CityU accountancy students to jump start careers in Singapore

Audrey Chung and Catherine Ng

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Eight final-year students from the Department of Accountancy (AC) of City University of Hong Kong (CityU) have been recruited by two international accountancy firms to jump start their careers in Singapore in September, gain overseas work experience and build on their professional knowledge and skills.

The two collaborating firms, RSM Chio Lim and Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, are member firms of RSM International and Grant Thornton, respectively, which employ hundreds of professionals from different countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

CityU’s Faculty of Business (FB) launched an internship programme last year with the same two firms in Singapore for Year 1 and Year 2 accountancy students at CityU. The two firms commended the students’ professional performance, and senior partners from these firms visited CityU last month to hold the first round of the recruitment exercise.

At the press gathering today (25 May), Professor Matthew Lee, Associate Dean of the FB, said: “CityU’s FB has been collaborating with various business corporations and education institutions in overseas countries on different activities to promote cultural exchanges and internationalization. Last year, AC organized a Singapore study tour and began to work closely with these two accountancy firms, which led to the collaboration on this employment opportunity.”

Professor Lee said the two collaborating firms recruited talented people from all over the world, reflecting CityU students’ competitiveness in the international arena. He also said Singapore was a multi-cultural country and that working there would be a good opportunity for students to get exposure to different cultures. “Such valuable experience will be an asset for their future career development,” Professor Lee said.

Shi Yuan-fan, one of the selected students, said overseas work experience would benefit her personal growth and career development. “By spending time with people on a daily basis, I can learn to get along well with people from different countries. At work, I will meet clients from different industries, helping me to better understand the overall economic development of the Asia-Pacific region and enhance my competitiveness,” Yuan-fan said.

Mak Chi-shing, another student recruited onto

the programme, said he was determined to become a qualified accountant in Singapore and to develop his career there. His expectations were not financial. “It will be a big challenge for me to work in an overseas country, during which time I will definitely enhance my confidence as well as my communication and language skills,” Chi-sing said.

In addition to graduates going to work in Singapore, 14 Year 1 and Year 2 students in AC were selected to attend an internship programme at RSM Chio Lim, Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton and Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu in Singapore for three to five months.

Siu Lai-yan, who will join this internship programme in the spring or summer of 2007, said the programme was a great opportunity to gain valuable overseas work experience and build better social skills.

Dr Margaret Poon, Associate Professor of AC, coordinates the Singapore internship programme. “Working in an overseas country can broaden students’ mind and develop a more international perspective. Participants can learn to become more

independent after they leave home and their comfort zone. This will be a good learning and exchange experience for the students. It will sharpen their competitive edge for their future careers, no matter they work in Hong Kong or the mainland,” Dr Poon said.

Mr Teo Cheow-tong, a partner with RSM Chio Lim, and Mr Wong Kian-kok, a partner with Foo Kon Tan Grant Thornton, said students could broaden their horizons and enrich their personal experience by working in their respective company. These students would bring fresh ideas to their companies and help with business development, making it a win-win situation for both sides, they said.

In addition to cultivating a professional and internationalized environment to enhance students’ learning, FB has established various scholarship schemes to recognize the performance of its outstanding students. One example is the “Accounting Scholars Programme” launched by AC.

This Programme is endorsed by the Hong Kong Society of Accountants as well as major employers such as the ‘big four’ accounting firms. Every year approximately 30 Year 2 students who have secured good academic results will be selected to take part and will receive two years training that will help in their professional and whole-person development. Participating students will also have a chance to join exchange visits to major cities such as Beijing and Shanghai; engage in internship programmes offered by renowned accountancy firms; meet with mentors who are professionals from a multinational organization through the “Professional mentoring scheme”; and take part in community services.

A $500,000 scholarship has been set up for AC by sponsoring organizations to recognize students with an outstanding academic record. In addition, AC is offering an entrance scholarship worth $30,000 to $45,000 to recognize students that achieve an outstanding academic record every year. In fact, in order to broaden students’ international experience, FB has set up exchange programmes with over 70 universities from Europe, US, Asia, Africa and Australia.

The quality of teaching of the FB has been widely recognized. It has been accredited by AACSB International (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) and recognized as one of the five best business schools in the Asia-Pacific region. It is the third university in the Greater China area to have gained this prestigious recognition.

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