“There’s a reason you’ve been selected to be in this room today,” Professor of Accounting Michael Lynch, J.D., told the students assembled to take part in the PwC Challenge competition. “All of you have the potential to be president of your class or the president of an honor society, to do great things. This will help you prepare for that.”
He speaks from experience. Lynch has guided Bryant’s teams through the PwC Challenge for the last 11 years, helping them negotiate the unique challenges and opportunities of the competition that hones their analytical thinking, fact-based decision making, and collaboration skills by applying them to actual business scenarios.
“It’s really challenging but I know it was worth it,” agrees Julianna Vadnais ’19. “It’s a great way to work alongside people with similar skills and career goals.”
The students, representing a diverse field of majors and split into 10 teams, were tasked with evaluating the pros and cons of replacing the cashiers of the fictional Country’s Best General Stores chain with automated checkout machines. They analyzed the cost and benefits
of moving to automation and provided recommendations for funding the chain's short- and long- term growth.
Each team worked independently to review the business case, develop a solution, and create a presentation. They also benefited from mentoring by PwC employees, Professor Lynch’s own close tutelage, and by ambassadors — Bryant student competitors from previous years.
“The Challenge gave us so much,” says Pallak Bhandari ’18, who came back to the Challenge this year as an ambassador. “To be there for another group of students, to aid them, and help them build their skills through this wonderful opportunity was a chance for us to give back.”
At the end of a two-week preparation the teams delivered their solutions to a panel of high-level PwC professionals who offered feedback. Team success was measured on critical thinking, collaboration, and communication skills.
This year’s winners were Joseph Rinaldi ’19, Alexander Kimmel’ 20, Daniel Plumeri ’20, and Alex Trombatta ’20; their ambassador was Isabel Anglero ’19.
“The Challenge was a great opportunity to develop my public speaking and presentation skills, as well as to network with other students and mentors,” says Rinaldi. “It’s very focused and fast-paced and allows us to focus on critical thinking. It’s a good way to prepare for our careers.”