A team of students from York University's School of Administrative Studies (SAS) in the Faculty of Liberal Arts & Professional Studies brought home a third-place win from the 8th annual Fast Pace to the Case (FPC) Competition.
The team of fourth-year bachelor of commerce students – Shahir Kazemi, Alamgir Khandwala, Shivansh Jani and Yuqing Zhao – competed against teams from 13 universities, and placed third behind the University of Waterloo (first place) and the University of Guelph (second place).
The third-place victory earned the team a $1,000 cash prize.
The competition brings the "brightest accounting students from across the province" to prepare an accounting case, similar to the format of the professional accounting exams, and present it before their peers and professionals from the industry.
The Fast Pace to the Case Competition is a full-day event hosted by the DeGroote Accounting Association. This year, it took place at the Ron Joyce Centre in Burlington, Ont., where each team was presented a CPA-adapted case prepared by Densmore Consultings Services.
"We were given two hours and 15 minutes to complete our analysis, create a PowerPoint presentation and save it on a USB without an Internet connection or any aids," said Khandwala.
The teams then had to present before four judges, who were industry professionals (accountants from Big 4 firms), who selected the top four teams. Those teams presented again before a panel of six judges.
"Being awarded third place is a huge honour for SAS because this is the first time York University-SAS has been placed at the Fast Pace to the Case Competition," said Khandwala.
The achievement highlights the excellence of the school and how York students are able to bridge the gap between their books and the real world. It also provides an excellent opportunity for experiential education.
"This is a tremendous success for York University and the SAS program, and I am very proud of these students," said Professor Bartosz Amerski. "By capturing the third prize in this case competition, these students showed that they are determined, dedicated and resilient, all personal characteristics that I always associate with SAS students. These students’ success also shows that when it comes to the quality of students and education, York University-SAS program ranks among top university programs in Ontario."
About the students
Shahir Kazemi – Kazemi was selected as the York ambassador for the Fast Pace to the Case Competition, and given the task to promote the competition and establish a team of four.
"I think I speak for all members of our team when I say that we gelled so well under time constraints and pressure, and that is something that is so important," said Kazemi. "Overall, placing third out of 14 amazing teams from universities across Ontario makes me proud as an accounting student because it showed me that I could use the accounting concepts learned in class and analyze a CPA-adapted case and give recommendations and implementations."
After graduation, Kazemi hopes to work in a CPA firm – somewhere, she says, "where I can work and study for my CPA designation." Kazemi's long-term goal is to start a consulting firm.
Alamgir Khandwala – "FPC was a mesmerizing experience for me, which resulted in us being placed third," said Khandwala, who believes the York team excelled because of the knowledge, techniques and approaches learned at York.
"I’d like to encourage my fellow colleagues to be more engaged in these sorts of activities to have a more holistic university experience," he said. "There is a plethora of opportunities for York University students, which should be leveraged because it leads to student success and can be rewarding, like in this case."
This experience was a significant checkpoint in his race to pursuing the CPA designation, as it helps with professional and personal development.
Shivansh Jani – Jani believes the team excelled in this competition because the students applied technical knowledge and their presentation was easy to understand, addressing the requirements of the case.
"Professor Bartosz’s lectures prepared us very well to approach professional problems in the case using the 'The CPA Way' methodology and present in 'grandma language,' so that our audience was always engaged," said Jani. "I am glad I was part of such an awesome team and am proud to have represented York University."
Yuqing (Doris) Zhao – Zhao said she was "so glad I said yes" when asked to participate on the team.
"It was my first time in the case competition, and I am very proud that our team placed third," she said. "This experience was definitely unforgettable for me."
She recounts how all team members excelled their roles, and also supported each other.
Zhao is graduating in April of this year, and will continue on to pursue her CPA designation.