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BYU accounting students to learn team-building skills in first Pit Crew Challenge Sept. 8-10

Ladies and gentlemen, start your engines. Roughly 250 Marriott School accounting students are about to participate in Brigham Young University's first Pit Crew Challenge, sponsored by PricewaterhouseCoopers.

The team-building event will take place Thursday and Friday in the Marriott Center parking lot, and Saturday in the Wilkinson Student Center parking lot south of the Law School.

The challenge divides the students into seven-member pit crews. After brief instructions about their responsibilities, it’s time for a pit stop.

“This is not about the racecar,” says Bob Parker, facilitator of the Pit Crew Challenge. “This is about working together as a team.”

Parker has spent 17 years training top company executives, and began using the pit crew analogy four years ago to illustrate the importance of teamwork and depending on others.

Marriott School associate professor Scott Hobson, who attended Parker’s challenge last June in New Jersey, said that working in teams to change tires is more difficult than it seems. It took some teams 10 or 11 times longer than professional pit crews.

“It is total chaos during your first attempt,” Hobson said. “There’s a noisy car, and everyone is yelling at each other.”

Because disarray can occur in study groups at the Marriott School, Hobson said the challenge is an exercise that teaches group leadership dynamics. He hopes the students apply what they learn as a pit crew to work effectively and accomplish objectives as teams this year at BYU.

Though not many accounting students are likely to be on professional pit crews, the experience will teach them how to form a group, become cohesive and get projects done, said School of Accountancy director Kevin Stocks.

“This will be the first time we have done this for a group of accounting students,” Parker said. “It could be rather interesting."

Writer: Don Osmond

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