Why did you choose the scholarship?
I chose this scholarship because I believe that the work I will be doing in this organisation after graduation is aligned with my interests and values. I truly value the transparency that our government has with the public and would love to be a facilitator in building and maintaining the public’s trust in the government. I am also fortunate that my interest in finance can help me do so.
Are there unconventional ways the company uses to select its scholars?
As I do not know much about the backend selection process done by AGO, I am only able to share about the process from my perspective. After applying for the scholarship on the PSC website, I had a phone interview with the HR Director and a face-to-face interview with the Auditor-General and the senior management team of AGO.
What course are you pursuing or graduated in? Why did you choose this?
I am currently pursuing a Double Degree in Accountancy and Business, specialising in Business Analytics for my Business degree. This programme is not only a good blend of my interest in finance and programming, but also complements each other. Through my Business degree, I learn how to handle, study and make conclusions on data. Due to the high volume of data that AGO has to analyse this skill will be very helpful. I also learnt how to create applications and programme algorithms to simplify and automate repetitive tasks.
How is the job market for this course?
The school has been promoting the Double Degree programme and the Business Analytics specialisation due to the synergy between the two degrees and the market trend towards the use of Big Data. According to my supervisors in AGO and Motorola (where I had also interned), employers value the combination of financial knowledge and analytics skills.
Any advice on how to choose a university?
There were a few factors that I had considered before coming to my decision. Personally, the programmes offered by the university is of top priority. This is then supplemented by the facilities available in the university, the learning environment and university life, the method of teaching, advice from elders and seniors, and distance from home.
What are the most memorable things that happened in your university life?
One thing I loved about university life is the multiple opportunities to study or work overseas. For example, I attended summer school in Korea’s Hanyang University for a month during my first summer break. During this short overseas study experience, I learnt a lot about Korean culture through excursions organised by the host university and short trips around and out of Seoul with my peers.
Also, the most memorable moments arise from the hardest projects, which generally came from the Business Analytics modules. The late nights in the computer labs, moments of frustration, and the sense of accomplishment when we complete the project, make up the worst and best moments of my university life. I love the flexibility and the countless collaboration opportunities in university education.
Describe your role in your company and its challenges
In AGO, I will be joining my fellow colleagues in auditing the government ministries, departments and statutory boards. The daily challenges we face include the need to gain a good understanding of the processes of the government agencies in a short period of time in order to highlight areas where financial governance could be strengthened. To be effective, we need both strong analytical and interpersonal skills. With more pervasive use of IT by government agencies, we also need to better leverage on data analytics to increase audit efficiency and effectiveness. As the nation’s auditor, the stakes are higher as AGO’s observations are scrutinised not just by stakeholders of a company, but by the entire nation. Hence there is a strong emphasis in AGO for our audit work and conclusions to be well-supported by evidence.
What do you love about your job and the company?
When I first knew about public sector auditing, I was very drawn by it. I love the idea that the findings help not just stakeholders of a company, but stakeholders of the entire nation. It not only affects the people in the country, but also the Singaporeans living abroad, the companies looking to invest in Singapore and even other countries we have ties with. I believe the transparency of the Singapore Government is greatly valued by the public. It is not only one of our nation’s pride, but also fundamental in maintaining trust in our system. Being the nation’s auditor and playing a part to ensure that this transparency is upheld is thus particularly meaningful for me.
What kinds of career and personal development opportunities does your company provide for its scholars?
Before graduation, AGO scholars are given the opportunity to have an internship in AGO which would have been difficult to clinch without the scholarship since AGO offers only about 2 to 4 internships per year. During the internship, we were exposed to the different types of audits that AGO conducts and got to experience the day-to-day work life in AGO. I also had the opportunity to experience audit work, try out data analytics and perform site visits which helped me learn how auditing knowledge acquired in school are put into practice in real life. This practical work experience, though short in stint, had helped make my undergraduate learning experience more complete. On top of that, AGO also allows us to take up internships with other companies or organisations to gain more exposure and experience.
What are your interests? How do you balance it with working life?
As I have not started working, my experience of dealing with work life balance is still very limited. However, during my internships where I worked during office hours, I try my best to make time for other activities. For example, I am currently attending a data analytics course under the CITREP+ scheme on top of my internship with Motorola Solutions. I do make use of the little pockets of time during the day, such as my commute time to and fro work, to catch up on my drama series as well.
What do you see are life’s most important values and why?
I believe open-mindedness, perseverance and contentment are most important.
Open-mindedness allows us to have richer learning experiences and interactions with others. It is crucial for personal growth and forging relationships.
Perseverance is the key to every achievement. From our daily commitments such as healthy eating, to the projects we have to complete at work, every task we have on hand requires perseverance.
Contentment is the key to happiness. Feeling envy, or constant discontent with ourselves can be very destructive. It is definitely easier said than done, appreciation for our current situation can be very difficult when we were raised to be ambitious. However, daily reminders to be grateful can help, and make us much happier.
Any suggestion on how we can make Singapore a better place to live in?
Though graciousness is more aggressively promoted in recent years, it can still be improved. From smokers who affect others with their second-hand smoke, to those who leave their food trays on the tables after meals, making it difficult for other customers to use the table, there are still pockets of Singaporeans whom I feel can be more considerate.
GEORGIANA ANG LI XUAN
AGO Auditing Service Scholarship
Now: 3rd year student at Nanyang Technological University pursuing Bachelor of Accountancy & Business
From: Hwa Chong Institution