Accounting as sport: business students compete in #Big4andAfter

Jennifer Muller, Office of Communications, jm26@aub.edu.lb​

Over 100 students gathered at the Suliman S. Olayan School of Business (OSB) on Friday for a day filled with friendly competition and the chance to win a coveted job or internship at one of the top multinational accounting firms.

In this seventh edition of #Big4andAfter, undergraduate business students from all years and tracks formed teams of four and spent the sunny, spring day traipsing around campus to solve riddles, test their knowledge, and complete sports challenges. At the end of the day, the top scoring teams went head-to-head for a final competition, with the first place team being guaranteed jobs and the runners-up getting internships at either EY or PwC, the accounting firms that are supporting partners of this event.

As an educational activity, the competition was also an opportunity to demonstrate the importance of teamwork and learn how to be resourceful and adaptable in different environments. As numerous participants noted, the possibility of winning was only one of the reasons for taking part in Big4andAfter.

“It was a unique, fun, and competitive experience,” said Hisham Khrayzat, whose team grabbed second-place in the competition. “While the winning prize caught my eye, the challenge itself—such as solving the riddles and the various accounting and finance tests—was also appealing.”

The day-long event began in the morning with teams required to solve riddles that brought them to the far corners of campus. Next, there was a team-building activity and various tests of knowledge in areas such as accounting, finance, logic, and business ethics. Finally, there were sports challenges including swimming, tug-of-war, and volleyball. The ability to work as a team, communicate well, and use time efficiently came through as defining aspects of the contests.

“We discovered ourselves while discovering each other as teammates and friends. It was a great opportunity to leverage all that we've learned,” said Ahmed Dhia Eddine Zitouni of the winning team. “I will surely carry the memories of Big4andAfter deeply in my heart as a great part of my experience at OSB.”

In the afternoon, participants gathered in OSB’s Maamari Auditorium for a face-off between the top two teams and the awards ceremony.  The team of Ahmad Dhia Eddine Zitouni, Rayan Saab, Jad Abou Safa, and Yahya Othman won the first prize. Second place was awarded to the team of Hisham Khrayzat, Sultan Al Awar, Nour Danash, and Ali Bahsoun. The exact firm to employ or give internships to the winning teams will be decided by a draw.

Big4andAfter is organized by OSB’s Accounting Track—with Lecturer Rania Uwaydah Mardini and Instructor Sana El Hajj taking the lead—in collaboration with EY and PwC, which are two of the Big Four accounting firms worldwide. With many members of the EY and PwC staff on campus engaging with the students throughout the day, this was also a networking opportunity, in addition to being just good fun. 

“It was a brilliant day! It has truly put my love for accounting into perspective,” said Jad Abou Safa. “It was indeed a roller coaster of emotions and hard work that culminated in a great win. But the ultimate win was the participation itself.”