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ITS alumni tap students' creativity with Accenture Challenge

Tony Sylvester | May 17, 2011

ITS alumni tap students’ creativity with Accenture Challenge

Accenture Challenge at Ohio UniversityBy Tony Sylvester,

AT RIGHT: Mohamad Al-Issa, part of the winning graduate team, passes out information prior to presenting as part of the Accenture Challenge on May 10, 2011. / Photos by Christina Baird

BELOW LEFT: Juan Echeverry, BSC '05, looks over information while a team presents their solution during the Accenture Challenge. Echeverry, who helped create the annual competition, serves as a judge.

ATHENS, Ohio (May 17, 2011)—The J. Warren McClure School of Information and Telecommunication Systems (ITS) is once again challenging their undergraduate and graduate students. The annual Accenture Challenge, a two-week competition, concluded on Thursday, May 12, during ITS Day.

ITS alumni working at Accenture, a technology-consulting firm, created the challenge in 2008. The challenge gives students the chance to solve real-world problems using the skills they’ve learned in their studies at Ohio University.

Students involved in this year’s competition included undergraduates enrolled in a capstone course taught by Greg Kaple and graduate students enrolled in Strategic Issues, taught by Graduate Studies Director Phyllis Bernt.

“This year’s challenge involves a request for proposal, or RFP,” said Dr. Bernt. “[It’s] issued by a fictional medical organization.”

Bernt said students were asked to provide an analysis that simulates a real experience “in developing a pharmacy inventory control system.”

The challenge began with the release of the RFP and a conference call on May 3. Graduate student Nate Marcinonis said the mock organization gives an executive summary and presentation to the project groups, or collectively referred to as “bidders.”

Juan Echeverry, BSC '05During this nine-day competition, positive stress levels motivated individuals to focus on time management.

“The toughest aspect of the challenge was the sheer amount of material that needed to be analyzed and broken down into smaller more manageable steps,” said senior Shawn Tignor.

Winners of the challenge were announced May 12. The graduate winning team of Pyramid Consulting was comprised of Mohamad K. Al-Issa, Marcinonis, Paa Kwesi Nyarko-Krampah and Jacob Odame, while the undergraduate student winners, of Sapiens Consulting, were John Cantrell, Patrick Gottermeyer, Joshua Offenberger and Eric Pettit.

Neil Okonak, BSC ‘02, previously employed at Accenture and now with US Celluar, had high remarks for the two winning teams.

“[Pyramid] really focused on what can be provided for the analysis phase,” said Okonak. “[And the Sapiens] had a creative approach in coming up with three different options for their client, which is a good reading into our business needs.”

ITS Day also included Technapaloza, a technology fair; speakers; panels; and an awards ceremony and banquet. For more information about the ITS school and other highlights of this year’s ITS Day, please visit