Tan Kah Mun

Double-prize winner says there are no substitutes for hard work and good planning for academic success.

“I managed my time very well and prepared for my examinations well in advance. I never left things to the last minute, to avoid panicking,” says Tan Kah Mun, who graduated from Nilai University with first class honours in the Accounting and Finance degree programme. She is one of the very few students in Nilai University’s history to win both the Graham Upton and BDO Award. The former is an annual award honouring Prof Graham Upton who served as the Vice Chancellor of Oxford Brookes University, UK from 1997-2007. This award is given to the outstanding graduate in the 3+0 Oxford Brookes University degree programmes at Nilai University. The latter is presented to the student who obtains the highest CGPA in the BA (Hons) in Accounting and Finance programme.

This petite young lass from Kuala Lumpur says she is shocked to have bagged both prizes. “I admit I had been working hard with the aim of winning one of them but to win both is truly an honour. This will definitely make my résumé look more outstanding,” she smiles as she poses for photographs with her classmates and proud parents at Nilai University’s Graduation ceremony. She had kept her double success a secret from her parents. Already beaming with pride that their daughter had scored first class honours, they were gobsmacked to see her go on stage to receive two mock cheques for her success. They were even more pleased to hear that their daughter plans to use the prize money to take them on a short holiday to Pulau Perhentian. “It is the least I can do after all they have done for me.”

The former SMK Bandar Baru Seri Petaling student joined Nilai University’s Foundation in Business programme four years ago after visiting the campus and deciding that the peaceful campus environment is the perfect place to continue her studies. “I had made up my mind to pursue a business degree after completing Form V and my parents encouraged me to do so, believing it to be a pathway to a financially rewarding career,” she explains. Kah Mun opted for the Accounting and Finance Degree as she found herself enjoying the accounting modules in the Foundation programme the most, even though she had no prior accounting knowledge. “Besides improving my English and presentation skills, Nilai University’s Foundation in Business programme gave me a solid basis in accounting to be brought into the degree programme.”

Kah Mun is currently employed at BDO Malaysia and is enjoying her work tremendously, saying it is wonderful to be able to put what she had learned at university into use. She is also diligently pursuing her professional qualifications and is similarly aiming high. “I hope to complete both Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and Institute of Chartered Accountant of England and Wales (ICAEW) professional exams to ensure my résumé looks as outstanding as possible,” she declares.

She says that the Accounting and Finance degree programme taught her the importance of critical thinking. “I was constantly taught how to analyse the numbers and current accounting standards. It also gave me great exposure to the world of finance. Without it, I doubt I would be able to understand financial reports and articles,” she says.

Her parting advice to students who are looking to emulate her success is to work hard diligently throughout the programme. She warns against last-minute cramming and spotting questions. “You must be fully prepared for all subjects and this can only be done with consistent study. Plan your time table well so that you have the right balance between studying and socialising. Trust me, you will be fully rewarded for your dedication,” she smiles.

BDO Award is sponsored by BDO Malaysia, who is a member of the BDO International, the world’s 5th largest network of professional services firms. In Malaysia, the BDO group is a leading professional services firm providing audit, advisory and tax services. Nilai University’s convocation last weekend saw a total of 851 students receive their scrolls with 21 scoring first class honours in their degree programmes, while 103 students scored distinctions in their diploma programmes.