Robin: From Auditing to Snowboarding

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Robin: From Auditing to Snowboarding

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Robin Yong and ex-Sony Music Canada President Denise Donlon

Where did you complete your first work term and what skills have you gained in that position?

My work term with KPMG was filled with exciting clients, top-notch teammates, and continuous learning in a challenging and changing business arena.  I decided to article with KPMG during the Auditing busy season which runs from January to April.  This is the time when a majority of companies have their year ends and thus, a majority of audits are completed at this time.  The busy season is always daunting, and in particular, starting a co-op work term on a busy season was terrifying.  I was so relieved that when I arrived at KPMG Assurance Fundamentals Training (a week long training program) and once I started work because the KPMG team was so supportive and took the time to show me the ropes.  I realized that you’re never alone at KPMG and I worked with the best, brightest, and most hilariously-laid back people during my co-op term.

I’m starting my 4th year in the faculty of Business Administration with a dual honours concentration in Accounting and Human Resource Management.

I wanted the busy season experience and I definitely got it – 13 clients in a span of 4 months.  It was great! I was on a new client every other week and I definitely learned that I don’t want work in an office with the same tasks, same routine and same people every day. I learnt that I’m someone who likes change, movement, and faced paced challenging work combined with international travel experiences.  With KPMG the opportunities are endless, I audited and performed reviews for companies and not for profit clients that we use in our lives everyday - from Translink to Country Clubs, I was given a wide array of clients.

As an avid snowboarder, I also got the chance to snowboard 3 times a week (yes, even during busy season!) as well as participate in the firm-wide ski trip to Whistler at the end of the busy season.  The great thing about working in such a large firm (we’re the biggest of the Big 4 Accounting firms in BC) is the endless opportunities since you get to develop your own career path. I really enjoyed working in smaller, private companies and I’ve been given the option, all I needed to do was ask to be placed on a job.   The other great thing about KPMG is the fantastic benefits you receive. When I started with the firm, I wasn’t a co-op student, I was an associate and a valued member of the KPMG team right off the bat.  And if that feeling w enough, they also try to prove it to you, I had access to their concierge service (they even helped my buy my textbooks!), weekend ski trips, fitness reimbursements (they paid for my Snowboard pass!), fitness equipment allowances, meal expense accounts, KPMG Sports Teams, Friday socials, and numerous other initiatives that the firm does to keep the KPMG team happy.  It truly was a very rewarding experience, and I can’t wait to start my second articling Co-op term with them in January 2006.

Robin Yong in a Westjet cockpit with pilots Derek and Trevor

What influenced your decision to join the Co-op program?

I actually picked SFU over Queens, UBC and UVic – specifically for the opportunity to participate in our Co-op program.  I knew from the start that real experience while you study was a must in my university career. I’ve learnt more from one term at KPMG then I have in an entire semester at SFU, real work experience just links everything you learned together.

KPMG is the largest Professional Services firm in BC in terms of staff base and revenue (the other 3 firms that form the Big 4 Globally are: PricewaterhouseCoopers, Ernst & Young and Deloitte & Touche) and KPMG has over 100,000 staff and is in over 140 countries worldwide.  As an articling student with KPMG I completed my first co-op term during the ‘busy season’ where I used what I learnt from school and applied it to my work engagements and audits.  I made great use of the business communication skills I picked up in Bus 360 and the environmental setting of the business arena and the professional service arena I learnt in Bus 319.

Did you find the co-op experience valuable?  Would you recommend it to other students?

If you’re not looking to find out more about yourself and your career path, or you don’t like a challenge, then co-op isn’t for you.  If you’re looking to expand your network, build on skills you learned in school while traveling and getting paid, then co-op shouldn’t be a possible option, it should be the only option.  I tell everyone who is going through CA Recruit that I’ve learnt more in the past 4 months working then I have an entire semester at SFU, real experience beats learning from a textbook any day.

Do you have any advice for Students going though the CA Fall Recruit Process?

KPMG - it just fit. Picking between firms is always a difficult choice, but strip it down to the essentials - what the firm stands for and the direction it's taking to get there, what the culture is like, and most importantly, your comfort level with the people you meet. Everything else just falls into place. Oh, and relax, it's so much more fun if you do.

Posted on March 08, 2011