By Linda Nguyen
Baylor accounting students are xTREME.
A Baylor accounting team was one of five teams nationally to qualify to compete in PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) national xTREME games in xTAX or xTREME Taxation.
The team, which consisted of Waco senior Reenal Bhakta, Edmond, Okla. sophomore Kendall Buskirk, Richardson senior Lauren Farish, Austin sophomore Brianna Goulet and Dallas junior Meredith Wachel, won $1,000 for being the top team at Baylor and $10,000 for being one of the top five teams nationally.
On Thursday and Friday, the team of students traveled to Washington, D.C., to compete in the national competition.
The other teams to qualify for the xTAX national competition were Binghampton University, Pennsylvania State University, University of Wisconsin and Oklahoma State University.
Elonda Benton, a PricewaterhouseCoopers campus sourcing manager, said the team competed against 460 other teams from across the country in order to qualify for the national competition.
“The xTAX competition is a case competition that is focused on a tax case,” Benton said. “The focus of the competition is to give students exposure to real-life business scenarios. At the same time, we are looking to raise awareness on campus, awareness to the accounting profession as a whole, and also to give some insight as a whole to what it’s like to work at PwC.”
Wachel said the first stage of qualifying for the national competition was the Baylor competition, where they competed against other Baylor teams.
“First, we were given a case and we had to look over the case and put together a proposal,” Wachel said. “We presented our proposal to the judges at Baylor. They saw 10 different teams and chose us as the winner.”
Wachel said a video of their presentation was sent to the national competition where judges evaluated their presentation. The team was chosen to advance to the national competition.
Wachel said the team gave their presentation Friday morning over a case they were given prior to the competition date.
“They gave us a new case,” Wachel said. “We changed the presentation format of our old case, but it was essentially the same information just with new judges.”
The competition concluded with a lunch and presentation about PricewaterhouseCoopers and the first place team was announced. Although Baylor did not place first in the competition, the team members agreed they grew professionally as individuals and as a team from the competition. Oklahoma State University, the only other Big 12 school in attendance, won first place.
Goulet said the competition opened her eyes to accounting.
“It’s been so cool,” Goulet said. “When we first competed in the Baylor competition, I did it for fun, but when we won at Baylor, it was exciting. There were 460 teams that competed and the top five went to D.C. The whole thing was an amazing experience. It’s so unique. I’m never going to have another experience like that.”
Goulet said she was able to network with teams from other areas of the country at the national competition.
“We got to meet lots of teams from different areas,” Goulet said.
Goulet said although the team did not place first in the competition, the overall experience was worth all their hard work.
Wachel also said she enjoyed the experience competing in the xTAX competitions.
“Overall, it was just a very positive experience,” Wachel said. “I loved my team and I think we bonded more than just working together. We enjoyed what we did.”