Campus business students compete in PricewaterhouseCoopers' national competition

A team of business students from Penn State New Kensington competed Sept. 23 in the PricewaterhouseCoopers' Extreme Accounting Games, a national collegiate business tournament.

Senior Pete Raimondi, of Verona, junior Angelica Matta, of New Kensington, and sophomore Nick DeResa, of Murrysville, represented the campus at Penn State University Park.

Known as PwC xACT, the competition gives students the opportunity to work through some of the same issues that challenge business and government leaders. Fifty-four teams, comprising undergraduate and graduate students, devised solutions for business tax cases that required marketing, management and financial analysis.

The New Kensington campus group's case study involved the best option for a fictitious state that is losing tax revenue due to the decrease in gas consumption and the increase in hybrid vehicles. The team had a week to find a solution and create a presentation for a panel of judges from PricewaterhouseCoopers.

“The students had a wonderful experience in learning how to manage their time,” said Rujirutana "Dr. A" Mandhachitara, associate professor of business administration and adviser to the campus team. “They worked collaboratively on a tight schedule task, communicated and shared their ideas and sacrificed their personal commitment for the team’s goal. “

Although the New Kensington team did not advance to the next round, the members gained valuable experience by working together and utilizing their analytical skills. By attacking the problem from varying perspectives, the group was able to develop a cohesive solution.

Raimomdi, a marketing and management major, embraced the teamwork challenge and the opportunity to network with PricewaterhouseCoopers employees.

“The challenge was not without difficulties, but being able to develop a creative solution to a real world problem and work within a team environment helped me to gain invaluable experience and prepare for my future career,” said Raimondi, a graduate from Central Catholic High School. “It gave insight to the corporate world.”

Matta, a marketing and management major, relished the team’s give-and-take of ideas and the opportunity to learn more about taxes.

“It was fun to think of ‘out of the box’ solutions,” said Matta, a product of St. Joseph’s High School. “I would recommend the experience to others. It has great networking opportunities as well.”

DeRiso, who is majoring in accounting, echoed Raimondi’s sentiments on teamwork and rising to the challenge.

“I had a great time working with my teammates,” said DeRiso, a graduate of Franklin Regional High School. “At times, it was stressful, but after everything was over, I couldn't have been more proud. This was really above and beyond what I expected.”

Established in 2003 by PricewaterhouseCoopers, a multinational professional services firm, the competition annually attracts more than 4,000 students from 80 colleges and universities. The event uses real-world business challenges to test critical thinking, team-building and presentation skills. Each national finalist team is awarded $10,000, and an additional $5,000 is given to their faculty advisers.

Penn State New Kensington offers two business degree program: bachelor's degree in business and associate degree in business administration.

A Business Program Open House is set for 9 a.m.,Wednesday, Nov. 6, in the campus Conference Center. Prospective students can attend interactive sessions that feature four business topics: Personal Selling Techniques, Motivation and Leadership; One-Hour Experience in Marketing, and Digital Marketing 101.

For more information on the open house, call 724-334-LION or visit

Participants who RSVP on Facebook,, or Twitter,, will receive a special Penn State gift.

For more on the campus business program, visit

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Last Updated October 24, 2013