Accounting and Financial Management at University of Waterloo
What did you wish you knew before going to your university? What made you choose this institution over all others? What are advantages and disadvantages of your institution or campus? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your university.
One of the major factors leading to my decision of accepting a University of Waterloo offer is its unique co-op program that offers students several work placements throughout their academic career. Although University of Waterloo's co-op program helps students find placements, one aspect of job search I realized during my university life is the importance of networking to pursue a position that is sought after. Moreover, building a strong network is important for professional development, as you can leverage your connections for mentorship, peer support, and even job referrals.
In terms of the study environment at the University of Waterloo, I was initially influenced by the stigma surrounding the institution's heavy workload and strenuous courses. As I adjusted to studying at the University of Waterloo, I realized that the workload is what an individual makes out of it, as a few strong study habits such as keeping an organized schedule really went a long way for me in terms of stress relief.
What did you wish you knew before choosing your specific program? What are the advantages and disadvantages of your program? List any advice for incoming first-year students about your program of study.
As an aspiring business professional, I wanted to choose a university program that offers strong career support for my desired profession being business. At first, I was hesitant to accept my offer to the University of Waterloo as the program was supposedly 'accounting and finance' focused. However, as I adjusted to the university life, I gained assurance in selecting the program as I learnt that AFM not only offers strong career support via its co-op system but degree specializations beyond accounting and finance, such as data analytics and entrepreneurship. Overall, I'm glad to be in a program where I can tailor my elective courses and co-op placement to specializations beyond accounting and finance despite the program's name.
What was your favourite university experience?
My favourite experience about university life is making use of the various study spaces offered around campus. Most lecture rooms and student lounges are open 24/7 across campus buildings, which improves accessibility for students such as myself who prefer studying at some place other than their room.
What was your least favourite university experience?
An 'experience' at the University of Waterloo I was not particularly fond of is the ongoing construction that happens around campus. This made travelling across the campus from one building to another more difficult as detours had to be made; however, this is to say that if you really take the time to get to know your way around campus, the construction shouldn't be a problem for you as I was able to adjust from it fairly fast after first year.
What is the hardest part about your program and what were the steps that you took to overcome any difficulties?
As touched on in a few of my prior responses, networking for a job in a co-op saturated program can prove difficult when there are hundreds of peers in the same boat as you seeking similar positions. Initially, networking was particularly difficult for me to develop as a skill as I considered myself to be introverted and wasn't fond of casual conversations with people I met for the first time. A major step I took to overcome this difficulty in shyness to speak up is by developing my interpersonal skills through attending as many recruitment events as I can. Attending such opportunities not only put myself on an employer's recruiting radar but was good practice for future networking opportunities in which I'll have developed strong communication skills to leave a lasting positive impression on recruiters.
If you were able to take electives, what was your favourite elective? If you were not able to take electives, what was your favourite course and why?
My favourite course in the Accounting and Financial Management program thus far is in fact an introductory course I took in my first year pertaining to general business in North America (AFM 131). This course provided a broad exposure to all facets of business operations beyond accounting and finance, such as HR management, marketing, and product distribution. That said, this course established a solid foundation of business knowledge that I applied in future courses and projects such as case studies, in which applying academic concepts from this course allowed me to identify underlying issues or factors concerning a business' problems beyond its financials.