The Story of the First Student to Complete the ICAEW CFAB in Vietnam

icaew vietnam don ba hai

The job market in recent years is becoming more competitive than ever before. Today, we need more than just a university degree if we want to differentiate ourselves when applying for high-quality jobs from others. Although there are many ways to enhance our employability, one of the best ways to get ahead is to obtain a professional qualification, such as the ICAEW CFAB.

The ICAEW Certificate in Finance, Accounting, and Business (ICAEW CFAB), a globally recognised qualification, prepares and equips undergraduates with practical and essential skills sought by leading employers to give them a competitive edge in Vietnam and across the region. It is also the first step towards obtaining the prestigous ICAEW ACA to become a fully qualified chartered accountant.

We recently spoke to Don Ba Hai, who is the first student to complete the entire ICAEW CFAB programme in Vietnam. In this article, he shares with us his journey and how the ICAEW CFAB helped him to secure international job opportunities abroad.

1. What inspired you to pursue the ICAEW CFAB programme back in 2015, even though you already graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Accounting from the National Economics University?

Although I graduated with a Bachelors’ Degree in Accounting from one of the top universities in Vietnam, however the university programme focuses mainly on teaching the accounting principles, policies, and regulators that are applicable only in Vietnam. This totally differs from the international standards.

In order for me to build a more global career, I knew that it was necessary for me to pursue a recognised professional qualification and gain in-depth knowledge on international financial reporting standards. After careful consideration, I finally decided to pursue the ICAEW ACA, where I began my journey through the ICAEW CFAB programme back in 2015.


2. Did obtaining the ICAEW CFAB certificate help you secure work opportunities abroad?

A big “YES!” to this question.

The ICAEW CFAB has served as a ‘passport’ for me to work abroad due to the international recognition and prestige acknowledge by employers. In fact, I believe it was mainly because of my CFAB certificate that I was offered the opportunity to work with top firm in Malaysia while pursuing my ICAEW ACA.

Being a CFAB holder, you will be able to show recruiters that you have the relevant experience and knowledge in international business, accounting standards, as well as demonstrate your commitment towards pursuing a professional career as an qualified accountant or auditor.


3. As the second home-grown Vietnamese to complete the ICAEW ACA, what advice do you have for other Vietnamese students looking to pursue a professional qualification?

Firstly, invest in yourself and be well-prepared for any potential opportunities. Take my case for example, when I was studying for my CFAB, I had no intention of pursuing my ICAEW ACA overseas. At that point of time, I was focused on becoming the first student to complete the entire ICAEW CFAB programme in Vietnam. It was when the Malaysian firm launched its recruitment programme that I realized that I was one of the few students who were eligible to apply for the opportunity.

Secondly, be confident to take on greater challenges in your career. By moving out of your comfort zone and continuously setting new targets, you can gain invaluable experiences and lessons, which has proven to be valuable and also contribute to your success in your exams.


4. What are your future career goals and how will the ICAEW ACA enhance your career prospects?

I would like to explore working in a different country to gain broader international work experience. I believe there are a lot of unique learning opportunities outside of Vietnam and SEA region that I can learn and bring back the knowledge to my home country. Clearly, the ICAEW ACA is among the most prestigious qualifications that can serve as a global passport to help me realise this aspiration.


5. In a sentence, state what is the greatest benefit of having the ICAEW ACA qualification?

The ICAEW ACA allows you to be part of an international community of over 157,000 chartered accountants who are all highly experienced and competent business professionals from across the world.


Ready to Embark on an Exciting Journey to a Truly Global Career like Hai’s? Learn about the ICAEW ACA and How to Apply!

If you’re considering kick-starting an exciting career journey with the ICAEW ACA to realise your professional career aspirations, contact ICAEW South-East Asia via:

It’s worth noting that you don’t need an accounting background to study the ICAEW ACA.


Related: Debunking the 5 Most Common Misconceptions about the ICAEW ACA Qualification


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