Karming Chin — Accounting (B.Com)

Karming Chin is finishing up his undergraduate career in the faculty of Management at McGill University, majoring in Accounting. He shares his experiences in management, an exchange semester in Korea and finding fulfilling work.

Interviewer’s note: the first portion of this interview is related to the interviewee’s academic career at McGill University. The second portion of this interview is related to an internship opportunity acquired by the interviewee.

Tell us about what you (have) studied at McGill.

I am currently working towards completing a Bachelor of Commerce with a major in Accounting. Additionally, I had the opportunity to participate in an exchange program with Seoul National University during the fall semester of my final year.

Interviewer’s note: for more information regarding the Management program at McGill University, please refer to https://www.mcgill.ca/desautels/programs/bcom

What are you planning to do after graduation? or… What have you been doing since graduation?

I had an internship with one of the “Big 4” accounting firms during the summer of 2018 and received a full-time offer to return upon graduation. However, I decided to decline because I could not see myself doing that in the long-term. Nonetheless, I think it was a good experience; I worked first-hand in the field of accounting while surrounded by the culture of an established corporate company.

But for me, I wanted to do something more meaningful and build a career that, I felt, had more societal impact.

As such, I’m currently looking into the field of VC and Corporate Strategy/Development because, inherently, I love what they are trying to do; helping businesses, which are trying to solve pressing issues in the world, grow.

What are some pros and cons about your program?

For Montreal natives, most, if not all, need to complete CEGEP before attending university in Quebec. As a result, unlike my peers, I did not have the opportunity to do U0, which I think is the most intriguing and least stressful stage of university. But in terms of the program, I feel that it’s extremely structured, at least for management students.

People will say that if you don’t take the typical recruiting route, you’re most likely doomed, which, in my opinion, isn’t entirely true.

To provide more context, as U1s, we’re asked to polish our CVs. As U2s, we’re trained like soldiers to network properly and obtain a prestigious summer internship offer. As U3s, we should be chilling and taking it easy because we’re assumed to have a return offer for a full-time position upon graduation. However, only a small amount of the students get the firm/job that they actually wanted back in U2. As a result, most individuals don’t have the “prestigious” and valuable experience to compete against other candidates for the most basic entry-level position in U3. Hence, explaining why a lot of students often struggle to find their first job when the basic requirement is to have some internship experience.

What were some valuable involvements at school that taught you about yourself and oriented your goals?

Although I participated in a few management-related extracurriculars at school, I still think that HKSN has, by far, provided me the most valuable experience out of everything. It’s not simply the fact that I joined a bunch of Asians that I could easily relate to, rather it gave me an opportunity to broaden my perspective in different fields and expand my network, whether it was students from Arts, Comp Sci, Life Sci or whatever else.

What’s one thing you regret not doing during your McGill career?

Probably going on another exchange semester.

What’s one thing you’re proud about during your McGill career?

Going on an exchange.

It allowed me to take some time off of school and truly think about myself; what I really wanted and what mattered most for me at the end of the day, without solely thinking about the safest route to take, career-wise.

What advice would you give to younglings at McGill? or… If you were to go back to your first year, what would you have done differently?

I probably would have taken more courses outside of management classes to broaden my perspective of the world, if I had to chance to. I’d recommend that you go and talk with more people from different field and learn a bit about everything.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Societal pressure is crappy — Be you and be true to yourself.

Sometimes, it might actually be worth it to bet on yourself when nobody else does.

Tell us about your summer internship and how you acquired it.

Usually, companies start to recruit for summer internships in the summer of U1 and the fall of U2. So right off the bat, when school started, I started meeting representatives from different companies and learned about each one of them. Eventually, I got along with some of them more than others and obtained a few offers after passing the interviews. Initially, I debated whether I should accept the big name or a middle-size company and after discussion with my peers and family, I decided to go with the bigger name. I made this decision because I thought it would make me stand out among my peers. Little did I know that this choice would change everything in terms of my perspective on the field as a whole. As for the summer internship itself, it was mostly compliance work and testing controls. A lot of repetitive work which had you look at previous years’ files and compare them to check for accordance.

Tell us 3 things you learned from this internship.

Excel, Excel & Excel.

How did this internship steer the course of your career?

It taught me that the work that you did actually matters.

I just couldn’t see myself doing that kind of work on a daily basis which eventually pushed me to explore the other opportunities in the field.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

If anyone is ever interested in talking, please feel free to reach out to me on LinkedIn, whether it’s about networking or anything! I’m open to anyone and to anything.

The Hong Kong Student Network is an undergraduate club at McGill that celebrates and promotes Hong Kong culture.