Cox accounting students shine in high-profile academic competitions

Students in the SMU Cox accounting program have distinguished themselves in multiple prestigious academic competitions during the fall 2012 semester.

Edwin L. Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist UniversityStudents in the SMU Cox accounting program have distinguished themselves in multiple prestigious academic competitions during the fall 2012 semester.

Ernst & Young Beam Abroad Case Competition

A team of three sophomores and two juniors won the Ernst & Young Beam Abroad Case Competition in early November. The team consisted of sophomores Eric Mercado, Aurman Sororian and Michael Zincone, as well as juniors Faraz Khan and Spencer Schwartz. Together, the five accounting students defeated teams from Arizona State, Baylor, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, UT-Austin and the University of Oklahoma.

The team won a $5,000 prize and a trip to London over spring break. The London trip will include a visit to the Ernst & Young London office. The students will also have the opportunity to share a meal with the E&Y global leadership team to learn more about the firm.

PwC xACT Competition

In late November, another Cox accounting team learned that it had been chosen for the national finals in the PwC xACT Competition, short for PwC xTREME Accounting Competition.  Initially, PwC — the firm previously known as PricewaterhouseCoopers — invited 50 schools from across the nation to compete.

The field of teams was narrowed to five finalists: SMU Cox, the University of Arizona, the University of Mississippi, the University of Washington and Villanova University.  The five finalist teams were awarded $10,000 each and the opportunity to present their case solutions to the PwC firm leadership in the New York office in January.

The SMU Cox team consists of graduate student Meena Ramachandran and undergraduates Rahfin Faruk, Derek Hamamoto, Daisuke Takeda and Jaison Thomas.

KPMG’s global internship

Meanwhile, junior Evan Conley has been chosen to participate in KPMG’s prestigious global internship program during spring 2013. Evan will be working in either the Sweden or South Africa practice.

“These positions are highly competitive and represent the finest and most promising performers in KPMG’s upcoming intern class,” says Barry Bryan, internship director and professor of practice in accounting at SMU Cox.

This is the fourth year in a row that SMU Cox has had a student chosen for the KPMG global internship program. David Harner (BBA ’10, MSA ’13) worked in New Zealand; Thomas Fadnes (BBA ’11) went to South Africa; and Jim Shaub (BBA ’12, MSA ’13) was chosen to go to Singapore.  

SMU Cox also had two outstanding students selected in recent years for the Ernst & Young global program: Morgan Hobbs (BBA ’11, MSA ’12) worked in the UK, and Marlee Klein (BBA ’12, MSA ’13) interned in Australia. E&Y has not yet announced its choices for this spring’s program.

Ernst & Young Researcher Program

At the graduate level, Lana Greene, a Master of Science in Accounting (MSA) student, has been selected to serve in The Accounting Researcher Program for Ernst & Young. Greene interned with Ernst & Young during her senior year and will join the firm full-time upon completion of her MSA in May 2013. The Researcher Program provides a one-year rotation to first-year staff members who “stand out in the crowd.” 

The Researcher Program enables staff to network with partners and senior managers in the firm’s Professional Practice — Accounting Department in New York, develop their skills in accounting research and improve their oral and written communication abilities. After she completes her rotation, Greene will return to the Dallas office with enhanced knowledge and experience that will benefit engagement teams.

Greg Sommers, director of the MSA program and professor of practice in accounting, says the students’ achievements in undergraduate and graduate competitions are significant.

“The students themselves are academic superstars, but the fact that SMU Cox students continue to perform strongly in such a variety of accounting cases against national competition serves as compelling evidence that SMU Cox offers a world-class accounting education,” says Sommers.

Cox students continue to show pass rates on their most recent CPA exams well above the national average. In addition, says Sommers, the latest group of MSA graduates had nearly a 100 percent job placement rate.

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