Release Date: April 19, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A home fitness equipment manufacturer saw sales boom amid the COVID-19 pandemic, but expects that explosive growth to slow in the year ahead. Now, the company needs to regroup, and has asked your team to help transform their business through improved processes.
This was the task facing students in the University at Buffalo School of Management’s 19th annual PwC Challenge, held April 7 on North Campus.
Four teams of accounting and business undergrads had just one week to research the home fitness industry, analyze the company’s financials and business model, and prepare a 10-minute presentation with their recommendations for the future.
In the end, the “Accountaholics” emerged victorious, winning a $250 gift card and PwC swag for each team member. The winning team was made up of accounting juniors Aidan Hotaling of Wantagh, Trey Kubitz of Rochester and Trevor Samplinski of Grand Island; and finance sophomore Kerry Mavroukas of Queens.
Sponsored by PwC at nearly 100 business schools nationwide, the competition tests students’ analytical, decision-making and communication skills on a real-world business problem. Eighteen students participated in the competition at UB, and the School of Management was the only area business school to take part in the national challenge.
“We were looking to challenge ourselves and get outside our comfort zones,” says Samplinski, of the winning team’s strategy. “This experience tested our ability to problem solve within a short time frame and work effectively within a team.”
In preparing their analysis, each team benefited from the expertise of mentors from PwC and the School of Management faculty. The winning team collaborated with Charles Cook, an assurance associate at PwC, as well as Rose Hu and Cassie Nguyen, who are clinical assistant professors of accounting and law, and Mary Ann Rogers, clinical associate professor of organization and human resources.
Then, during their final presentations, each team presented to and fielded questions from a pair of PwC judges: Keith Belote, BS/MBA ’93, assurance partner and managing partner for PwC’s Buffalo office, and Brian Sabedra, tax partner at PwC.
“This experienced allowed me to share my ideas and efficiently work together with friends to solve an interesting problem, while having fun and learning new things,” says Kubitz.