On October 21, 2017, I participated in a case competition hosted by the National Association of Black Accountants-New York and Deloitte LLP. Students from eight different colleges and universities competed in this competition. My team of six students from Baruch College placed second in the competition. I learned many things that will help me with my future career goals. Here are seven reasons why you should consider joining any career related competition:
Being part of a team allows a single unit to achieve a common goal.
Most of the problems in professional life are solved in a team setting. Like most other case competitions, our case competition was in a team setting. We had a diverse group of 6 students. In the group, we distributed tasks among team members. Members contributed with their own strengths. We helped and supported each other. We all worked as a single unit to achieve a common goal. Being a part of this team was a great work experience for me.
Provides an opportunity to integrate and apply knowledge from multiple classes.
Situations in a case competition are usually complicated issues which involve many skills like critical thinking, problem solving and decision making. They also require a significant amount of information to solve the case. To gather required information, we, as a team had to think outside the box. We had to be strategic in our decision making. While solving the issues in the case, we had to consider financial outcome, managerial roles, and other related aspects as well. It gave us a unique opportunity to practice how to integrate knowledge from different classes. This case competition gave us a unique opportunity to practice problem solving and decision-making skills.
Case competition allows students to showcase their professionalism through organization and presentation.
A team in a case competition is not only judged on the content, but also on organization and presentation. In the NABA-Deloitte case competition, the panel of judges consisted of three partners from Deloitte and the president of NABA-NY. We also had a diverse audience. We organized our presentation in a professional manner so that the judges and audience were able to follow the steps easily. In the presentation, we also tried to be creative. As a whole, it gave us a chance to learn how to organize and deliver a business presentation.
Provides students with the opportunity to present in front of an audience of industry professionals.
Public speaking is an important skill for becoming a successful professional. Case competition gives participants a unique audience in front of which a participant can practice public speaking. In the NABA-Deloitte competition, we presented the case in front of senior executives, professionals, advisors, and other participants. It gave us a great opportunity to experience what it’s like to present in a business setting. Case competition offers a networking opportunity in a work-environment instead of club setting.
Networking is essential for both personal and professional growth. It is very hard to grow without a strong professional network. The NABA-Deloitte case competition was one of the most effective networking sessions I have ever attended. We met many financial professionals, including Deloitte partners at the event. Partners shared their stories with us through one on one conversations. Unlike most of the club events at Baruch where students outnumber professionals, case competition provides a more personal networking environment.
Case competition allows a student to experience an “executive” role in decision making.
In most of my classes, I work with modified textbook problems. Real life work situations are a lot more challenging and critical. Taking part in the NABA-Deloitte case competition gave me a “real-life” work flavor. During the case competition my team and I acted as “executives” when we were making decisions based on the information we gathered.
If your team wins a case competition there could be financial and professional rewards.
Like most other competitions, winning teams receive monetary prizes. As a second place winner, our team received $1,500.00 which was distributed amongst the team members. Besides the monetary prize, we have been recognized by our friends, co-workers, advisors, and faculty members. Regardless of the monetary prize, these recognitions are very motivating, and help boost confidence.
The NABA-Deloitte Case Competition was one of the most effective activities that I have done so far as a student. As an up and coming professional I found it very important, educational and effective. I will participate in case competitions in the future and I encourage other students to do so as well.
About the Author:
Ariful Islam is a junior at Baruch College majoring in Accounting. He transferred to Baruch College in the spring of 2017 from SUNY-Suffolk County Community College. He is an active member on the planning committee of Baruch Accounting Society, and also works at the Starr Career Development Center as a student staff member. In spring 2018, he will be working at Baker Tilly as a Tax Intern. Arif speaks three languages. In 2017, Arif received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence and was named in Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities.