Pursuing a university degree is important and many graduates have found studying for a degree to be a deeply rewarding journey. However, given the competitive environment today, simply obtaining a degree just isn’t enough to differentiate yourself in the market. This is where pursuing a professional qualification can give you an advantage when you submit that job application to your dream employer.
At the University of Reading Malaysia, the Henley Business School partnered with ICAEW, a world-leading professional organisation for Chartered Accountants, to established a unique programme in finance, accounting & business. Known as the Henley-ICAEW Programme (HIP), this four-year career-focused curriculum provides students with a UK degree-level education in business and finance, as well as the ICAEW Business and Finance Professional (ICAEW BFP) designation.
In other words, students who successfully complete the Henley-ICAEW Programme will obtain accreditation from two prestigious UK institutions – ICAEW and the University of Reading.
Our team recently spoke to a few HIP graduates about their experience with the Henley-ICAEW Programme and how it has added value to their career prospects within the field of business and finance. Here is what they have to say:
Insights from Elizabeth Tang, BFP, who is currently working as an Audit Associate at Grant Thornton
1. Can you briefly explain to use your journey in the Henley-ICAEW Programme (HIP)?
The HIP consists of two parts – the BSc Accounting & Finance degree of UoRM and the ICAEW BFP qualification. To achieve the latter, one needs to successfully complete the online Ethics Learning Programme (ELP), obtain Credit for Prior Learning (CPL) for 5-6 modules (case by case basis), and complete a year of work experience.
I fulfilled the one-year work experience criteria through an internship placement with EY Malaysia during my third year of degree and subsequently went on to complete the online EPL assessment. After completing my final year examinations, I received the results for my degree in July 2020, which I used to apply for CPL exemptions for the 6 Certificate modules.
2. What is your view on the current employment scenario within the industry? How do you think the ICAEW BFP will help you “weather the storm”?
I believe the COVID-19 situation has impacted many businesses negatively, which significantly affected employment rates as companies across industries are trying to cut costs. However, I was blessed to be offered a job despite the bleak economy. In the end, it depends on the demand of your skillset and also the effort you put in to make yourself stand out among the crowd.
The ICAEW BFP provides a holistic experience as it provides a holistic training programme that covers ethics, knowledge, and practical skills to work as a business professional. While most university degrees can offer the first two components, it is the one-year work placement as part of the ICAEW programme that has made an impact in my development of practical skills. Having gained relevant work placement experience and being accredited as an ICAEW BFP, I am now more confident and prepared to begin my career.
Insights from Ng Hai Ning, BFP, who is currently working as an Audit Associate at BDO Malaysia
1. Explain briefly about the internship that you have undergone during the ICAEW CFAB programme and how it has added value to your professional growth.
I completed my internship as an audit trainee with BDO. It gave me an insight on how every industry works and provided me hands on training that cannot be obtained in the classroom. My work experience within the audit industry has definitely helped a lot when I returned to university for my final year. This is because the practical knowledge and real work experience from my internship improved my comprehension of the knowledge taught in the university lectures, as the theories become more relatable.
2. In your view, how will a professional chartered accountant help in improving the economic status of an organization?
In my view, chartered accountants are equipped with the technical expertise and experience required to drive businesses in the right direction, especially in times of crisis like what we are facing today. They provide valuable advice that can ensure the organization’s smooth operation in uncertain economic conditions to meet market demands and ultimately build a brighter future for the company.
Insights from Mitra Viloshini Ganesan, BFP, who completed her internship placement with KPGM Malaysia during the HIP
1. If you are advising someone who has just completed high school – would you encourage the person to pursue the HIP degree? If yes, why?
Certainly! I think the HIP degree is the ideal pathway for all high school leavers with a passion in business & finance studies and aspire to pursue a professional qualification. On top of having the opportunity to learn from international lecturers among a diverse student community, the degree programme also offers five paper exemptions for the ICAEW Certificate Level. This means that you will only have to complete one more paper to clear the certificate level, which can be done concurrently with your undergraduate studies.
Furthermore, the compulsory ICAEW Ethics Learning Programme (ELP) equips students with the ethical framework and practices on how to respond to an ethical solution which prepares students for professional leadership in their chosen employment sector.
The best part of the programme is the fact that you will not only graduate with a prestigious UK degree, but also receive the ICAEW CFAB qualification and BFP designation after completing the ICAEW ELP. With these accreditations within your portfolio, you will be able to kickstart your career with a competitive edge.
2. In a nutshell, what would you say will be the greatest advantage of an ICAEW qualification?
The ICAEW qualification focuses on developing all-rounded individuals that are resilient and highly adaptable through their expert technical training programme. Continuous professional development (CPD) is also extremely important in progressing through your career, and ICAEW plays a pivotal role in ensuring that you remain relevant long after you have completed your professional qualification programme. The amount of insights and opportunities that I have gained in just this short period of time is truly invaluable and I look forward to more opportunities in the coming years as I pursue my ACA journey and beyond.
Embark on Your Next Journey at a World-Renowned University with a Modern State of the Art Campus
If you’re looking to explore a career in the field of business & finance, the Henley-ICAEW Programme is an excellent pathway that allows you to graduate with both a prestigious UK degree and professional qualification.
To learn more, you can contact ICAEW via: