Bauer Student Team Named Regional Winner in KPMG’s Competition

Published on September 2, 2014

Students Expand Professional Network and Skills

MIS senior David Alfaro-Lopez, accounting juniors Alfonso Rodriguez and Maria Leon, and pre-business sophomore Cesar Muniz were named as regional winners of a KPMG sponsored case competition, under the direction of clinical professor Michael Newman, their faculty advisor.

MIS senior David Alfaro-Lopez, accounting juniors Alfonso Rodriguez and Maria Leon, and pre-business sophomore Cesar Muniz were named as regional winners of a KPMG sponsored case competition, under the direction of clinical professor Michael Newman, their faculty advisor.

It’s no secret that college students often look forward to summer as a time to relax and enjoy the freedom from classes and homework. But, for one team of business students at the C. T. Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, this summer was the perfect time to hone their analytical skills and craft a winning presentation for industry executives.

Under the direction of clinical professor Michael Newman, their faculty advisor, the Bauer College team was recognized as a regional winner at a recent KPMG sponsored case competition held in Orlando, Florida. The team included pre-business sophomore Cesar Muniz, accounting juniors Maria Leon and Alfonso Rodriguez, and MIS senior David Alfaro-Lopez.

The student case study competition was part of the national convention of the Association for Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting (ALPFA), a professional organization for Latinos in finance, accounting and related fields. The Bauer team competed against dozens of teams from schools across the country in an intensive, deadline-driven competition.

In only three hours, the team had to serve in the role of consultants, with the charge of reviewing a business case and crafting a presentation for the company’s executives. The competition required students to examine a wide variety of facets of their assigned company’s operations.

The students readily embraced this challenge. As Leon explained, “The three-hour deadline made the experience more realistic because in the business world, a client expects a high-quality product in a very limited time frame. Although this was just a competition, I believe it gave us a true perspective of how efficient one must be in a business environment.”

The team’s comprehensive presentation included analysis of marketing strategies, possibilities for global market expansion and financial projections.

“The case study was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve had as a young professional,” Rodriguez said. “I was able to grow both personally and professionally, and I was especially grateful for the opportunity to meet KPMG professionals from across the country.”

As the students rehearsed their presentation for the judges, they relied on the guidance of several professionals from KPMG, including Bauer alumni Christian Rosales (BBA ’12), Karen Saldana (BBA ’10, MSACCY ’11), Luis Rodriguez (BBA ’10, MSACCY ’12) and Rolando Ventura (BBA ’11, MSACCY ’12). KPMG Partner Carlos Fernandez and Diversity Recruiting Manager Lorena Manobanda also had an integral role in helping the team prepare for the competition.

The team credited their victory at the competition to the support and encouragement their KPMG advisors provided.

“I am so glad we had so much help and constructive feedback from everyone at KPMG,” Leon said. “They asked us tough questions and challenged us, and that is what made our presentation so strong.”

The team also relied on Bauer’s rigorous curriculum to craft their presentation. “This competition allowed me to apply all of the knowledge I had gained through my classes at Bauer,” Muniz said. “Our experiences at Bauer prepared us not only to compete, but to excel.”

By Sarayu Sundar