I Wanted to Learn More About Data Analytics to Enhance My Career. SMU’s MSA Is Giving Me the Skills I Need

By Singapore Management University

Ng Pei Lin was keen to deepen her knowledge about data analytics after finding it was playing an increasingly important role in her work.

The economics graduate explains that the finance department of the Singapore Civil Defence Force, where she worked as a senior staff officer, was using data analytics to strengthen its internal controls and detect any payment anomalies.

“It was a very new area in which we were looking to use data analytics. I was very interested in data analytics, but I had not studied it before, so I lacked the structured knowledge and framework,” she says.

Her interest in the subject, combined with her belief that data analytics would be a key skill to have in the future, led to her decision to study it at a higher level.

When she started looking at programmes, Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Master of Science in Accounting (Data & Analytics) (MSA) stood out from other courses because it was the only Master’s programme that combined accounting with data analytics, not only giving her the skills she needed but also applying them to the financial services sector.

“The SMU MSA programme is the first and only one that goes deep into the application of data technology in the accounting and finance domain,” she says.

Ng is only part-way through the programme, but she has already been impressed by its depth.

“The course is very useful in teaching us how to use data analytics to detect anomalies or to gather insights from big data.”

“Having completed just two semesters, I have already learnt how to make use of practical and relevant technical tools such as R, Python and SQL for data analysis.”

She is intrigued by the way the programme is taught, pointing out that her learning has been further enhanced by the opportunity to apply the skills she is taught in case studies and projects.

Ng shared that SMU does not just focus on academics, but also holds professional development workshops that teach students skills such as how to write better resumes and present themselves at interviews.

“It is very useful for people who are looking for a job because to secure a job you need to prepare a CV and get through an interview before anyone recognises your academic abilities. SMU has a lot of avenues for career guidance,” she says.

Ng is studying the MSA part-time, and while she admits it can be tiring juggling working and studying, she thinks doing it this way has really helped her understand what she is learning.

“Working part-time is useful because when I learn a new skill, I can explore the application of it to my work and see the relevance. I am learning about a lot of different tools, which I find very interesting.”

Ng thinks it is important for people working in financial services and accounting to keep up to date with the latest technology, particularly if they want to accelerate their careers.

She points out: “The finance landscape has changed tremendously over the last decade. Finance roles have evolved and there is now much more focus on big data and the application of data analytics to improve efficiency and eliminate repetitive manual tasks, enabling people to focus on strategic and analytical work.”

Ng advises anyone thinking of studying SMU’s MSA to be open to learning new things. “As a finance graduate, you don’t really know about programming and coding, but you learn about it on this course. You need to be tech-savvy and open to new skills. Having an interest and passion in this area plays a big part too.”

Ng has changed jobs since she first started studying for the MSA, and she is currently working as a planning officer for one of the local government agency, using data analytics to increase efficiency in its operations.

When she graduates, she hopes to have more opportunities to use her new skills, eventually becoming an expert in the area.

“The MSA programme has been beneficial in equipping me with the essential skills to stay relevant and competitive in finance and accounting-related roles. The knowledge I have acquired empower me to better apply data analytics to solve real-world problems and it definitely helps to open doors to more career opportunities in this area,” she says.


Master of Science in Accounting (Data & Analytics)

In 2018, SMU’s School of Accountancy introduced a brand new Master of Science in Accounting with specialisation in Data & Analytics (MSA) programme. The MSA programme is designed for professionals who are interested in developing expertise in applying data technology into their accounting and finance domain knowledge. It complements the long-established Master of Professional Accounting (MPA) programme which provides an invaluable opportunity for non-finance professionals who are keen to develop their career in accounting and finance.

If you are interested in pursuing a career in accounting, SMU Accounting Masters offers two programmes, Master of Professional Accounting and Master of Science in Accounting (Data & Analytics) to prepare our students for a successful pathway of their choice. Graduates from our programmes enjoy high graduate employability, world-class faculty and internationally recognised professional degree.

Learn how you can achieve your career goals at our upcoming coffee sessions. Reserve your slot at https://accountancy.smu.edu.sg/events

Connect with us at mpa@smu.edu.sgor msa@smu.edu.sg to find out more about our programme offerings.


This article was originally published on eFinancialCareers.