WFU accounting team named one of five winning teams in national competition

By Pam Barrett
February 6, 2004

A team of five students from Wake Forest University’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy was named one of five national winning teams in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ inaugural xTREME Accounting (xACT) Competition held in New York City Jan. 22-23.

The team received a total of $11,000 in cash. A multi-media presentation of the competition, featuring each of the five top national winning teams, will be distributed to business schools across the country.

“I think that the results of this competition further validate the quality of the accountancy program here at the Calloway School,” said George Aldhizer, the team’s faculty coach and associate professor of accountancy in the Calloway School.

The Wake Forest team consisted of graduate students Karen Ludwick and Jonathan Fenton, junior Elizabeth Ellis and sophomores Joshua Hemphill and Roxanna Drake.

The PricewaterhouseCoopers xACT Competition is a prestigious annual learning competition that recognizes accounting and auditing skills of students from leading accountancy programs across the country. Twenty-eight schools were invited to

xACT began at the campus level in the fall and required all teams to analyze the same case: one recommending solutions and a course of action to improve the financial reporting and corporate governance problems of a fictional country called Panadrievia. The teams had two weeks to prepare a presentation up to 12 minutes long that they would present to a group of local PricewaterhouseCoopers assurance professionals

Wake Forest had more than 150 students interested in participating. After a faculty review and interview process, two teams of five students were selected. Approximately 220 teams from the 28 schools participated.

Wake Forest’s two teams presented their cases to PricewaterhouseCoopers audit partner Chuck Melman from Charlotte and Carly DeFina, recruiting manager for the Carolinas. Presentations were judged on their policy and procedure assessment, critical thinking skills, teamwork, creativity and quality of presentation.

The winning team from each school received $1,000 from PricewaterhouseCoopers and the chance to be considered for the national finals.

For the finals, each team provided a videotape of their case presentation for judging by a panel in New York City. Out of the 28 teams, Wake Forest, Indiana University, Villanova University, Bucknell University and the University of Iowa were selected as the top five national winning teams.

Each top-five team received $10,000 in cash and an all-expense paid trip to New York City Jan. 22-23, where they each presented their cases live before a panel of judges. Faculty advisors also received a monetary award.

“It was absolutely fantastic to be selected as one of the top five in the country—what a huge honor,” said Ludwick, one of the Wake Forest team’s leaders. “We had unbelievable team cohesiveness. No one was afraid to share ideas, and it made it much easier to be creative.”

PricewaterhouseCoopers ( provides industry-focused assurance, tax and advisory services for public and private clients.

Wake Forest’s Calloway School of Business and Accountancy, the university’s largest undergraduate program, is ranked 21st among the nation’s undergraduate business programs by U.S. News & World Report. It is ranked 15th in accounting programs and 16th in entrepreneurship in the magazine’s college rankings guide.

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