“What’s your advice to the younger generation students?”
“This is the question that I always got from my students: ‘what should I do?’ ‘How do I prepare?’ I think you don’t have to limit yourself to one specific small area … just keep your mind open to everything. When you are in university, try to study as much as possible. When you are young, you have the opportunity to make mistakes. It took me ten years to figure out what I wanted to do after I graduated from college.
When I was in college, I always thought that I would get a job and I would stay there forever. But it is not the case. When you got into a firm, you will figure out whether you like it or not. If you are thinking about continuing on with school or changing your major, that’s okay. It’s not the end of the world.
“I studied Finance; it was pretty hard when I was in college. It was guaranteed that I would get a job in a big firm after I graduated. However, when I was graduating, the Asian Financial Crisis happened, so nobody got hired. There were no financial jobs available in the market. All the banks were frozen. Only accounting firms were hiring people. But I knew nothing about accounting; I only took one course in college about accounting.
At that time, the accounting firm was starting up in China, so that was an opportunity for me. They did not care if you knew accounting or not; they only required you to have a CPA in China to be an auditor. They can train you so they wanted to hire people who can learn very quickly … so I joined them and I had no idea about accounting at all. Ten years down the road, I am here. I became a professor.”