Megan Petitt and Afton Vechery are both statuesque seniors with impeccable style, poise, and elegance. You may have seen them around campus; the two are hard to miss. Megan is the tall blonde with the effervescent smile and bubbly personality. Afton is the beauty with the long, dark hair and mellow demeanor.
They may be easily noticed for these qualities, and you may be envious of them (don’t lie), but their shared humility and approachable personas easily disguise what truly distinguishes these young women: their intelligence, accomplishments and ambitions.
Megan is an accounting major from Orlando, Florida, and Afton hails from Woodbine, Maryland and majors in Business and Enterprise Management. While Megan and Afton may spend hours studying in the business school, they recently applied their skill sets in a very different environment from the halls of Calloway: Istanbul, Turkey.
Ladies and gentlemen, these seniors are not just academically ambitious; these lovely ladies are the winners of the International KPMG Case Competition. Megan and Afton recently traveled across the globe to represent the United States (as ‘Team USA,’ if you will) after winning regional and national rounds of the case competition.
Joined by fellow team members Swayze Smartt and Tim Rogers, the girls defeated Sweden, the Czech Republic and Russia in the final round. Since different countries have different qualifications for this competition, Megan and Afton frequently competed against graduate or MBA students rather than undergraduate students like themselves.
“I’ve never done anything like this,” Megan said. “It is rather unique.” So how does an international competition in an exotic setting such as Istanbul apply to the seemingly boring profession of accountancy in the real world? “You would apply the skills we used in any business setting in the competition,” Megan explained. “It simulated the real world. You are assigned a case and don’t have three weeks to figure it out. You have three hours, so learning how to address it and solve it efficiently is very important.”
Nineteen countries participated in the international stage of the competition. The preliminary round entailed two cases in one day – three hours per case, twenty minutes of presentation and ten minutes of questions and answers. Four teams in the final round spent three hours preparing for a thirty-minute presentation and ten minutes of questions and answers. The audience included the other teams and the nineteen judges, all of whom were partners of KPMG, a global firm that provides audit, tax and advisory services.
Cases included a variety of subject matter, but each essentially involved resolving a challenge faced by a company or proposing a solution to existing issues within the enterprise.
“I think we were successful largely because of our team analysis skills,” Megan said. “We develop a strong understanding of the underlying topic before launching into a solution and carefully consider alternatives. As a result, we have solidarity in our recommendations and are able to support them logically.”
The KMPG International Case Competition prepared Megan and Afton for the often-daunting decisions of post-graduation. “The competition helped me solidify my interest in consulting, and this summer I am working for the Boston Consulting Group,” Megan said.
Afton, who has already started a business of her own while still in college, will move to New York City after walking through the Arch. “I will be working at a private equity firm, Great Point Partners, in Greenwich,” Afton said. “Great Point is a healthcare biotechnology-focused fund, and I am excited that my entrepreneurial and science/business major combination will be applicable.”
Whether in Winston-Salem, Istanbul, New York City or Boston, Megan and Afton will undoubtedly continue to succeed as intelligent, accomplished young women and – in a few short weeks! – graduates of Wake Forest!