How to fast track your global corporate career

How to fast track your global corporate accounting and finance career

From studying in New Zealand to working in finance in Malaysia, Yen Ling Cheong is on the fast track to an international career.

Yen, who initially studied a Marketing Degree at the Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand, says she made the switch to business because she loves working with numbers.

"I've been in finance for the past five to six years now so I don’t regret changing my course at all," says Yen.

"But I am also glad I have done a Marketing Degree because it complements my current job, so it wasn’t wasted skills." 

In 2011, Yen returned home to Malaysia where she became a Financial Analyst at technology company, IBM. She says the role was the perfect introduction to the corporate environment.

"Working at IBM provided a nice stable environment because when you go to work every day you know what your job is, you get it done and then you go home."

"But I think that was what drove me to look for a new job because I ended up doing the same thing every day and I worked out that I needed variety in my work."

After two years at IBM, Yen was offered the position of Assistant Manager – Transaction Services (Mergers and Acquisitions) at Big Four accounting firm, Deloitte.

She says the job was not only more diverse, it also gave her the opportunity to travel and work with big name Malaysian companies.

"I have to travel a lot with my job at Deloitte – especially around Asia and East Malaysia because I have to meet with different companies."

"I also have to work with clients across several different industries such as the oil and gas sector, manufacturing and plantation sectors. So there is never a dull day."

How the CPA Program can lead to a global corporate career

Yen, who is an Associate Member of CPA Australia, says her busy work schedule is one of the main reasons why she decided to do the CPA Program because it allows her the flexibility to study in her own time and choose her path.

"What I like about the CPA Program is that it focuses a lot on Business Management and it doesn’t teach you to be just an accountant."

"You also have the ability to choose subjects that are applicable to your job. That is why it's a value-add to my skills because it teaches me how to look at a business as a whole."

Yen says her next career step is to take on a more senior role in the health and beauty industry.

"I have always wanted to work in this industry and I have been lucky enough to be offered the position of a Financial Controller at a health and beauty company."

"Hopefully this position will make me more mobile internationally, which is my career goal – to be able to work in different countries."

Tips for university students and young professionals who want an international career:

  • If you want to make it in the corporate world, you will need to be persistent – there will be times when you will face rejection and the occasional failures, but just keep soldiering on 
  • Build the right skill set that will make you more employable – whether that is sharpening your hard or soft skills
  • Never allow yourself to be complacent. Be on the lookout for new opportunities and constantly challenge yourself with new goals


CPA Career Mentor


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