Paige Schleyer, Maria Brusa, Giselle Balvuena, and Abbie Dziadzio placed first in the Snaks Ahoy! Case Competition at Niagara University.

Accounting students in Niagara University’s Holzschuh College of Business Administration's cost management systems course presented their case analyses to a panel of academic and seasoned business professionals during a case competition on April 23, 2024. The competition, which was sponsored by Lumsden McCormick CPA, is the first of its kind in the upstate New York region.

Based on financial and nonfinancial information about a fictional potato chip manufacturer called Snaks Ahoy!, five teams of students provided their recommendations on a series of business decisions to the panel of professionals. Their presentations included summaries of the challenges facing the company and their potential solutions, as well as an implementation strategy.

Two groups were selected as the winning teams. Placing first were senior Giselle Balvuena, from Bayonne, N.J.; juniors Maria Brusa from Syracuse, N.Y., and Paige Schleyer from York, N.Y.; and sophomore Abbie Dziadzio from Buffalo, N.Y. Seniors Devin Cuthbert from Watervliet, N.Y., and Landon Hungerford from Niagara Falls, N.Y.; and juniors Trevor Hasley from North Tonawanda, N.Y., Logan Scanlon from Allison Park, Pa., and Alex Thurman from Youngstown, N.Y., placed second in the competition. Both teams won a cash award.

“There is no better tool to prepare students for the world of work than the case study method,” said Patrick O'Meara, assistant professor of accounting, who teaches the course. “At the heart of most cases are the assessment of problems and the provision of solutions. This focus provides students with the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills — most notably, preparation, judgment, and self-confidence.”

Judging the contest were William Smith, director of Our Brands at Tops Markets; NU alumnus Johnathon Miles, '11, MBA’12, principal, Brisbane Consulting Group; Robert Morreale, NU chief financial and innovation officer; Phil Cantanese, director of centers and college outreach; Dr. Ian Burt, associate professor of accounting; and O'Meara.