Release Date: November 9, 2023
BUFFALO, N.Y. — A home workout equipment company saw steadfast growth through the COVID-19 pandemic but was forced to lay off 10% of its workforce after a series of formidable challenges in the first quarter of 2023. Now the company needs to regroup and has asked your team to help transform their business by boosting employee morale.
This was the task facing students in the University at Buffalo School of Management’s 20th annual PwC Challenge, held Nov. 3 on North Campus.
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 “PwC Power Pioneers” emerged victorious, winning a $250 gift card and PwC swag for each team member. The winning team was made up of business sophomores Ananya Singh of Buffalo, Emma Minotti of Depew, and Emma Schneeberger of Buffalo; and business junior Simran Yadav of Clarence.
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. Thirty-eight 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.
“My biggest takeaway from this competition was learning to know your teammates’ strengths and using them accordingly,” says Singh. “I learned how to work on a team, collaborate with others and present information in a compelling manner.”
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 John Gorman, BS ’14, MS ’15, assurance manager at PwC, as well as Arlene Hibschweiler, clinical associate professor of accounting and law; Cassie Nguyen, clinical assistant professor of accounting and law; and Michael Draves, executive in residence for accounting.
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.
“Through this competition I learned the importance of working with others to achieve a common goal,” says Minotti. “Working with a team of women, who were not only incredibly dedicated and hard-working, but were also my friends made this competition even more fun.”