, sponsor of the annual competition. The Mason School of Business Master of Accounting Program also receives $10,000 for each first place finish. These funds will be used for scholarships for accounting students. Including this year’s winnings, William and Mary teams have won approximately $170,000 in scholarships from the competition.

“The scholarships have been very beneficial in helping us attract high quality students to the MAcc (Master of Accounting) Program,” Professor James E. Smith said in a prepared statement.

Both of this year's winning teams are led by Professor Smith, Ph.D., the John S. Quinn Professor of Accounting. He also led undergraduate teams to victory in 1994, 1995, 1997, 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004. Smith coaches his students in five areas that the team knows as the “five T’s.”

  • Tax foundation: Acquisition of adequate tax knowledge of the internal revenues code and treasury regulations;
  • Tax research: Ability to identify tax issues and produce supportable conclusions;
  • Time management: Ability to work within the five-hour time period of the competition;
  • Teamwork: Recognition that no one team member is “the star;”
  • Taxlete: (Spin-off from athlete) The student who has mastered the four previously mentioned T’s.

"From my perspective, getting to know the students on the undergraduate team and the graduate team, has been a wonderful experience," Professor Smith tells AccountingWEB. "My function as coach was to bring them to the base of the mountain. Their responsibility was to climb the mountain and reach the summit as members of a team. As the results of the National Competition indicate, both teams reached their goals."

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