Business executives help accounting students navigate careers

Michelle Leung

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The Department of Accountancy at City University of Hong Kong (CityU) hosted an inauguration ceremony and dinner for its Executive Mentoring Scheme (EMS) on 16 November. About 30 business executives met the accounting students to start the year-long mentoring programme.

The scheme, now in its third year, is co-organised by CityU’s Department of Accountancy, the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Hong Kong (ACCA) and Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA), with support given by the Young Entrepreneurs Development Council. Students will learn more about the profession from their mentors and obtain valuable insight into both the profession and their personal development.

EMS has been expanding and becoming increasingly popular. This year, a

total of 72 mentors and 157 students joined the scheme, an increase of 30% and 70% respectively compared to last year. The mentors, derived from more than 30 enterprises, will be assigned two or three students each and will arrange meetings and activities to help the students set their personal and career development goals.

Twelve international accounting firms from Hong Kong and Singapore support the scheme, including the “Big Four” firms. They have also established internship arrangements with the department. About 100 students will be able to gain experience in the profession next semester or during the summer break.

In his welcoming speech, Dr Charles Chen Jieping, Head of the Department of Accountancy, said, “The Department of Accountancy has always tried its best to nurture the future accounting elite through emphasising the importance of whole person development. Through EMS, our students will develop their personalities and professionalism with our industry mentors.”

Mr Morison Chan Chi-kong, President of ACCA, believed both mentors and students could benefit from the scheme. “Students can acquire the latest industry information from mentors to enable them to plan for their careers, while mentors can gain a better understanding of the new generation, which may help in the management of their younger staff,” he said.

This is the first year the HKICPA has co-organised the scheme with CityU. Mr Jonathan Ng, HKICPA’s Director of Student Education and Training, appreciated and supported the scheme. “We share the same goals as CityU in wanting to nurture future professional leaders, so we have provided the necessary support for the scheme,” he said.

Officiating guests at the inauguration also included Mr Paul Chan Mo-po, Immediate Past President of HKICPA, and Mr Joey Fan, Executive Director of Young Entrepreneurs Development Council.

German Cheung Yiu-man and Rita Lau Wai-ping, final year accounting students, have joined EMS for two consecutive years. They both agreed it was an eye-opening experience, enabling them to learn different aspects of the profession.

“The mentor assigned to me last year was an assistant financial controller. He gave me a lot of advice and I now have a clearer focus in regard to my career development. My mentor this year is a CEO from whom I can learn the key to becoming a successful career woman,” Rita said.

They also learnt from the mentors the importance of contributing to society. “My mentor, who worked for an investment bank, did not hesitate to volunteer to teach on the mainland, despite his packed schedule,” German said. “I will try my best to contribute to my alma mater and society after graduation.”

Rita and German are also taking part in the department’s Supplemental Instruction Scheme. As mentors of the Year 1 accounting students, they will help them adapt to university life by sharing their own experience.

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