A team of four business students from the University of Nebraska–Lincoln won the regional Deloitte FanTAXtic case competition held in Chicago. The students will go head-to-head with eight other regional winners at a national competition held January 18-20 in Dallas to compete for more than $50,000 in individual scholarships and institutional awards.
The team includes Braelyn Isernhagen, a sophomore accounting major from Deshler, Nebraska; Ben Moe, a junior accounting major from Burnsville, Minnesota; Ashley Tyler, a junior accounting and finance major from Omaha, Nebraska; and Austen Vandersteen, a sophomore finance major from Naperville, Illinois. They demonstrated the ability to work collaboratively to solve a complex business case simulation that provided insights and perspectives on challenges facing the profession today. A panel of live and virtual judges recognized students for the quality of their overall presentation.
Isernhagen said the team spent 20-25 hours preparing for the competition. Their hard work up front proved fruitful to make the most of the competition’s opportunity.
“We got experience with a tax problem that we could easily encounter in our careers someday. It was also a great way to network and gain exposure with a Big Four accounting firm like Deloitte,” she said.
Kay Maresh, J.D., assistant professor of practice in accountancy and executive in residence, served as the team’s faculty advisor. She said the recipe for their success included stretching their strengths and not being afraid to put in the prep work to be competition-ready.
“They applied concepts learned in the classroom to solve the problem and gained valuable experience presenting and thinking on their feet to answer questions from the judges,” Maresh said. “In addition to working hard, they valued each other’s strengths and were supportive of each other,” she said.
They got to know each other’s strengths while practicing sample case studies and presenting them to School of Accountancy faculty. Isernhagen said each member brought a unique mixture of knowledge, experience and strengths to the team.
“Ben and Ashley utilized information they learned in a tax course this semester to give us a good start. Austin navigates Excel very well. Together we were able to put together a very professional presentation to deliver. Our professionalism and application of our tax knowledge set us apart from other teams,” Isernhagen said.
The annual competition is sponsored by Deloitte Tax LLP and supported by the Deloitte Foundation.