Founded in the UK in 1880, ICAEW is a world-leading organisation of Chartered Accountants headquartered in London with offices in Beijing, Brussels, Dubai, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Shanghai, and Singapore. Over the years, ICAEW has introduced many exciting initiatives for both their current and prospective students who are looking to explore a career within the business, finance, and accounting professions. The ICAEW SEA 100 online competition (SEA100) is one of their flagship events that is designed to identify the brightest students with the potential to be the next generation of business leaders.
Whitney Tan took a leap of faith by going up against university students across the ASEAN region and stood out in this online competition. Despite coming from an engineering background, it did not stop her from exploring what it is like to be immersed in the accountancy and business world. As the winner of the SEA100, Whitney shares her experience and why she believes this will change the course of her future career.
1. How did you find out about the SEA100, and what made you interested in taking part?
I discovered this competition through an advertisement on social media. After which, I did some research online to find out what this competition is about and experiences shared by past winners. I was inspired and believed that this could be a great starting point for me to learn more about the accountancy profession. This ultimately led me to participate in the SEA100.
2. You scored exceptionally well despite being a Chemical Engineering student. How has the SEA100 changed your view towards the business and accountancy profession?
Despite being an engineering student, I have always been aware of the importance of business, entrepreneurship, and the financial professions. From the report received after completing the test, I gained a better understanding of why business acumen is an essential skill in any profession, including engineering. The exposure gained from taking this online test at the competition makes me think from a broader and holistic perspective, which is helpful for my personal and career development. Additionally, I also gain a better understanding of the importance of equipping myself with transferable skills such as analytical, communication, and decision-making skills that can be applied to any role.
3. How does it feel to outshine thousands of ASEAN students to emerge as the overall winner of this competition?
In the beginning, I was astonished because never in a million years would I have imagined myself finishing at the top in such a prestigious competition. As such, I am incredibly grateful to be the overall winner of this competition. Ultimately, the best outcome of this competition is that I have learned a lot and identified the skills I need to improve upon, which will definitely be a massive help in building my career in the future.
4. Share your experience from the competition with us. Would you recommend other undergraduates to take part? Why?
Participating in this competition has made me realised the importance of soft skills, regardless of our industry or profession. I believe that it is beneficial for everyone to have some basic understanding of business, finance, and accounting, even if you major in a different discipline of study or pursuing a career in different industries. The SEA100 will give you an in-depth understanding of what essential skills an employee should possess before stepping into the real work world. On that note, I highly recommend university students from across this region to take part in this competition. It is an excellent platform to understand your strengths, make you aware of the skills to improve on, and prepare you with the essential skills so to be career-ready.