On August 19, TEI held its inaugural International Tax Student Case Competition in Montreal. Five teams of four students each from universities in North and South America competed to determine which team could devise the best solution to a set of international tax issues. The Case Competition was the brainchild of TEI Senior Vice President Josephine Scalia, head of tax at Nestlé Health Science (and chair of the Case Competition). She then enlisted International Fiscal Association (IFA) Canada Secretary Laura Gheorghiu, tax partner at Gowling WLG in Montreal, to make this vision a reality.
The students participated in a Zoom lecture on international tax issues led by Michael Kobetsky, professor at the Australian National University, before the competition. After a day of preparation and presentations to the judges, the team from Torcuato Di Tella University of Argentina won the CAD$2,000 first prize, which was furnished by IFA Canada. The winning team comprised Agustin Lopez Sarmiento, Maria Florencia González Klebs, Gabriel Socolovsky, and Romina Mariela Zelaya. In addition to Torcuato Di Tella University, the University of Calgary, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (Mexico City), the University of Montreal, and Western University (London, Ontario) participated in the Case Competition, which was held at the Montreal offices of Gowling WLG, the competition’s Host Sponsor.
The Case Competition marks TEI’s commitment to supporting and building a robust and diverse tax student community. TEI has supported tax students for many years and offers almost $200,000 in yearly scholarships through its chapter network. TEI added a student membership in 2019 and launched the Student Committee in 2023, which offers tax students the opportunity to join TEI and participate in chapter and Institute events. This year, TEI is adding several additional student benefits, such as regular webinars on topics of interest to tax students, an online student community, and an Instagram page. TEI looks forward to adding more schools to next year’s Case Competition and growing this important community that includes future in-house tax executives.
The following firms offered financial support, enabling TEI to host the Case Competition: Gowling WLG (Host Sponsor), RSM US LLP (Travel Team Sponsor), McCarthy Tétrault (Lunch Sponsor), International Bureau of Fiscal Documentation (IBFD, Breakfast Sponsor), Andersen (General Sponsor), Crowe LLP (General Sponsor), and KPMG (General Sponsor).
TEI sends a special thanks to the individuals who served as judges: Sophie Chatel, member of Parliament for Pontiac in the House of Commons of Canada; Chia-Yi Chua, senior counsel at McCarthy Tétrault; Angelo Nikolakakis, tax partner at EY Law LLP; Michael O’Connor, senior tax advisor at KPMG; and Elisabeth Robichaud, partner at Davies Ward Phillips & Vineberg LLP.
Similarly, thanks to the TEI members who served as student mentors in the lead-up to the competition: Walter Kolligs, vice president of international tax at Visa; Jie Yu, tax director at Keywords Studios; Joy Wang, global head of tax at Knight Therapeutics Inc.; Igor Soroka, director, corporate taxation, at Saput; and Sergio Ruelas, Latin American and Caribbean tax director at March McLennan.
TEI also thanks these individuals who gave their time and insights to make the Case Competition a success: Julie-Han Angers, director of events at Gowling WLG; Delphine Robert, business development and marketing manager at Gowling WLG; Sarah Chiu, partner at Felesky Flynn LLP; John Farquhar, partner at Felesky Flynn LLP; Doug Powrie, tax lawyer; Fraser Reid, chief financial officer at CheckSammy Technologies Inc.; Jennifer Farrell, Ph.D., professor at Western University (Faculty of Law); Jesus Aldrin Rojas, professor at the Universidad Panamericana (Mexico); Jean-Pierre Vidal, Ph.D., professor at the University of Montreal (HEC); Joaquin Kersman, professor at the Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (Argentina); Nickie Nikolaou, professor at the University of Calgary; and Michael Kobetsky, professor at the Australian National University.
And, finally, the Case Competition would not have been possible without the substantial efforts of the TEI International Tax Student Case Competition Planning Committee, comprising Scalia; Gheorghiu; TEI Latin America Chapter Representative Lionel Bonner Nobre, Dell Technologies; Anne-Marie Nguyen, chair of the TEI Student Committee; Concetta Barbieri, member of the TEI Student Committee; Luca Iadinardi, vice chair of the TEI Student Committee; Yasmine Hannoush, vice chair of the TEI Student Committee; Amy Mazur, TEI marketing and communications manager; Ben Shreck, TEI tax counsel; and Pilar Mata, TEI executive director.