Cracking the Case: An Unconventional Way to Meet Employers On-Campus

Written by: Archana Mohan, MSF ’22  

A college campus is probably not where you’d expect to bump into your future employer, but tapping into the right opportunities at UB may just get you there! 

Every semester, the UB School of Management partners with major firms in Buffalo – M&T Bank, PricewaterhouseCoopers, GEICO and more – to provide students with opportunities to develop and showcase their unique set of skills. Through interesting projects and business case competitions, students get to see firsthand what it takes to be at these “dream” companies.  

In Fall 2019 as a junior at the School of Management, I participated in the PwC’s Annual Consulting Case Competition. 

Here’s what went down: 

  1. Formed a team with three of my SOM classmates. 
  2. Attended the day zero inauguration where a PwC Associate introduced all of us to the anticipated business case. 
  3. Met our faculty mentor (Hi, Professor Dambra!) and our PwC mentor (the amazing UB alum, Marco Gangarosso). 
  4. For two weeks, we poured all of our time into the case and came up with strategic solutions (Marco may or may not have left his work early to help us perfect our presentation). 
  5. After a lot of sweat and messing up during rehearsals, it was time for the actual event. We presented our case solutions to a panel of four PwC judges and fielded questions from them. 
  6. And ultimately, with a lot of fanfare and delicious food, our team was announced as the winner! (Yes, I did feel a bit proud of myself and my team and very thankful for Prof. Dambra, Marco Gangarosso, and the School of Management). 

All of this culminated with Buffalo wings at Duff’s, celebrating with my team and our PwC mentor, Marco.  

When I think back on my academic career so far, this competition comes up as one of the defining moments. I remember how insecure I was before signing up for it. All of your peers are equally competent and then creeps in a moment of concern: am I capable enough to stand with them? Along came my then financial accounting professor at UB. When I expressed my concerns about the program and my interest to her, she responded with sweet and supportive words, words I still hold on to whenever I enter a new adventure.  

Winning the competition wasn’t the important part. It was learning to work in a team where we all had distinct strengths and inputs. It was successfully delivering our work and staying confident throughout. It was meeting PwC associates on campus, connecting, and learning from them. This event encouraged me to take part in more on-campus events, from the fintech design challenge to interview competitions, all of which prepares me for what comes ahead in life. 

The School of Management pushes students to better themselves, to grow and gain confidence. The PwC challenge and many other activities were evidence of that for me. During internship and job interviews, the case challenge is something that many people brought up and were curious about. These experiences set you apart. Through organizing them for the students, the School of Management makes sure that you are always delivering your authentic best self to attain your dreams. 

Bio – Archana is a graduate student at the University at Buffalo’s MS in Quantitative Finance & Fintech Program. She is from the state of Kerala in southern India and came to the United States at age 17 to pursue her higher education. Before graduate school, she completed her bachelor’s in mathematics and bachelor’s in business administration at the University at Buffalo. Currently, Archana is preparing for the CFA Level I exams and is an active student member of the CFA Society at Buffalo. After graduation, Archana hopes to work towards building innovative financial services and sustainable fintech resources for all. Archana is an avid reader – interested in everything from Sangam literature to David Graeber.  

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