CityU students hunt down job-seeking title

Eliza Lee & Karen Cheng

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Two students from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) emerged as champion and third placegetter in the ACCA Job Hunting Competition, defeating more than 200 contestants from Hong Kong and Macau universities. Going through a series of rigorous employment tests and interviews, they not only won the competition but also earned internship opportunities at major multinational companies.

Kunal Parwani, Year 2 student from the Department of Marketing, and Yu Lan, Year 1 student from the Department of Manufacturing Engineering and Engineering Management, clinched the awards in the 2009 Job Hunting Competition for the Hong Kong division organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA). Their outstanding language proficiency, excellent presentation skills and deep understanding of employers’ demands have placed them on top of other contestants.

Kunal, a winner of many internal and external competitions, said he wished to identify and improve his deficiency through participation in different contests. Winning the championship was a delight, but the precious experience gained from the competition meant even more to him. “I learned a lot from many outstanding opponents in this contest,” he said.

Qualified contestants of the ACCA competition had to go through different forms of tests, including the BULATS (Business Language Testing Service) English test and aptitude tests, interviews, group discussion, answering questions from panel judges, case studies and presentation. Kunal said it was intense but exciting, like the American TV show “The Apprentice”. “The competition simulates job seeking in real life, testing participants’ knowledge, creativity, presentation skills, team work and problem-solving skills,” he said.

An active participant of extra-curricular activities, Kunal has strived to pursue an all-round development. He has taken part in the finance and consulting programme organised by the Columbia University and the conference on global challenges hosted by Harvard University, as well as the “Clinton Global Initiative” event.

He said, “No one knows for sure when you will make use of your knowledge and experience. However, when I was asked in the ACCA competition to analyse and apply what I had learned, I used my experience in the Clinton Global Initiative event as an introduction in my speech to the panel judges. Also, I benefited from the Active Learning Programme organised by the Department of Marketing, which encourages students to read more international publications to understand the experiences of different entrepreneurs for enhancement of our analytical and critical skills.”

Kunal was not pessimistic at all about the adverse effect of the current difficult job market on university graduates. Rather, he believed it was an opportune time for students to gear up themselves for the future recovery of the economy.

Yu Lan, winning the second runner-up in the ACCA competition, did not have much expectation before the competition but only wished to gain more job hunting experience. Being qualified to the contest was a pleasant surprise to her, and receiving an award finally after many rounds of tests not only made her delighted but also boosted her confidence.

“I had been under an impression that my job seeking ability was relatively weak as an engineering student. The competition was therefore a good experience to me as it reaffirmed my ability,” she said.

She indicated that her winning could be attributable to her studies at CityU and participation in different activities such as the student leadership conference that helped her acquire related knowledge and skills for a clear presentation of her ideas in the competition. Also, to ensure a good performance in the final round competition, she met and discussed with her three unacquainted team members for more than 10 hours and read a lot of information for preparation.

Yu Lan thanked CityU for constantly encouraging students to have different exposures in order to develop a global mindset. “I used to think result is most important, but now I know process could mean more,” she said.

Kunal and Yu Lan will represent Hong Kong to take part in the final national competition to be held in Shanghai in July, vying against the top three winners from the divisions of Beijing, Shanghai, Chengdu and Guangzhou respectively. Although the pair is to meet much stronger contestants, they are full of confidence and will make ample preparation for the upcoming challenge in the hope of bringing home the grand championship.


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