Augustana College printing logo

Team Augie finds success with first case competition

Kimberly Olson and Kevin Waibel.

Drew Wiersema, left, and Patrick Rae.

Augustana participated in a new case competition for the first time last fall, published by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).

Seniors Drew Wiersema, Kimberly Olson, Kevin Waibel and Patrick Rae formed Team Augie running an election campaign for the next president of the United States of America. Their task was to develop solutions to address current issues such as the national debt and income taxes.

Just as the real elections are cut-throat, the AICPA election was no different. Team Augie submitted a brief summary of their solution supported with calculations and in-depth research. Their hard work and dedication, along with solid writing skills, paid off. Team Augie advanced to the semi-finals as one of 20 teams out of hundreds represented.

(See Team Augie's video)

As if the first round was not hard enough the second proved to be very challenging as well. The team had to create a very short video presentation of the case. Drew Wiersema looked comfortable and relaxed in the office of President Bahls playing the role of a presidential candidate while Kevin and Kimberly prepared him for the upcoming debate as well as an interview with a reporter played by Patrick (aka 60 Minutes.) 

No election is complete without the public voting. Ours was especially challenging as it fell during the fall break. The campus was empty as Team Augie was trying to raise votes. It did not deter the team from employing many ways of communication (flyers, Facebook, email, Twitter, word of mouth in the cafeteria) to get votes from students, family, friends, fraternities and sororities, faculty, employees and their families, alumni, and well-wishers.

As a result of such large support, Team Augie came in first place with 2,286 votes followed by University of Texas at Dallas with 1,935. All of the other teams were quite a bit behind. Unfortunately, voting only accounted for 10% of the overall criteria, and Team Augie did not advance into the finals.

The AICPA was impressed with the work done by Team Augie and awarded members of the team with Bloggie camcorders.  

"Even though we did not make it to the finals, we are thankful to have had this experience, to have made it as far as we did, and to have the amazing support from our communities," said Olson. "We learned many things throughout this whole experience, including how to work in a team environment outside of school work, and how to apply our accounting knowledge to real-world issues. We also learned more about politics, our stance on different political issues, and the history of our country as a whole."  

Team Augie is grateful for the support of the Augustana community. Visiting Professor Nadia Schwartz served as the team's advisor. Members of the accounting department faculty and economics professor Dr. Chris Marme' offered guidance, criticism, and suggestions.  Andrew Petersen in web services helped with the video editing. Current students and alumni supported the team by voting. The power of a small liberal arts college should not be underestimated. Future case competition teams know they can count on the Augustana communitys.