UC students’ national award launches career path

Press Release – University of Canterbury

University of Canterbury students David Loveridge (BCom – Management and Management Science & Operations Management) and Pip Widdon (BCom – Accounting and Finance) have won the national New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (NZICA) Student …

UC students’ national award launches career path

University of Canterbury students David Loveridge (BCom – Management and Management Science & Operations Management) and Pip Widdon (BCom – Accounting and Finance) have won the national New Zealand Institute of Chartered Accountants’ (NZICA) Student Challenge in style with Loveridge being offered a job at KPMG starting in Wellington in the new year.

The NZICA Student Challenge attracts entries from around the country and recognises emerging talent in the field of accountancy. Loveridge and Widdon recently received their award for winning the NZICA Student Challenge at the NZICA leadership awards in front of an audience of prominent business leaders.

Entrants in the student challenge were given the task of acting as a consultant to the management team at Rhythm & Vines, a popular festival event held in Gisborne each year. The students were asked to prepare a preliminary report on the viability of a new campsite for eco camping focusing on the preparation of a forecast of profitability. If the forecast demonstrated that the attraction seemed to be viable competition entrants were advised that the company would proceed to a formal capital expenditure evaluation.

As winners of the challenge Widdon and Loveridge each received $1000 towards a corporate wardrobe, an iPad2 with 3G and Wi-Fi, one day of mentoring with the “2011 NZICA Westpac Outstanding New Member of the Year” – Joe Hanita (Group Accountant, Te Wananga o Aotearoa) and Rhythm & Vines tickets and camping.

“Winning the NZICA Student Challenge is a marvellous achievement in itself, but perhaps the greatest value it provides is the recognition of the skills and qualities Pip and David will bring their employers and the added value that they will offer business clients,” said Acting Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the College of Business and Economics, Professor Adrian Sawyer.

“Achieving output of such high quality is wonderful and is an outstanding accolade for Pip and David personally. It is also a strong endorsement of the high quality offerings, business readiness of students, and the opportunities to develop external connectedness that are provided within the College of Business and Economics at the University of Canterbury.”

NZICA Chief Executive Terry McLaughlin commented that the standard of Pip and David’s video presentation matched the quality of work that NZICA that sees from candidates completing the third year of Professional Accounting School (PAS).*

“The Student Challenge represents an exciting opportunity for tertiary students to grapple with real life business challenges and find solutions. We were very impressed with the consideration that Pip and David put into their entry,” says Mr McLaughlin.

In addition to their achievement as part of the NZICA challenge, Loveridge and Widdon were both part of the National Student Development Society (SDS) Case competition this year. This involves a collaboration of seven New Zealand universities that compete throughout the year and ends with a week-long competition in Queenstown involving universities from other countries. UC’s SDS team was placed second out of seven teams in the national SDS Business Case League this year. Despite only having had one practice for the first of three national competition rounds in Auckland in April due to the earthquake the team came second in that round.

Both Widdon and Loveridge were also accepted for the KPMG Ace the Case weekend. The University of Canterbury team of which Loveridge was a member won in Wellington.

“My involvement the SDS business case competition at the University of Canterbury has allowed me to not only recognise further opportunities, but it has also provided me with the necessary training and essential skill set to take advantage of these opportunities and make the most of them,” said David Loveridge. “The faculty, my lecturers, professors and SDS league management are amazing. I couldn’t have done it without them.”

Loveridge’s successes this year have brought him to the attention of KPMG Wellington and led to a job offer from the company which he has accepted. “This is an outstanding achievement to secure a place in one of New Zealand’s leading professional services firms,” said Professor Sawyer. Loveridge will start with KPMG early next year. Meanwhile Widdon will return to the University of Canterbury for her final year of study towards a BCom – Accounting and Finance.

*The Professional Accounting School programme provides candidates with the skills they need to achieve a Chartered Accountant (CA) designation.

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