Bachelor of Commerce with Honours in Accountancy, Finance and Information Systems
Audit Senior Associate, Diversified Industries and Infrastructure, KPMG, Singapore
Hailing from India, Shefali first discovered UC while holidaying in Christchurch with her family. She says that it was not just the beauty of Christchurch city that influenced her decision to study here; she was particularly attracted to UC because its Accounting qualification is highly regarded internationally.
‘The convenient location of the University in relation to the halls of residence, the extremely friendly atmosphere and the multicultural environment where I could mix with students from all over the world also played a big part in my decision to study at UC,’ she says.
‘Being an international student at UC was a fantastic experience. I became more independent, mature and confident in just one year, and I made a lot of friends. What I also really liked about UC is that everyone is willing to help.’
‘The Student Support team is a big comfort for students who have come all the way here not knowing anyone else. They can provide guidance regarding visa matters and the initial set-up, so you can look after yourself from your very first day in New Zealand.’
Shefali’s first role as a graduate was as an Analyst for Deloitte in Christchurch, which involved a number of diverse responsibilities. ‘My typical day entails working in a team of about two-five people at a client, effectively coaching junior members of staff, reporting audit findings to the manager or Partner, and liaising with the client and the team to complete the audit in a timely manner. It has also involved considerable amount of travel within New Zealand, which has made it even more interesting.’
Shefali has just completed her professional exams and obtain her NZ Chartered Accountancy qualification, which involved six workshops and a six-hour final exam. ‘This has certainly been one of the most challenging years of my life, balancing work and study at the same time. However I really enjoyed the course, because I’ve had the opportunity to draw on the experience I’ve gained over the last three years and further develop the competencies I learned at university.’
Having just accepted a new job in Singapore, Shefali recognises the importance of her UC degree in impressing potential employers. ‘I definitely believe my UC degree had a big impact on getting both my jobs so far,’ she says.
The natural progression of her studies has provided a solid foundation for her career so far. ‘Undergrad at UC focused on developing the technical skills and concepts in accounting and these were definitely useful when I commenced work. Then, during my Honours year, I had the opportunity to develop soft skills such as critical thinking, leadership, making effective presentations, written and oral communication skills and time management which are crucial throughout your career.’
Shefali adds that an Honours degree is ‘not just an academic exercise – it has been great for my personal eminence too, as my thesis on fraud and management commentary was published in a British journal, and was also circulated to the forensics services team at Deloitte NZ and Chicago.’
Shefali is excited about this new career opportunity. Her immediate goal is to excel in the job, embrace its challenges and develop a strong business acumen. ‘Working in Singapore, in the heart of Asia and in one of the world’s largest financial centres will be an amazing opportunity!’
For students looking at a similar career, she suggests studying towards a BCom with Honours. ‘Having an Honours degree in Accounting and Finance from UC has certainly helped me at work – and outside work,’ she says. ‘It’s an extremely intensive year, but it builds confidence and is an opportunity to interact more closely with faculty members. It pushes you to think and apply the knowledge gained at undergraduate level, while giving you the freedom to pursue research in your chosen field of interest.’