Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The FanTAXic Four!

A team of accounting students at Fordham recently won a regional tax competition hosted by one of the big four accounting firms, Deloitte! I caught up with one of the team members, Stephen Falzone, who shared a bit about himself and the competition. 

Stephen Falzone, GSB Class of 2015.

Hi Stephen! Thanks for talking to us!
No problem! It’s a good break from preparing for finals.

So tell us a little bit about why you chose Fordham for accounting
Well I had always loved math and watching my dad work as a CPA really got my interested in the profession. So when I was applying to colleges as a senior, I looked for a college that was in close proximity to New York City, because it’s the ideal city for accounting. I also wanted a strong accounting program and a strong business school in general. While Fordham obviously matched those criteria, it was Gabelli’s small classes and really challenging core curriculum where you get to be exposed to all aspects of business that caught my eye. I can honestly say it helped me get stronger academically and professionally.

Well on that note congratulations on your group winning the Deloitte Regional fanTAXic competition!
Thank you!

How did you get involved with the competition?
My Professor sent out emails to all of the Gabelli accounting students and encouraged students to apply. I was luckily selected for the team, which made me very happy because I had a lot of interest in it. I really appreciate how many opportunities the business school gives you, my inbox is constantly flooded with information about career building contests, seminars and events. You obviously have to put a lot of work in to excel, but they do a fantastic job of helping you find your way.

Can you tell us a little more about it?
Sure, well it’s a tax case study where we answer three questions between five students on my team. I was lucky to get selected and my teammates were really great to work with. It is normally made up of two seniors, two sophomores and one graduate student but my professor opened it up to his junior classes and I luckily got picked. They gave us some pretty challenging case studies. We did a bunch of research together and there were a lot of late nights in Gabelli’s new building which has tons of study space. On the day of the competition, we got to present our findings to a panel of partners and recruiters. Luckily, we won!

How did Fordham and Gabelli prepare you for the competition?
Gabelli gives us great experience for working with groups on case studies. I’ve actually worked in three case study groups for the business core before even starting this competition. So our whole team already had experience working productively in professional teams of people we didn’t know that well so we all felt pretty confident on that front. Also, even though the competition was strictly a tax accountancy one, it involved more of a consulting lens. Because of Fordham’s diverse core curriculum that emphasizes business communication and strong critical thinking, I was more than prepared for that challenge. Ultimately though, I am very grateful to my tax professor who helped us so much. Oh and I have to thank Arthur Ave for all of the delicious comfort food during those late nights!

Yes, cannolis do seem to fix any level of stress! What did your professor do to help?
Well we could always go to him for help and he was always in contact with us. Additionally, he set up our presentation review session the day before and helped us with aesthetic changes. However, he left us alone with the material and had complete confidence in us. That confidence really helped us succeed.

So what is up next for you and your team?
We’re heading to Dallas in January for the national finals! We’re competing against Boston College, Texas A&M, University of Wisconsin, Washington University in Saint Louis and a lot of others so we’ve got a lot of work to do.

Well good luck to you and your teammates Stephen and congratulations again!

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