Editor’s note: Here’s a guest post from NIU sophomore accountancy major Jinay Shah. In this post, Jinay shares his experience with the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Challenge…which, we just learned from Jinay, turns out to be an overall business challenge. Check it out!
But first, we invited Jinay to share a bit more about himself along with his contact information. (So if you’re on LinkedIn, add Jinay to your network!):
I am Jinay, a sophomore accountancy major in the NIU College of Business. I am originally from the Asian subcontinent of India where I was born, brought up and completed the peak years of my youth. I migrated to the United States in 2010 with my family to be closer to my extended family and to seek life-changing academic and professional opportunities. English was always treated as a second language when I was back in India which is why I lacked proper pronunciation, vocabulary and grammatical skills necessary to succeed in high school and University education. I have been involved a lot in the student affairs side of the University. I am currently the President of Grant Complex Hall Council, a residence hall here at NIU and I am also an active member of the Residence Hall Association. I often volunteer, put up interesting programs and develop leadership opportunities for students on campus. I am also part of the University Honors Program and live in the Business Careers House in Grant. I love photography, film and Technology. Over the summer, I like to go on video trips by myself in Downtown Chicago and make time lapses and just have fun with my camera and phone. Feel free to connect with me on LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/jinay26 & Twitter: Jinay26Shah. America is still new to me despite living here for 4 years and I look forward to meeting new people and learning alot about the culture and lifestyle. Thanks!
The PwC Tax Challenge
by Jinay Shah
Hello Huskies! Greetings and Happy Holidays! I am Jinay, a sophomore accountancy major here in the College of Business. I wanted to share with you all my experience with the PricewaterhouseCoopers Tax Challenge that took place on our campus on November 4th 2014. To my surprise, there were very few participants in the PwC Tax Challenge. Perhaps, it was the busiest time of the semester. To everyone who is thinking about participating in the challenge, I would highly encourage everyone to participate in this Tax Challenge no matter what major you are. It has nothing to do with knowing the tax code or GAAP Accounting Knowledge. It is simply a test for professionalism and the ability to come up with a creative solution to a real-world business problem.
PricewaterhouseCoopers, commonly referred to as PwC, is a limited liability professional services firm that provides accounting and consulting support to their clients. It is one of the “Big Four” firms in the United States and a global brand. PwC hosts two challenges each year for students in business: the tax challenge and the accounting challenge, respectively. The accounting challenge is a little more theoretical than the tax challenge. The tax challenge is more focused on the practical aspects of business issues. Our school proudly hosted the PwC Tax Challenge.
The first step in the process is to speak to NIU Accountancy Professor Julitta Gilbert who is the faculty sponsor for the Tax Challenge. She will be able to share with you her experience as she has been sponsoring the challenge for the last few years. Next, try to communicate with the NIU PwC recruiter, Amber Battin. She is on campus quite often especially during Internship and Career Fairs. She will be able to provide you with more in-depth detail about the challenge and how the entire process will work.
Secondly, find three to four other members who you can work with during the two week challenge and the presentation day. These members do not need to be your friends or acquaintances, they can be anyone in the NIU College of Business. Graduate Students, your T.A’s or even other members in different classes are some of the best examples of people to work with. Look at the challenge information page on PwC website which will tell you the limitations as to how many people at what level can you have in a group.
Finally, attend the challenge kickoff meeting where you will be able to meet other teams, NIU Accountancy Professor Gilbert and a few professionals from PwC. There you will be provided with complete challenge information, resources you may need…this meeting officially kicks off the challenge. You and your team will have two weeks from the meeting time to sit together, prepare a solution and your presentation for the final days.
I worked with two sophomore students, a junior student and a graduated teaching assistant. Our challenge was to find a solution for reporting Virtual Currency to a hypothetical government and a country. Our job was to come up with a solution for reporting virtual currency taxes and how they would be taxed. We all had different opinions as to solutions but we all worked together to come up with an enhanced opinion that was balanced and acceptable to all of us. One thing I was worried about was the team communication as to meeting times and agenda for meetings. Fortunately, we communicated well with each other utilizing social media and did not have any major issues. We were quite productive during our meetings as we split up responsibilities for research of various concepts.
The day before the presentation of our solution, we unfortunately lost a teammate due to a medical emergency. We had to re-practice our presentation and go over who was presenting what ideas. This gave us a real-life challenge itself because it does happen more often than we think in companies from my experience.
We then presented on the official Challenge day along with 3 other teams. We unfortunately did not win but had the opportunity to meet and interact with Senior Associates from PwC in Tax and Audit. It really gives you a fresh perspective on accountancy careers in PwC and in other companies. I really had a lot of fun as it was a really interesting learning experience for me and my team mates. I would encourage every single student in the College of Business at NIU to participate in the PwC Tax Challenge next year.
If you’d like more information about Jinay’s post, Jinay can be reached on Twitter at Jinay26Shah, on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/jinay26 and also via email at firstname.lastname@example.org !