By Liz Warren-Pederson


For the second year in a row, a UA team will go on to compete as a national finalist in the annual PricewaterhouseCoopers case competition. The Eller students – Drew Finsterwald, Spencer Shugrue, Derek Haboush, and Ryan Mendoza – will square off against teams from University of Washington, Villanova University, and Wake Forest University at the final competition in New York in January, with help from faculty advisor Joe Fonte.

Shugrue (Eller Accounting and MIS ’14) participated in the competition last year as well. This year’s case asked the teams to examine the viability of opening a biodiesel facility in West Texas. “The new facility would be producing biodiesel from soybeans and used cooking oil, their target market would be the military and companies in the transportation industry,” he said.

Shugrue’s experience last year gave his team an edge. “I learned a lot from the experience and knew what the judges would be expecting,” he said. “What really set us apart, though, was our ability to think outside the box and go beyond the recommendations that were given to us.”

He said the competition has been the highlight of his Eller experience so far. “What we accomplished is something you dream about,” Shugrue said. “This whole competition was voluntary, so when you work hard and see this type of results, it feels pretty good. Our whole team appreciates everything Eller does though, we know this would not have been possible without the great faculty working within Eller.”

Top image of the winning Eller team: Ryan Mendoza, Andrew Finsterwald, Derick Haboush, Spencer Shugrue.