More than 50 students, faculty, and staff all at the movies together? Not your typical day in the accounting department. But Professor Joe Hoyle says, it’s something we should see more often.

“My thought was that it would be a wonderful bonding experience for my students,” Hoyle said.

Every semester, he encourages his students to get to know the greater Richmond area by visiting landmarks like Pony Pasture and the White House of the Confederacy. If they do so, they can earn up to five points on their final exam. But this year, when he saw that “The Accountant” movie with Ben Affleck was coming out, he decided to add that to the Richmond bucket list.

“I originally had the idea to tell the students that they could add the movie to their list if they went as a group,” Hoyle said.

Then, as word spread about the event, he got an overwhelming response from the rest of the business school.

“I think it’s a wonderful experience,” Hoyle said. “They’ll go as a group, they’ll laugh and talk as a group, and they’ll make friends as a group.”

So Friday, October 28, 56 students, faculty, and staff took a drive to Bowtie Movieland to see the film.

“You can argue that it has nothing to do with accounting. Why give five points for something that has nothing to do with accounting? And my argument is we’re not just teaching stuff, we’re trying to develop well rounded individuals” Hoyle said.

And students had that attitude as well.

“It was very different than seeing a speaker,” said Noelle Graf, a junior accounting student who attended with friends. “It’s something we’ve been really excited about.”

“Being able to go with the school and see everyone outside of class was cool,” said Nellie Searle, a senior accounting student. “It was really fun.”

But they’re not the only ones getting to know each other outside the classroom.

More than a dozen students participated in the PwC Case Challenge, mentored by Dr. Daniel Paik.

According to PwC, the case challenge competition gives students the opportunity to solve real-world business scenarios using the knowledge they’ve learned in class. 

“It’s a unique opportunity,” Dr. Paik said. “The judges were very impressed.”

The judges, made up of PwC senior associates, heard presentations from multiple groups of students, including Catherine McNamara, ‘19, of the winning team.

 “I love participating in the Challenge because I know the value of case study skills. Not only are they what most of your work consists of in an MBA program, but they also simulate what consulting and professional service firms deal with on a daily basis,” McNamara said of the experience.

She and her team of three other students presented strategies for how a company could acquire a smaller company as a subsidiary to help improve their brand. They had about 10 minutes to present their ideas to the mock-executives.

“We tried to create the most comprehensive and realistic solution we could, even going into the tax laws of our decision, because that is something you would actually have to consider in the real world,” McNamara said. “The Challenge ultimately allowed me to combine the lessons I’ve been learning in the classroom with presentation and professional skills needed to succeed, and showed me the possibilities of a career with PwC.”