A team of accounting students from the University of California, Berkeley captured first prize last week at the Deloitte Foundation-sponsored 16th annual National Student Case Study Seminar in Scottsdale, Ariz.

The team of undergraduates bested five other national finalist schools in tackling a real-world business case study to take home $2,000 scholarships for every team member and $10,000 for the school’s accounting program.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison team placed second and received a $1,000 scholarship for each student and $5,000 toward the school’s accounting department. Students from the University of Houston, Michigan State University, Morehouse College and the University of Southern California also competed in the finals, garnering $500 scholarships for team members and $2,500 for each school.

"The National Student Case Study Seminar is one of the most important ways we support the development of the next generation of accounting talent," said Shaun Budnik, president of the Deloitte Foundation and partner at Deloitte, in a statement. "Through this program we are working to help students further develop the technical and analytical skills necessary to be successful in our profession. All of this year's participants performed well and should be very proud of their accomplishments."

With the help of a faculty advisor and Deloitte manager, every team presented their recommended solutions to complex accounting case studies to a panel of active and retired Deloitte partners. Assuming the role of a client company’s senior management or audit committee members, the panel selected the team that best outlined the relevant issues and most effectively presented the case.

“The National Student Case Study Seminar provides students a great deal of exposure to the challenges that face today's accounting professionals and helps to prepare them for their future careers," said UC Berkeley Professor Maria Nondorf in a statement. "While the competition requires the use of technical accounting knowledge, it also touches upon non-technical areas, such as presentation, teaming and interpersonal skills that are necessary to be effective when serving clients. This seminar, along with the Deloitte Foundation's overall commitment to advancing accounting education, play[s] an integral role in the education and development of our students."