Five short years ago, Crystal Deng was a high school student in China.
She’s now got an accountancy degree from one of the best universities in Australia and is working for one of the nation’s top 100 accountancy firms. Not bad for just half a decade’s work.
The first step for Crystal, now 23, was talking to an overseas study agent in Beijing, who recommended leading Australian universities such as the University of Melbourne and the University of Sydney.
“I ended up choosing The University of Adelaide because of the excellent study environment in South Australia and the high quality of education at the university,” Crystal says. “I think it was one of the best choices I have ever made in my life.”
In March 2005, Crystal began a year and half of studies with Bradford College, a premier pre-university pathway college that specifically prepares international students for entry into undergraduate courses at The University of Adelaide.
At Bradford she completed a bridging course and the first year of her degree, before moving into the mainstream degree program and achieving her Bachelor of Accounting two years later.
But the bubbly Adelaide University alumnus, who’s now specialising in financial accounting and tax with the Hood Sweeney Group, gained much more than a piece of paper during her three and a half years of study.
“The theoretical knowledge I gained in university certainly demonstrated the basic accounting system,” she says. “But I was also involved in some social events while studying: I was a mentor for the international orientation program; a note taker for three subjects in business school; and a CPA Australia Student Ambassador.
“I was also invited to be a member of Golden Key International Honor Society and performed my work experience in the SA Government Department of Correctional Service. All of these were valuable experiences that have influenced and helped my career.”
Working part-time during her studies was also an ideal way to meet people outside university and better understand Australian culture.
“I had a part-time job throughout my three-year university degree. It provided me with basic living fees, and what’s more important, I learned to be independent and socialize with more people.
“I personally support the idea of doing part-time work. It not only allowed me to meet people, but it also made me value my time more preciously.”
After such a busy five years of study, socialising and working part time, you might assume that Crystal is keen for a rest. Nothing could be further from the truth.
“At the moment, my goal would be to get my CA (Chartered Accountant) certificate in two years, and in the long term I would like to take role in senior management, and be able to provide advice to clients.”