Poole College team wins AGA Government Finance Case Challenge

Submitted by Anna Rzewnicki on Thursday Dec 17, 2015.

A team of three Poole College undergraduate accounting students brought home the top award from this year’s Association of Government Accountants (AGA) Government Finance Case Challenge. The announcement was posted on the AGA website on December 14.

Members of the winning team – accounting majors Krizia Fajarito, Edward Hwang, and Kornravee (Pat) Sintavanon – produced a winning Citizen-Centric Report (CCR) and video in which they reported on the finances of the city of Bowie, Md.

For the competition, student teams from business schools across the country first analyzed data for the city and developed their CCR. Those teams whose reports were selected by a panel of financial experts advanced to the second round of the competition – the video presentation to a fictitious city council meeting that included an overview of their report.

“The students did a tremendous job in their research, their CCR and their video presentation,” said Scott Showalter, professor of practice in Poole College’s Department of Accounting and the team’s faculty advisor.

The students staged their presentation in the offices North Carolina State Board of CPA Examiners conference room in Raleigh, including interviews with the board’s staff members and others acting as Bowie community residents attending a city council meeting. Robert Brooks, NC State Board executive director, made the space available to the students for their presentation.

The AGA’s CCR initiative aims to strengthen communications about how governments allocate and spend taxpayer dollars, in a way that is understandable to their community members. This annual competition allows undergraduate business students to try their hand at producing an effective CCR report and presentation.

Sintavanon said that she “learned a lot from this competition: teamwork, organization, research and presentation skills. All of these new skills I can take with me into my professional life. Not only was this a great learning experience, but we had lots of fun as well,” she said.

The experience is designed to challenge students' moral reasoning, raise their awareness of the importance of accountability and open doors to a career in government, according to the AGA website. The competition is only open to currently enrolled undergraduate students.

“I found this experience very rewarding,” said Krizia Fajarito, who is completing a concentration in financial analysis. “This competition allowed me to collaborate with other students at NC State Poole College in analyzing data for the city of Bowie. Winning this competition while representing NC State to a panel of government finance experts is a great accomplishment for us. This experience taught us the importance of accountability, which is a very important aspect for anyone looking for a career in the government.”

“Winning this competition is an absolute thrill for me,” Hwang said “The most valuable takeaway for me was the chance to work in a team of great people from different backgrounds. The team was diverse enough that each member brought unique insight to the project, and our goal of completing the project to the best of our abilities allowed us to work through our differences seamlessly. Working with my team was a wonderful learning experience that has taught me the power and productivity of a successful team, and all this new knowledge will be beneficial to teamwork skills in the professional world.”

Team members thanked Showalter for his role as advisor and others who provided support. “Our team definitely could not have been this successful without our great advisor, Professor Showalter. He not only gave us great advice, but supported us with anything we needed from the beginning to the end of the project,” Sintavanon said. They also thanked Brooks and other members of the NC State Board of CPA Examiners who participated in the mock interviews and Andrew Shon, a Poole College communications team student member who provided technical assistance during production of the video.

Fajarito and Sintavanon are from Raleigh; Hwang’s hometown is Taipei, Taiwan.

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