Accounting Students Capture Second Place in National Competition

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Rider University captured second place in the 2010 Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) National Case Competition during the IMA’s Annual Conference in Baltimore on June 6. In addition, Dr. Don Wygal, associate professor of Accounting, received the 2010 IMA Faculty Leadership Award at the IMA’s Annual Academic Awards luncheon.

Teams from universities throughout the United States and China entered the first round of competition by preparing a 15 minute DVD presentation which was judged on technical content and communicative skills. The case required a team to analyze the operation of a family-owned pub in Ireland that was experiencing financial difficulties because of the current economy, and advise the owners on its future direction. Rider’s presentation included not only a detailed analysis of the firm’s current economic environment but the usage of a balanced scorecard to help match owner objectives with new performance measures and the ability to implement this approach with current company resources. 

After securing a spot in the final four the Rider team presented their case recommendations to judges at the IMA’s Annual Conference.

“The team made an outstanding presentation communicating a very sophisticated and realistic solution to the case facts,” said the group’s faculty adviser, Dr. Larry Prober, associate professor of Accounting. “In accounting today it’s important for graduates to have the technical skills to solve accounting- and business-related problems as well as strong communicative skills. The IMA case competition provides a wonderful opportunity for students to develop all of these skills.”

This year’s  team, which received an award of $3,000, included John Holden of Langhorne, Pa., a senior Accounting and Finance dual major; Alexandra Post of Chalfont, Pa., a senior Accounting major; Kyle Graser of Hamilton, N.J., a candidate in the Master of Accountancy program; and Matthew Lichtiger of North Brunswick, N.J., a senior Accounting and Finance dual major.

“It is particularly noteworthy that so many of our graduates who have participated in the Competition over the years have gone on to achieve leadership positions in public accounting firms, corporations, and non-profit organizations,” Prober said. “This speaks well of the students taking on the challenges of the cases and their dedication to excellence. It has been extremely rewarding watching students develop their presentation skills over the relatively short Case Competition period.” 

Wygal said he received an e-mail from the IMA in April, while he was preparing for an invited plenary presentation to the accounting educator group of the British Accounting Association at their annual meeting in Dublin, Ireland, the setting for the IMA student case. This prestigious IMA Leadership Award recognizes a faculty member who has demonstrated exemplary leadership within and service to the IMA.

For 15 years, Wygal served as the chair of Rider’s Department of Accounting. During that time, he promoted IMA’s benefits, and thus, many faculty members have become actively involved with the Institute. He is also a member of the Editorial Board of the IMA Educational Case Journal. In addition, he serves as chair of the American Accounting Association Shared Experiences Committee, co-chair of the American Accounting Association’s Instructional Resources, and is the associate editor of Issues in Accounting Education.

“The Leadership Award itself is magnificent and humbling at the same time because Larry is doing so much within the Accounting department,” Wygal said. “Rider’s team has made it eight times to the final four. There’s no other program in the nation that has done that. It’s almost exclusively because of the efforts of Larry and the efforts of the students. There has to be a willing energy from the faculty paired with a willing energy of bright students. This is just the proof in the pudding.”

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