Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

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Q&A with Hong, GDipPA '19, CFE Honour Roll 2020

Quick Info

  • Name: Hong Xu
  • Program: Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting
  • Graduate Year: 2019
  • Current Position: Experienced Associate
  • Current Employer: PwC
  • Prior Education: Bachelor of Commerce, University of Toronto Mississauga

Why did you decide to study the GDipPA Program?

I wanted to continue schooling while I was fresh out of undergrad and still in the school mindset. I also wanted to get the CFE out of the way as soon as I could so that I wouldn't have to balance working and studying at the same time. Personally, I also learn better within a more structured classroom experience with a professor to guide my learning, rather than the alternative offered by CPA. I felt GDipPA fit all of what I was looking for.

Top reason for choosing Rotman?

I was already familiar with the top tier education and faculty, as I had done my undergrad at another UofT campus. I was also familiar with and enjoyed the downtown campus as I worked in the area during my undergrad.

I believed Rotman would have been a natural continuation of my existing education which made me comfortable I was making the right choice.

What was the highlight of the Rotman experience?

The highlight was definitely the various people you meet in the program. They’re all in similar positions yet bring their own unique insights and perspectives. Everyone contributed to the learning which made the experience all the more engaging. There was also great support among everyone in the program because we all had the same desire to learn and succeed. It was nice as some of the friends I made in the program were also my study group for the CFE (we all passed!).

How did completing the program over the summer help when it came to starting your current job? 

It’s definitely had a tangible effect as I could focus more on my work performance rather than have studying at the back of my mind. Not studying and working is a huge benefit as you can focus solely on one thing at a time which is easier than juggling multiple demands. I would say it also helped with some technical aspects of my job as I had a stronger understanding of why I did certain day to day activities.

Did Rotman and the GDipPA program meet your expectations?

I would say it exceeded expectations. I never expected that the program would assist the way it did with my case writing skills and technical knowledge.

Looking back now, I never realized how much of what I picked up in GDipPA would continue on into Capstone 1, 2 and the CFE.

What would you say to someone considering choosing the GDipPA?

I highly recommend choosing the GDipPA. It was highly convenient to skip all the CPA PEP modules you would have had to otherwise do while being in the supported environment that the GDipPA program provided. Overall, I had a great time in the program, inside the classroom, and outside of it too.

It was amazing for developing my case writing skills and technical knowledge which I directly applied when writing the CFE.

Future plans? 

I’m enjoying the new challenges I face in public accounting as I working towards my CPA. I’ll keep learning as I advance into my CPA career that Rotman helped set the foundations to. During my time in school, I found I do also enjoy the academic/teaching side of things so I want to explore opportunities in that space in addition to my current role.

Finally, how did it feel to make the CPA CFE Honour Roll?

Definitely felt nice to know that my cumulative efforts paid off in the end. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out this way but I’m glad it did. Overall I feel very thankful to everyone who supported me along the way.

The Rotman Graduate Diploma in Professional Accounting is an excellent way for you to gain advanced standing in the pursuit of a CPA. The 12-week program helps prepare you for the Common Final Examination (CFE) and allows you to advance straight to the Capstone 1 module in the CPA PEP.

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