“I would advise my younger self to make the most of his student life. It is a great platform to explore a lot of things, make mistakes and learn…”
Megat Solleh was the President of APAcS 10/11. Upon graduation, he started a career in audit with EY, and has now joined MISC Berhad, Malaysia’s leading international shipping line, in finance. Aside from work, Megat is part of ACCA’s ‘Leaders of Tomorrow’ programme and has been invited to speak at panel sessions as an ACCA Ambassador.
1. What would you say was your best achievement during your stint as APAcS 10/11 President and how has leading the student body helped benefit you personally and professionally?
I think my best achievement as APAcS 10/11 President, was to lead a group of young and energetic committee members with different backgrounds and emotional intelligence. All of my teammates were unique, with their own capabilities and ideas which I have had the pleasure to lead and learn from. This has helped me to understand more about human emotions and indirectly assist me to improve my leadership and communication skills, amongst others.
Apart from that, the platform given has also allowed me to have access to a network of corporate figures from various industries. I have obtained valuable insights and advice from them, which I would also share with my teammates as well as the students at Level 14.
However, it was definitely a challenge to juggle between being an ACCA student and also an APAcS President at the same time. My days were normally occupied with attending classes, meetings, organizing events for the students, playing sports, and doing my revision at night. Time management was key for me ; it is the same essential skill that I apply in my current professional life.
2. You chose audit to start your career with. Would you recommend us professional accounting students to pursue the same path, and why?
Firstly, I would encourage students to do a bit of research on the options that they have as an ACCA graduate. This is because there are various options to choose from such as taxation, advisory, and of course audit, to name a few.
Personally, I chose audit as it allows me to roam around various industries, through different audit engagements. I was fortunate to be able to audit in industries such as shipping, manufacturing, hotels, investment holding, and oil & gas. Through this rotation, I was able to broaden my scope of thinking, besides expanding my network in getting to engage with people of various levels.
One thing for sure, in audit, one can learn very fast in a short span of time as they would normally be pushed to extensive limits to achieve their full potential.
However, at the end of the day, I would encourage students to pursue a career that they are passionate about.
3. Share with us about your experience as an ACCA Ambassador.
I had the opportunity of engaging with ACCA while I was in APAcS.
I attended an ACCA event one day where I came across an ACCA representative who I happen to have been in contact with during my university days. She asked if I’d be interested in giving talks for ACCA, and the journey started from that point onwards.
4. What does good networking mean to you, and what do you think of its significance in advancing one’s career?
Networking for me, is defined as the relationship between two parties to improve each other, in achieving greater benefits for both parties.
These benefits are not necessarily in the form of money or titles. It can simply be obtaining inputs and perspectives from each other, which would help one to improve their way of seeing things.
The rule of thumb when it comes to networking is to always maintain a good relationship with the other party and to be in touch with them every now and then.
5. What advice would you have given to your younger self, with regard to preparing for the university-to-work transition?
I would advise my younger self to make the most of his student life. It is a powerful platform to explore a lot of things, make mistakes and learn, as long as it is being explored in the right manner.
One example is by joining any student/leadership body, as students will be able to pick up soft skills that are not normally taught in class.
Also, do not be afraid of making mistakes, as long as you learn from them. In fact, some of the mistakes that I’ve made then, have served as a powerful lesson for me that I carry even until now.