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Wednesday, June 08, 2011

USI team among 'final four' in national accounting competition

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Top: Matt Mitchell and Brett Bueltel

Bottom: Ashley Scott and Anu Asthana
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A team of accounting students from the University of Southern Indiana competed in Orlando, Florida, recently as a "final four" team in the national Student Case Competition sponsored by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA).

Team members were Anu Asthana, a Master of Business Administration student from Evansville Brett Bueltel, a senior in accounting from Newburgh, Indiana, Matt Mitchell, a senior in accounting and finance from Elberfeld, Indiana and Ashley Scott, a senior in accounting from Oaktown, Indiana. Faculty advisors were Jeanette Maier-Lytle, instructor in accounting, and Dr. Brian McGuire, associate dean of the College of Business and professor of accounting.

Accounting teams from across the country presented their cases on DVD for the initial round of judging. The four teams chosen for the finals made presentations on June 5 at the 92nd annual IMA Conference and Exposition. Each team qualifying for the finals received an award of $3,000.

Students from Elon University won the contest. According to competition rules, other finalists tie for second place. Teams from Western Illinois University and Wright State University joined USI as runners-up.

This was the sixth consecutive year for USI students to qualify for the national finals.

"The sustained exceptional performance of our students in this national case competition exemplifies their commitment to excellence and the caliber of their professional skills," said Dr. Mohammed Khayum, dean of the College of Business. "Reaching the finals for the sixth year in a row is a tremendous accomplishment and is illustrative of the quality of the educational experience provided by our accounting and business programs."

In this year's case, students assumed responsibility for helping guide the transition of a fictional airlines from a government-owned entity to a private company. Team members prepared a profitability analysis of each market segment, determined the breakeven volume for one route, prepared a SWOT analysis, and developed recommendations for an overall strategy.

Prior to leaving for the national conference, the team presented the case in a formal practice setting to Doug Joest, airport manager, and Dennis Guthery, accounting manager for the Evansville-Vanderburgh Airport Authority District, in the boardroom at Evansville Regional Airport.

Joest is a certified public accountant and member of the College of Business Board of Advisors. "After their presentation, I asked them some industry specific questions," he said, "and they were able to respond quickly and professionally. They came across as a very competent and experienced professional team."

Maier-Lytle said the USI students gave an outstanding presentation at the conference and handled themselves well during the question-and-answer session that followed.

The annual case competition gives students an opportunity to analyze a management accounting problem and communicate a solution.

The IMA conference was held June 4-8. During the meeting, McGuire was named chair of the organization's Board of Directors for 2011-12. The association for accountants and financial professionals in business, IMA has more than 60,000 members in 120 countries.



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