Athletes and dancers represent BYU elsewhere in jerseys and tights, but other students do their alma mater proud in suit coats and pencil skirts.
BYU Accounting’s five-person team, Lotus Solutions, won first place at the National PwC Challenge in Washington, D.C., in January.
The team came into the competition from the fifth and final spot, but it returned home with the first-place prize. This is BYU’s fourth national award, making it the university with the most PwC victories.
Team members Corbin Stott, Ben Green, McKell Anderson, Adam Mahas and Hayden Holbrook competed against four other universities.
Mahas said the team learned a lot about teamwork and real-world issues and that the members worked hard to get to this point both individually and as a team.
“I think our strength in the competition was the Q&A session after our presentation,” Mahas said. “We really nailed that part. Us winning shows a lot about how good BYU’s accounting program really is.”
Mahas gave credit to the team’s faculty adviser, John Barrick, who helped the students prepare for all the technical aspects of the competition.
BYU took top honors for the second year in a row at the regional Model Arab League competition in Denver March 13–15.
“I was sweating it a little,” said the group’s faculty adviser, Islamic studies Professor James Toronto, of the awards ceremony. “We were about even with the University of Utah until the last council (awards were announced).”
Toronto attributed the final award for BYU — “outstanding delegation” representing Saudi Arabia — in part to two BYU students — Ryan Hughes and Ryan Newell — being willing to switch roles to council chair at the last minute.
“I just really like seeing the negotiating process of people who really have different ideas about things and then seeing how people’s ideas gradually come together,” said Hughes, who won the award for outstanding chair. “It gives you real-world experience that you don’t usually get at school.”
Lucy Walter, a Middle Eastern studies major who helped represent Saudi Arabia, said the new people — with new opinions — made the process that much more challenging. She said the diplomatic process pushed her limits, as she had to compromise her ideas to find solutions with students from around the Western United States.
“The other advisers always ask me what we do to make BYU so good,” Toronto said. “I think our students are just natural diplomats.”
Toronto said students get most of their preparation from BYU’s strong Middle Eastern studies program, their time living in the Middle East on study abroad and “their ingenuity and their intelligence.”
“There is a misconception that the classroom learning is what’s intrinsic to an educated person,” said Middle Eastern studies major Ted Ellsworth, who said much of his education has relied on the “practice, experimentation, debate, consideration for more intimate details” he has found through experiences like Model Arab League.