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Student story

Coacine Chong

20 July 2023

"With Economics and Finance, I can go into banks, consulting, and even investment banking..."


Bachelor of Commerce in Economics and Finance

Financial Assurance Associate, PwC

“As I come from a busy city back in Malaysia, I figured that a change of scene may do some good for the soul,” says Coacine, who came to Christchurch from Malaysia to take on a double major Commerce degree.

“I reckoned that Christchurch would have a balance of both a city but without a hectic environment and wasn’t disappointed. Though it may seem mundane to many, I quite like the peace here compared to big busy cities.

“Furthermore, I had someone from the Canterbury Malaysian Student Association describe her life at UC which got me pretty convinced.”

Coacine had developed an interest in Economics in high school, and says her Commerce degree provides her with career options that are wide-ranging,

“The fields that I chose to study are pretty broad. With Economics and Finance, I can go into banks, consulting, and even investment banking.”

Coacine says the study of Economics and Finance had been a challenging yet rewarding experience, seeking help when needed from UC’s student services.

“To be honest, I would not say that maths is my strongest subject but the high level of support from the people here in University has encouraged me to pursue the Finance major a lot more comfortably than I expected,” she says.

“The Academic Skills Centre is where I went to for someone to help find grammatical errors before handing in assignments. I would hate to have marks taken off due to silly grammar mistakes!

“There is a level of support available everywhere – whether it is academics, wellbeing, or career preparation, UC has thought of it.”

A day in the life of Coacine at UC was an eventful one, being an active member of three major clubs on campus, including the Student Volunteer Army, the Canterbury Malaysian Student Association, and the University of Canterbury Global Society.

“The Student Volunteer Army (SVA) is the biggest club on campus and I was proud to be on the executive board as the club’s Treasurer for 2018. I love doing ‘behind the scenes’ work so the role of a Treasurer strongly appealed to me. I also got to do things that I have never touched on before, such as managing accounts and coming up with a budget for the year.”

Additionally, Coacine was a dedicated member of the Canterbury Malaysian Student Association for three years running.

“As a member of the club I felt right at home with our well-known Manglish conversation slangs, especially the famous ‘lah’ at the end of the sentence. The club often organises food-related events which satisfies homesickness as well as social events to bring together Malaysians on campus.”

Alongside her club responsibilities, Coacine took every opportunity to immerse herself in the UC student community to support others in their study. 

“I was a peer note taker for the Equity & Disability Service and being accountable for my notes made me feel a lot more organised alongside a sense of fulfilment by being of some help to others,” she says.

Coacine also received the opportunity to undertake a summer internship at ANZ Bank, providing practical exposure to her degree.

“My journey was eye-opening as I was fascinated by all the operations of a bank. Everyone was really helpful and understanding, thus making my internship very enjoyable.

“I would recommend taking on internships if given the opportunity, as it definitely takes one’s knowledge in the industry to a whole new level. You can also work out whether you like that field or not.”

Coacine is the winner of four scholarships including the UC First-Year International Student Scholarship (2017), Tan Sri Datuk Oh Siew Nam Scholarship (2018), Eamon Molloy Scholarship (2018), and the Tan Sri Datuk Oh Siew Nam Scholarship (2019).

Through the latter, Coacine received mentoring support from Andrew Oh, a UC Alumni and trustee of the UC Foundation.

“Andrew was extremely helpful and caring for my progress at University. Despite his busy schedule, he still caught up with me every few months to stay updated with my plans and aspirations.”

When she started at UC, Coacine opted to live in university accommodation at Kirkwood Avenue Hall, later moving to private flatting with friends.

“I loved the environment and close-knit community life at the Hall. A lot of support was available, caring for both your mental wellbeing and academics.

“I currently flat with other Malaysian students and it is wonderful living with people from the same place that you call “home”- it definitely takes away the homesickness.”

After completing her degree, Coacine gained a role with PwC New Zealand as part of their Financial Assurance Team.

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