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Preparing for a "Second Life" with MSc in Professional Accountancy

Written by: Joeylyn Lee 

Some say learning is for the younger generation to expand their knowledge and view the world in a different perspective. For our University of London (UOL) Master of Science in Professional Accountancy (MPAcc) student, Mr Tan Aik Chiat, 45, it is his first step to prepare for his “second life” after his retirement from serving as a civil servant. 

Most people would view retirement as the end of their work life; however for Aik Chiat, he views it as an opportunity to start a “second life”, which ventures beyond gardening or visiting grandkids. With his wide spectrum of work experiences, he believes that he has all the experiences to understand how various industries are interrelated to each other and the globalization of businesses. UOL MPAcc is his first step in preparation for his retirement, so that he can have a brand new start and pursue his interest as a second career.

He first started his journey in Accounting when he was 21 years old. It was after his A Levels, where he took up his first full time job in an audit firm. “Back then, it was considered easy to get into an accountancy firm as the salary was lower as compared to other customer service jobs. Thus lots of graduates joined the accounting firms after their A Levels.” He shared. In order to upgrade himself, he studied ACCA part time while working full time.

After being in touch with the Accounting field, he finds accountancy as the field he would enjoy as a career. Upon completion of his ACCA qualification, he then sets his goal on obtaining a Master Degree in order to further upgrade himself. He did some background research before setting his eye on the UOL MPAcc programme.

Awarded by the University of London, the UOL MPAcc programme is set up to guide students with ACCA background to attain an academic qualification. As compared to ACCA examinations where the questions are more skills based and have direct and straightforward answers, UOL MPAcc programme requires writing skills on the application of their knowledge into the real world. As an ACCA graduate, Aik Chiat agreed that it might be tough for ACCA students to shift from the examination and calculations mindsets to the full-fledged writing based course work in UOL MPAcc programme.

“I took quite a while to adapt to the writing based assignments in UOL MPAcc programme, especially when my first language was not English.” He even went extra miles by signing up for several English Language short courses prior to the commencement of the programme so as to facilitate him in his studies.

Aik Chiat felt that the course is very well designed, as there is step-by-step guide for students to complete the course work. “For students like me who is doing it as a part time degree, the support given by the lecturer actually helps to save a lot of time as we will need to juggle between work and studies.” He shared.

Currently halfway through his first module, Global Issue for the Finance Professional, he feels that UOL MPAcc is a programme that opens up his mind to the financial world and banking industry, which helps him to understand how accounting is interrelated to various industries.

“For example, everyone is an accountant in his or her own way as they will need to keep track of their own accounts such as daily spending. Thus, everyone is contributing or supporting the financial system; no matter which field one specializes in.” he shared.

He did not regret in choosing SAA-GE as his tuition provider due to the smaller student teacher ratio. This allows students to have more attention from their lecturers for guidance on their course work. He felt very lucky to have Mr. Michael Goh as his mentor. “Without Mr Goh’s guidance, we will not be able to come so far with our course work. It is not an easy route.” He commented.

Aik Chiat has a strong passion in learning and gaining new knowledge. He feels that continuous learning is a must as it keeps his brain working and it keeps him intact with the society. “Life is bland without new knowledge. Personally I feel that learning should never stops. Probably one day, after my retirement, I would consider taking up a PhD qualification too! “

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