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Creativity carries day for champions

Published on Friday, 23 Apr 2010
The top five candidates (from left), Arnold Leung Tsz-ho, Colleen Leung Hiu-hung, Terrence Pang Tim-yu, Astina Au Sze-ting and Danny Tang Chun-kit.

As the corporate world becomes increasingly competitive, young job seekers aim to deliver good quality work under pressure and to think on their feet.

Apart from these qualities, the winners of the ACCA Hong Kong Job Hunting Competition 2010 final demonstrated exceptional leadership and resourcefulness, say judges of the contest. ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) Hong Kong organised the competition.

The champion is Terrence Pang Tim-yu, a first-year student of bachelor of business administration in global business studies at Chinese University. First runner-up is Astina Au Sze-ting, a second-year student of BBA (Law) at the University of Hong Kong. Second runner-up is Danny Tang Chun-kit, also a second-year student of BBA (Law) at HKU. They will represent Hong Kong at the China Grand Final in Beijing in July.

The Ming Pao Best Team Spirit Award went to Group Two, which was formed by Terrence Pang, Arnold Leung Tsz-ho, student of BBA finance and information systems at Hong Kong University of Science and Technology; Lim Shing-vee, BBA accounting and finance at HKU; and Ng Chak-him, BBA (Law), HKU.

"Group Two demonstrated tremendous team spirit. At the question-and-answer session, team members would consult with one another first before one of them gave answers," says one of the judges, Tracy Ho, tax partner at Ernst & Young.

Grouped into three teams, the 12 finalists were given two hours in the morning to prepare a presentation outlining a detailed business proposal to manage a heritage preservation project in which several 1920s tenement buildings in Wan Chai would be redeveloped into performance and exhibition venues for local artists. They did the presentation before the judges and audience in the afternoon and also fielded questions from the judges and other contestants.

"All three winners had consistent performances throughout the day," says Sandra Lai, assurance partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers Hong Kong. "They did well at the initial brainstorming and discussion session and were able to organise their ideas into well-planned presentations. They also demonstrated exceptional presentation skills."

At group discussions, potential employers assess individual candidate's attributes, including leadership skills and the ability and willingness to involve the others in the process by inviting suggestions, says Anthony Tam, tax partner, at Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu.

"As presentation is a fact of life, effective executives should excel in it. We all have to present ideas to our supervisors and present proposals to peers." Ho says the three winners stood out in the presentation segment. "They were able to engage the audience better than the others through well-developed content and accomplished presentation skills."

Presentation is an essential component in the recruitment process. "It tests the candidates' skills in organising thoughts and then presenting the ideas in a logical way that engages the intended audience," says Adam Tan, assistant director of organisational development in the human resources department at Prudential Assurance Hong Kong. "Candidates are required to identify what is sought by the interviewers, organise ideas and adopt effective ways to deliver the results. In the real corporate environment, candidates should not be just able to demonstrate their skills, but the specific skills that potential employers look for."

Judges were impressed that the finalists had developed creative business plans for the revitalisation project despite the time constraints. They also demonstrated a high awareness of current issues such as heritage preservation.

"We paid close attention to the thought process and assessed how well the candidates could use their skills in taking something, identifying the main issues, and then developing sensible solutions and presenting the solutions properly," says Paul McSheaffrey, audit partner at KPMG. "We sought individuals who are not just academically qualified, but who can apply the necessary skill sets."

President of ACCA Hong Kong Judy Wong says many companies may ask candidates to contribute ideas and solutions to issues they are not familiar with and present the ideas in a logical manner. "Competent individuals should be able to present their ideas clearly with good analytical skills." It comes down to excellent presentation skills, communications skills, strong and broad technical knowledge and how one can carry oneself confidently, she adds.

Executives are asked to tackle many challenges and issues which might not be part of the specialised knowledge in their professions but are important to the community, says Aron Lee, director of group marketing and communications at Taifook Securities Group. "The contest is a good exercise for the finalists. Under time-constraint pressure, the contestants had to come up with ideas and viable solutions, and then organise them in a logical and engaging presentation. The content may not be as important because we focus on assessing their logical thinking and clarity of thought.

"Taifook spares no effort in helping develop professionals." Taifook is one of the sponsors.

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