By Grace Lim, SMU School of Accountancy
My decision to pursue a Bachelor of Accountancy at SMU after graduating from SOTA (a 6-year IB Diploma Programme) has always led to confused faces who will ask me: “Why accountancy?”.
Over the years, I had figured that people do not think that students learn mathematics in SOTA and so it often begs the question of what I am doing in SMU’s School of Accountancy (SOA)…but that is beside the point. While I have a template answer script for that commonly-asked question, I honestly had not quite convinced myself that SMU Accountancy was the right choice for me until after I entered SMU. In fact, my arguably introverted personality had initially led some to wonder if SMU was a good fit for me because of its highly interactive environment compared to the other local universities. My journey in SMU had not been without struggles. However, as I will share with you, my experience in SMU SOA has been a valuable and meaningful one, given the numerous opportunities that the University offers. It has shaped me to become more confident, driven and independent.
My first year in SMU SOA was a tough one. In my first semester, I fell short of my SMU scholarship GPA requirement, and in my second semester, I failed my first accounting module—Management Accounting. It was during these times that I struggled to find my place in school. All the setbacks combined made me disgruntled, unmotivated and self-conscious—considering how I used to excel in school. Fortunately, it was through my participation in school clubs, activities and competitions that I have learnt to rediscover myself.
Grace at the SMU Tax Case Challenge
I was part of SMU Tax Society as a Deputy Marketing Director, where I met seniors (or “Tax Gods” as we call them) who shared with me their passion for learning and applying tax rules. The club organises the SMU Tax Case Challenge, but its members also actively participate (and have often emerged champions) in national accounting challenges organised by the other accounting schools. This greatly inspired my friends and me to do the same—hoping for the same success. Our first attempt at the NTU Tax Case Challenge failed miserably as we did not even pass the qualifying round. So did our second attempt at Deloitte’s Risk Intelligent Challenge 2016—albeit a more positive outcome as we did make it to the semi-finals. It was finally at the SMU-IIAS Internal Audit Case Challenge 2016, when we broke through and emerged as the 2nd Runner Up.
With members of the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Club
In my second year (to 2017), I became Vice President of the Citi-SMU Financial Literacy Club, which focuses on imparting basic financial literacy to young adults at educational institutions like ITEs, as well as trains students to become financial literacy trainers. Personally, I learnt a lot of practical financial knowledge that has complemented my accounting studies. Together with a group of like-minded individuals, I was also able to be part of the effort to give back to society by educating young adults about financial literacy, through the club-organised workshops and events. I also had the opportunity to share my views on personal finance in a Citibank sponsored column on the Business Times.
In 2016, I also took part in an SOA-organised SMU-MCCY Transparency Assessment Community Service Project, where our accounting students were able to use their expertise to ‘audit’ charity organisations on the transparency of their disclosures.
Grace and team at Deloitte’s Risk Intelligence Challenge
On hindsight, I am thankful for the rich university experience that SMU SOA has offered me. It is a competitive environment. Academically, the course is challenging and there may be failures along the way. However, these failures do not limit the opportunities that are available, but instead provide valuable learning experiences that will pave the way for small successes, as it did for me. Who knew that my participation at Deloitte’s Risk Intelligent Challenge would eventually grant me a Winter Internship at Deloitte’s Risk Advisory!
If anyone were to ask if I would recommend SMU School of Accountancy, I would say yes. And why accountancy in SMU? Because it is a challenging yet rewarding experience.
SMU’s undergraduate admissions is now open! Find out more about our Bachelor of Accountancy programme today.