Mr Benjamin Chua, 27, was one of the lucky ones who had received a good job offer, even before he graduated from SUSS’s inaugural full-time Bachelor of Accountancy in October 2018.
Direct Entry to The Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification Programme
The four-year full-time Bachelor of Accountancy Degree is recognised by the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA). Through this programme, Benjamin got a good head start as he had undergone training to be a qualified, competent and confident accountant. It had equipped Benjamin with both academic and professional knowledge to face the challenges in the Accountancy sector.
The Singapore Accountancy Commission (SAC) has also accredited the Bachelor of Accountancy Degree for direct entry to the Singapore Chartered Accountant Qualification Programme. Taking advantage of the direct entry, Benjamin is now working towards achieving the Chartered Accountant certification in 3 years’ time.
Benjamin confesses that, “The route towards attaining the Chartered Accountant certification is no mean feat, but SUSS’s pedagogy of self-directed learning has taught me independence while stimulating me to be a pro-active problem solver.”
Landing a Job through Work Attachment
The Bachelor of Accountancy programme offers a unique learning experience which integrates service-learning, self-directed learning, overseas experience and work attachment.
Most of the 83 pioneer batch of full-time Accountancy graduates had landed jobs within three months after completing their degree studies.
Like many other fellow graduates, Benjamin’s six-month work attachment with a prestigious accountancy firm gave him an edge and landed him a permanent position as an Audit Assistant in the firm.
At SUSS, community engagement initiatives such as service-learning are conceived as an integral part of the University’s learning ecology and a graduating requirement of full-time degree programmes. It is a process to empower students to further develop and act on their sense of social responsibility, grounded in real-world ideas and practices to contribute meaningfully to society through partnership
It creates a connection between the university and the local community partners, where the community is invited as co-educators to facilitate cross-sector collaboration and shared resources that help to enhance society’s well-being and guide students in their journey of growth to become leaders in society.
Working with Intellectually Disabled Persons
For Benjamin, his service-learning project saw him dedicating his time to raising awareness of individuals with intellectual disabilities, as well as highlighting their skills and capabilities. In order to better prepare for the advocacy project, Benjamin and his teammates spent three months, at MINDS Clementi Training Development Centre volunteering, and interacting with the beneficiaries on a weekly basis. Several public campaigns were organised to educate the public about various intellectual disabilities.
Bittersweet Experience of Service-Learning
The team not only had to deal with non-receptive members of the public, but also faced logistical issues to do with bringing a group of intellectually disabled young people for an outing.
However, the main challenge the team encountered was gaining the trust and attention of the beneficiaries as they were rather skeptical and easily distracted. To overcome these problems, the team tried spending more time with the beneficiaries and connecting with them by going through their daily activities with them.
Nonetheless, the challenging process was alleviated by several invaluable encounters Benjamin had while serving the community. He said, “I am touched by the unconditional love and patience shown by caretakers and teachers at MINDS.”
Benjamin was glad to have had the chance to serve others beyond the classroom environment. The greatest achievement for him was to have found joy and a sense of purpose throughout the entire service-learning project. He elaborated, “It is especially exhilarating when everyone portrayed such positive attitudes and eagerness in trying to complete the project successfully to meet the expectations of our community partner.” He added, “Most importantly, it is to bring smiles to the faces of the beneficiaries.”
As Mr Ong Ye Kung, Minister for Higher Education and Skills said during the Service-Learning Festival in August last year, “Service-learning helps open the eyes of students here to the needs of others, which is something they need to take into account when considering what course or career to pursue.” He continued, “Servicing-learning was about what you want to do for others, for the people around you.”
Service-Learning Becomes a Habit
The service-learning experience was indeed an eye-opener for Benjamin. Through active participation in thoughtfully-organised service experiences that meet actual community needs, Benjamin has become more empathetic towards social issues. Moreover, the opportunity to connect with the beneficiaries as well as the interactions with the caretakers and teachers had allowed him to view situations from different perspectives.
With a nudge of serendipity through service-learning, Benjamin’s social awakening has naturally taken him a step further. The auditor is now looking forward to contributing to the society through his pro-bono accounting contributions.
Mantra of Learning
Having landed a job with one of the largest accounting firms in the world, Benjamin definitely has what it takes to do the job. He shared, “The desire to learn and humility are among the most important attributes which one should possess when it comes to learning.” During the work attachment, he had capitalized on all learning opportunities and maximized them as experiential learnings.
Benjamin is working towards allocating more time for his personal life while juggling the demands of work and studies.