Michael Chan (BCom ’14)
The University of Waterloo Accounting Conference was definitely one of the most organized and engaging conference I have ever attended. From a logistics point of view to the activities involved, I was able to take away a lot of ideas and connections through tremendous opportunities to network. The highlight of the conference for me was being able to compete in groups of four in a case competition. The topic of the case this year focused on regulatory standards on the banking industry and the case was also sponsored by RBC. I was able to learn a great deal from that competition and was also given an opportunity to meet with professionals across the city. As for the social activities, we were given a chance to enjoy the city of Toronto in a unique way such as having a networking session on the boat cruise as well as being able to experience the night life.
Jackie Luan (BCom ‘18)
I recently finished attending the UWAC conference out in Toronto. The conference, which consisted of multiple different activities, allowed me to attend my first accounting specific conference. On the first day, we engaged in multiple team activities. Though these activities I realized how important is it so have trust in your teammates and also to pay attention to detail. Furthermore, during times of frustration you need to think outside of the box and try to match up similar aspects to get closer to a solution. The conference also consisted of workshops that were held by the top 6 accounting firms in Canada. Through the conference I was able to interact with MNP representatives. One specific representative had experiences working at a Big 4 firm prior to moving to Toronto MNP. He explained the differences in working style between a large firm and a mid-size firm. I learnt that mid-size firms give you more freedom in terms of the type of work you do and lets you experience working in jobs in other projects outside of your department (ie: tax). This particularity appeals strongly to me because I am able to experience and learn to problem solve and handle all different types of accounting situations and jobs. Furthermore, MNP also takes the extra effort and step to connect with you personally even after your intern period. Lastly, if you work overtime, you will be repaid for it during your time at the firm after the busy season!
One final aspect that I want to touch on about the conference is the case competition. Because this was my first accounting case competition, I realized how different an accounting case competition is in comparison to marketing case competitions. The importance of the quantitative numbers accuracy is critical. Furthermore you approach the case in a different manner. Instead of trying to create a new product or system and implement it, you are trying to identify the current problems and deduce a possible method that can fix this problem – such as lowering cost or determining to make or buy product parts.
Akaash Bali (BCom ’15)
Case competition on a new banking regulatory standard – Basel III framework
Meeting students from various universities on the East Coast (Schulich, UofT, Ivey, Waterloo, and Rotman)
Social events at various venues in downtown Toronto
Boat cruise on Lake Ontario with representatives from the Big 4 Accounting firms
Having the opportunity to explore downtown Toronto with the delegates
Always try to get out of your comfort zone! At the conference, instead of only speaking with UBC and SFU students (approx. 4 students), I decided to meet new students. I was able to make new friends and I am still in contact with most of the people I met.
Be open to employment opportunities outside of your home city. On numerous occasions, the business professionals I spoke with eluded to opportunities within the firm they worked for and other opportunities in industry.
Many valuable business, networking, and life lessons from the 3 amazing keynote speakers: Dean McCann (VP and CFO at Canadian Tire Corporation), Jane Skoblo (VP and CFO at American Express Bank of Canada), and Peter McFarlane (Managing Director at Kroll).
Basel III framework. Builds on Basel I and Basel II. This relatively new framework seeks to improve the banking sector’s ability to deal with financial distress.