By Rob Starr, Big4.com Content Manager
Designed in 2002 to familiarize students with the tax profession early in their academic careers, the Deloitte FanTAXtic National Case Study Competition was recently held at Deloitte University. Brigham Young University’s five-student team won the study competition, $2,000 in scholarships for each student on the winning team and a $10,000 institutional award late last month. Carl Allegretti, chairman and CEO, Deloitte Tax LLP and Carol Lindstrom, president, Deloitte Foundation, supplied an overivew of the competition via email.
Q: Can you fill us in on the history of Deloitte FanTAXtic National Case Study Competition?
A: Deloitte FanTAXtic originated in 2002 and is designed to familiarize students with the tax profession early in their academic careers. The interactive case study competition includes role playing and presentations to help students better understand the types of experiences and business challenges they can expect from a career in tax. The finals are held at Deloitte University, Deloitte’s landmark campus for learning and leadership development.
Q: What purpose does it serve?
A: The competition offers students real-world scenarios, professional guidance, and a chance to win scholarship money for themselves and grants for their school. Studying a subject in school is one thing – applying that knowledge in the real world is an entirely different experience. The FanTAXtic case study competition enables undergraduate and graduate accounting students to gain hands-on experience and opportunities to work with Deloitte professionals. At the same time, we are helping to prepare students to succeed, which aligns
with our Deloitte Foundation’s mission to develop the talent of the future.
Q: How does the competition work?
A: FanTAXtic is a case study competition that combines learning and fun, offering young people a window into their future careers. The Deloitte Foundation and Deloitte professionals across the country help support FanTAXtic, which includes competitions at both the regional and national level. Our Deloitte professionals play the roles of clients in the competition simulations, mentor the participants, and judge the outcomes. In the end, the teams that produce the best case-study solutions win scholarship money for team members and grants for their schools.
Q: What was the issues-driven business tax case this year?
A: This year’s case was based on a fictitious client in the biotech research and development industry. The client created three product lines that were well-received in the market, but the Board needed to make some hard decisions to take the company to the next level – the company needed to “shrink to grow.”
The student teams advised the client on the effects of divesting two of the business units by
either selling or exchanging the assets. The third business unit had the potential to improve the world and, at the same time, yield substantial profits. The students were tasked with advising the client on whether to form a joint venture with another biotech company, or “go public” with the streamlined company through an initial public offering.
Q: What was exceptional about this year’s winner?
A: We are continually impressed by the caliber of the students participating in this competition. The creative thinking and teamwork on display are energizing and hold great promise for the future of our profession.
Brigham Young University’s five-student team won the competition this year, as well as $2,000 in scholarships for each student on the winning team and a $10,000 institutional grant. The BYU team won because of their exceptional presentation skills, strong understanding of the tax code, and their ability to respond to judge’s questions with accuracy and applicability to the case simulation.
Q: What are the future plans for the Deloitte FanTAXtic National Case Study Competition?
A: We look forward to continuing this long-standing event and providing students each year with real-world scenarios that will challenge them and provide an opportunity for learning about the tax profession. The next annual FanTAXtic event is in November 2015, however our commitment to tax education is a year-round commitment. In fact, we’re focused on ongoing education initiatives with universities across the areas of tax, audit, advisory and consulting through classroom curriculum development, grants, cutting-edge research and insights on excellence in teaching. Our current and future plans for working with education institutions is to provide their students with the skills, attributes and behaviors needed to secure and sustain employment.