2012 Archives

SMU President’s Scholars Win National Case Competition

Jeffrey Sol He and Jaison Thomas
Jeffrey Sol He and Jaison Thomas

September 25, 2012

DALLAS (SMU) — Two SMU President’s Scholars won first place in the Rothstein Kass National Case Competition conducted by the public accounting firm of Rothstein Kass in June. 

This is the first time the university and the Cox School of Business have been represented by a team in this competition, held in New York City.   Jaison Thomas, also a Cox BBA Scholar, is a junior concentrating in Finance, with specialization in the Alternative Asset Management Program.  Jeffrey Sol He is a junior, majoring in Biology at SMU’s Dedman College and minoring in Business Administration at SMU Cox. 

The duo made it to the national competition after winning the campus/regional competition in Dallas with a third partner, SMU President’s Scholar Dennis Takeda, who was unable to attend the New York City competition. 

Participants were tasked with forming a team of two, analyzing the case and providing a conclusion based on their analysis.  Jaison and Jeffrey competed against teams from UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, USC, UT- Austin, Lehigh University, Rutgers University and the University of Notre Dame.  The case study was, according to organizers, a “non-technical, business development case about what it takes to run a successful CPA firm with a dynamic culture.” 

The winning team was chosen based upon the content of the case and the professionalism of the presenters.  The judges complimented Professor of Practice in Accounting Barry Bryan on the outstanding presentation, professionalism and courtesy exhibited by Jaison and Jeffrey. Together, they won a total of $3,500.

“While the winnings were certainly great, it was equally gratifying to spread the merit of Southern Methodist University to other parts of the nation,” Jaison said.

Jeffrey is using his winnings to purchase a new computer and suits for his studies.  He plans to save the remainder for graduate school. 

"Taking part in the Rothstein Kass competition was an amazing experience that greatly benefited my career. The entire event gave me invaluable insights and knowledge regarding the accounting field, as well as the business world in general. The fact that Jaison and I were basically offered jobs will relieve post-graduation job search anxiety and give our careers a head start," said Jeffrey.

Jaison is using his portion of the winnings to conduct research in Europe in conjunction with the University Honors Program (UHP) and the Richter Fellowship.

“Living and basic expenditures in Europe are significantly more costly than in the United States, so the additional funds were greatly appreciated,” Jaison said. 

“Participating in the Rothstein Kass case competition has been wonderful for my career prospects,” he added. “Within the realm of accounting firms, participation in the competition allowed practical experience and presentation skills that aid in accounting positions. The competition also increased our exposure to the accounting world, recruiters, and regions outside of Texas; even among financial firm interviews, the modeling and forecasting in the case study presented practical examples of classroom applications that recruiters and employers enjoy.”

Rothstein Kass, a leading national public accounting firm, specializes in the financial services arena.  The firm conducts the case competition to give students an “opportunity to advance their careers and to experience what it will be like to work on a real-life engagement.”

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