THUNDER BAY – Lakehead University’s accounting students placed first at this year’s Gathering of Accounting Associates, Professionals, and Students (GAAPS) competition out of 12 undergraduate teams from across Canada.
The winning Lakehead team was comprised of fourth-year accounting students Ben Anderson, Lucas Bauer, Nick Dzikowski, and Taylor Hosanna. This isn’t the first time Lakehead’s accounting students have done well in the competition – they finished second in 2013, first in 2011 and third in 2010.
“The fact that Lakehead students excel in competitions like this time and time again really shows the quality of education we receive here,” said Hosanna.
“All of our professors provide us with the technical knowledge we need for success, but it’s more than that. The presentations, group work and extracurricular activities that our professors encourage us to participate in give us a well-rounded set of skills which prepare us for these competitions and for the working world as well,” Hosanna said.
The conference was recently hosted by the University of Manitoba, which placed second. Team Lakehead’s first-place ranking earned them a trophy and $1,500 in prize money.
“It was really great to be back this year and build on last year’s success,” said Dzikowski. “We definitely learned from mistakes made in the prior year and used our experience in the competition to our advantage.
“The cases were unique and challenging but everyone assumed their roles quickly and our presentations were well executed. We learned that the winning team isn’t necessarily the one with the most detailed analysis or flashiest slideshow, but rather the one that is confident and best able to justify its conclusions to the judges,” he said.
Bauer echoed his teammate’s comments. “By using our experiences from last year, our team had a strong advantage in knowing how to work and communicate with each other effectively,” he said. “Although our team faced challenges during the competition, our comfort level was a calming influence and a key to our success.”
The annual GAAPS includes an accounting-based case competition, guest speakers and networking events.
Anderson said his favourite aspect of the competition was the networking opportunities. “The event was a chance to meet many students and even some professionals in a casual setting,” Anderson said. “If I ever decide to work in Manitoba, I’ll always have access to that network.”
Lakehead Associate Professor of Accounting, Dr. Camillo Lento, said the students’ success is a testament to their hard work and the quality of the University’s Business program.
“These students represented all of their peers at Lakehead University, and everyone is excited that the team placed first. It is great to see the students achieve such great results after all of their hard work.”
Lakehead was also represented by a second team consisting of third-year students Salvatore Tozzo, Meagan Ellis, Rachel Labate, and fourth-year student Justin Donaldson.
The Lakehead GAAPS Team is thankful for support from the Northwestern Ontario Chartered Accountant Association (NWOCAA). For more information about GAAPS, visit: http://asbaa.ca/gaapsconference/