Wright State accounting students placed in the final four for the 14th time at the 2011 Institute for Management Accountants (IMA) national competition. The students’ analysis of the case and 15-minute video presentation earned the team the opportunity to be one of four teams nationwide to compete before the IMA panel of judges in Orlando.
This year’s team included Kate Lash, Master of Accountancy student, B.S.B. ’10; Jayme Overfield, senior in accounting, finance, and financial services; Brea Sheeks, MBA student, B.S.B. ’10; Brent Royer, senior accounting major and Corey Pennington, senior accounting major, B.S.B. ’11.
“We are extremely proud of our students’ capabilities and their commitment to excel year after year at the national level. Our students are self-selected, and devote their own personal time to prepare for the competition,” said James Greenspan, Ph.D., accountancy department chair.
This year’s case involved TransGlobal Airlines, a government-run airline in a country moving toward capitalism. In analyzing the case, the team had to address the sale of stock, first-time competition from other airlines, operational efficiency, and achieving profit goals as governmental subsidies were eliminated.
David Bukovinksy, professor of accounting and team advisor, said “Students begin working on the case during fall term. Our students a faced a double challenge with spring final exam week looming over their heads the same week their presentation was due at the national competition.”
Corey Pennington, senior accounting major and a participant in the 2010 national competition said, “This year’s calculations were very challenging. I was able to dig deeper into my accounting education and apply the skills and knowledge I’ve gained in the context of an economy drastically different from our own. Participating in the IMA competition is by far one of the most rewarding activities that I have experienced in college.” Pennington is leaving on a cross-country bicycle trip after graduation to raise funds and awareness for affordable housing and help build affordable homes across the U.S. He will begin Wright State’s Master’s of Accountancy program in the fall. Pennington is also student ambassador for the Ohio Society of CPAs and vice president of Wright State’s Beta Alpha Psi Chapter.
Jayme Overfield, a senior majoring in accounting, finance, and financial services said “Making it to the final four gave us the opportunity to work with students from other top programs and to network with managerial accounting professionals from diverse sectors and from all over the U.S. The experience of presenting to IMA professionals can’t be matched. It’s much more challenging than defending your analysis in the classroom.” Overfield has completed a tax internship with Delotte in Cincinnati and plans to start her MBA in the fall with the goal of getting her CPA and working in public accounting.
Brent Royer, senior accounting major, found that the most challenging aspect of the case was breaking the costs down for each market segment and then down to the exact cost for each one-way flight. “We spent over 50 hours on the cost analysis alone. Working with other students who were highly focused and determined made the whole experience a lot of fun. I grew by working on the analytical and strategic aspects of the case and by meeting new friends and working as a close-knit team”. Royer has completed an audit internship at Deloitte and currently works at BHA, his family-owned business, in an operations, sales, and accounting role.
Brea Sheeks, an MBA student, who received her B.S.B. in 2010 with majors in accounting and finance, found that prioritizing their analysis was the most challenging aspect of the case. The students had to make tough choices to stay within the 15-minute time limit while being creative and engaging in their video production and backing up their key recommendations.
Kate Lash received her B.S.B. in 2010 with majors in accounting and finance. She also participated in the Wright State 2009 and 2010 teams selected for the Final Four and is a student ambassador for the Ohio Society of CPAs. Lash will complete her Master’s of Accountancy this summer and begin a full-time position with Clark Schaefer Hackett. Lash enjoyed the challenge of responding to the case competition judges’ question at the national IMA conference. “With not knowing the question in advance and just five minutes to respond, we had to know the case inside and out and be able to problem-solve on the spot.”
The students were given several pages of financial statements, operating statistics, flight schedules, and cost information. They were required to complete a SWOT analysis, segmentation analysis for the city-to-city, regional, and international market; determine the breakeven passenger volume; recommend a strategy for the airline; and prepare a formal presentation to the airline’s executive committee.
The IMA was founded in 1919 as the National Association of Cost Accountants and currently represents over 60,000 members. IMA’s mission is to provide a forum for research, practice development, education, knowledge sharing, and the advocacy of the highest ethical and best business practices in management accounting and finance.
Wright State University’s Raj Soin College of Business has an enrollment of 1,200 undergraduate students and over 500 graduate students. The college is accredited by AACSB International, the highest accrediting body for business and accounting programs. Just one in three business programs and 173 accounting programs nationwide have achieved this accreditation.
Team Members hometowns, high schools and newspapers:
Kate Lash, McArthur, Ohio; Vinton County High School; Vinton Country Courier
Jayme Overfield, Clyde, Ohio; Clyde High School; The Clyde Enterprise and Fremont New-Messenger
Corey Pennington New Richmond; New Richmond High School; Cincinnati Enquirer
Brent Royer, Dayton, Ohio; Alter High School; Dayton Daily News; Kettering Oakwood Times
Brea Sheeks, Hoytville, Ohio; McComb High School; The Courier