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Confidence key to ACCA contest

Taking on his role as a business adviser with gusto, Harry Yung Ho-shu sailed through a day of business plan development and presentation before industry top brass to emerge as champion of the ACCA Job Hunting Competition 2012 Hong Kong Final.

A third-year major in bachelor of business administration (BBA) in professional accounting at the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), Yung beat 11 other finalists at the annual job hunting contest, organised by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) Hong Kong.

Yung attributed his confident performance to good preparation. "I was not nervous during the final," he said. "My group mates and I exchanged many good ideas during the morning's discussion to prepare for the presentation in the afternoon. We were able to go through our main points during the preparation so that all of us had clear ideas about our respective parts in the presentation."

Clear and logical thinking was another of Yung's strong suits. He helped structure and organise the myriad ideas contributed by all the members of his group towards the business plan. "I entered the competition as part of my job search preparation. I have learned a lot throughout my participation," he added.

Anthony Tam, a judge at the finals, said Yung's performance was outstanding. "We began judging the finalists by observing them at the group discussion in the morning. We identified the leadership skills of individual finalists and saw if they would steer the direction of the discussion, identify the core issues and resolve any conflicts. The quality of Yung's performance was consistent throughout the competition. He also appeared very confident at the presentation," added Tam, a tax senior advisor at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

Organised by ACCA Hong Kong, this year's competition had the finalists assume the role of business consultants helping to boost the profitability of the Hong Kong operation of a fictional French-headquartered cosmetics company.

The 12 finalists were randomly grouped into three teams and spent two hours in the morning analysing the operation and developing business plans. In the afternoon, each team took turns to present their analyses and recommendations, and field questions raised by the other teams and the judges, who took the role as the management of the French company.

Another judge, Bernard Wu, said the top three contestants set themselves apart from the other finalists as they were full of confidence and maintained good eye contact during the presentation. Wu is the chairman of ACCA Hong Kong.

First runner-up Annis Au Po-yu said she felt confident in the competition because she had told herself to relax. The mutual support among the members of her team also helped. "I enjoyed working with my teammates. They are all friendly and supportive. With this good team spirit, I was not stressed, so I naturally performed well," noted Au, a second-year major in BBA in accounting and finance at the University of Hong Kong.

Judge Teresa Tso said Au was proactive in contributing ideas at the group discussion. "She also volunteered to help consolidate the ideas from other members. From time to time, she kept the discussion on the right track. At the presentation, Annis made good responses to the questions raised by the judges," added Tso, a partner for financial services at Ernst & Young.

Herman Mok Chi-kit was the second runner-up. "As I just wanted to participate and experience the competition, I did not put myself under too much pressure," noted the second-year major in BBA in professional accountancy at CUHK.

Edwin Yeung, a partner at Fortune International Group, said Mok maintained good eye contact during the presentation. "At the group discussion, he was able to provide ideas that complemented other members' suggestions for the business plan."

The top three winners will represent Hong Kong and compete against the winners of contests in three mainland cities at the China Grand Final Competition, to be held in Hong Kong on July 7. They won trophies, cash prizes and ACCA scholarships.

The association will also offer shortlisted candidates a two-day job-shadowing placement opportunity in Shanghai, where they will observe and learn how senior business executives work.

"Participating in the China Grand Final will enable me to observe the differences between university graduates from the mainland and Hong Kong," Au said.