Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), a globally recognised leader in the accounting and finance profession, organized its first ICAEW Regional Business Challenge on 11thJune 2015 at Connexion@Nexus, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. This challenge is for tertiary students from Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam. The event provides the participating students opportunities to meet and discuss with the management team from renowned companies such as the big four audit firms and accounting firms.
Along with our course manager, Mr Robert Tan, SP sent a team of 6 DAC students to represent SP in this competition.
ACCvengers all ready for the Business Challenge.
The event was divided into two segments. The first segment consisted of the opening ceremony and an introduction of ICAEW to the participants. It was also the time for us participants to network with other participants in other teams and also, the employers themselves, including staff from ICAEW. I am glad to be able to attend this event, with the opportunity to make new friends, especially those that I made from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus.
The second segment is the competition itself where we were given a case study to work on and at the end, coming up with feasible and viable recommendation to present to the panel of judges on the problems posed.
Photo taken with the team of students from University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus
Group photo with the Indonesia and Vietnam teams at Capri by Fraser Hotel.
To me, the most memorable experiences were the times where we overcame our challenges as a team in the first round of the competition. Despite the stressful and intense environment we were in, we were able to overcome them effectively and efficiently and complete the task required of us.
Hard at work! Analyzing the 11 pages of case study on Blackberry.
Given only 75 minutes to read, analyze, formulate our recommendations and prepare for the presentation, we were in a panic mode. Moreover, a number of unexpected challenges were also posed to us along the way. The very first challenge was to provide each team with only one copy of the case study instead of giving everyone a copy. Fortunately, with the wit of our team leader, Hui Shan, she snapped photos of each page of the case study and sent it to all of us so we could scrutinize the case study on our individual phones. The weak internet connection also posed another challenge to us. Despite the difficulties faced in researching online, we were glad that we were able to complete the required preliminary work before this competition. With our prior research on Porter’s Five Forces and PEST analysis and also with the knowledge gained in the course of study as a DAC student, bulk of the work was just a matter of application. Another challenge that ICAEW posed to us unexpectedly was the confiscation of our electronic devices for a full 10 minutes. Although taken aback, our team managed to remain calm and productive, producing many good discussions during the 10 minute technology debarment. Also, I really appreciate the camaraderie of my team. Although there were times when my leader was taken away from us, we were able to employ the strategy of “divide and conquer”, completing our task and playing our roles expected of us effectively.
I am amazed with our preparedness and our teamwork despite the constraints and challenges we faced. I can say this is the best team that I have ever worked with in my three years of study in SP. I am really proud that my team was able to enter the next round and clinch the title of second runner up!
All the hard work paid off as we emerge second runner up among the 24 participating teams.
To conclude, I am very honoured to be given the opportunity to stretch myself in this competition. This competition has allowed me to understand myself better, in terms of my strengths and weaknesses, and how I can improve on them. In addition, I am glad to learnt more about stress management, especially when put in such an intense environment.
I would strongly encourage my friends and juniors to go for this trip, not just for the exposure or the opportunity to meet aspiring accountants around the region but also to enrich and to understand themselves and how they can improve as an individual.