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Student and alumni profiles

Read about our alumni and current students. You will learn more about their backgrounds and motivations for joining the programme. If you would like to, you can talk directly with one of our alumni ambassadors.

Chan Benson.

Benson Chan

CEO, Asia Pacific, Amber Hill Holdings

Country: Hong Kong
Class of: 2018-2020

I am a professional accountant, a psychologist and an entrepreneur. I received my training from Deloitte and was qualified there. Afterwards, I entered into the investment banking industry to pursue my interest in financial management and corporate finance. As an investment banker, I advised clients on IPOs, M&As and fund raising. At the same time, I completed an MBA.

I am now the CEO, Asia Pacific (excluding China) of a fast-growing hedge fund and I am responsible for technology development and innovation for the group. I chose the Cambridge Master of Accounting programme because of the world class faculty and the content of the programme, in particular leadership training and analytics in financial information. The most challenging part of the programme for me was coding for relational databases and predictive analytics. However, though it was challenging, I found it very interesting and useful in my career.

Akriti Arya-Cohen.

Akriti Arya-Cohen

Director, Ad Revenue Forecasting, Viacom

Country: United States
Class of: 2018-2020

I am a corporate finance professional from New York and work in the entertainment industry. My primary responsibility is to manage the financials of an organisation, whether it be overseeing/preparing the P&L, balance sheet and cash flow statements or ensuring departments abide by their budgets. As the media industry is always changing, I am also involved with analysing a company’s current fiscal situation and strategising its future. A lot of modeling goes into this, so I’m definitely a self-professed excel geek. My experience ranges from working in smaller companies, such as Univision and Refinery29 to larger ones like Fox News and ViacomCBS.

I joined this programme because I believe it equips me with multiple skills that I can apply wherever I go. Be it developing a strong grasp of accounting concepts, improving my technological knowledge or enhancing my soft-skills via interpersonal dynamics, this program has educated me on topics that are fundamental to developing a career in finance.

My aspiration, having completed the Cambridge MAcc, is to become the VP, and eventually the CFO of a media company, so I can manage and lead decision making for the whole firm.

Jose Serrao Zappa.

José Serrao Zappa

Treasury & Controllership, Legion Holdings

Country: Brazil
Class of: 2018-2020

I work in a Brazilian private equity firm – Legion Holdings – founded in late 2016 and focused on companies in distress. I’m in charge of the Accounting (preparation of the official statements and a variety of internal reports) and the Corporate Treasury (FX transactions, hedge, fixed income assets and stocks trading). Before Legion, I worked for two years for investment banks as an accountant, being heavily in contact with external auditors, regulatory institutions (Brazilian Central Bank and the Department of Federal Revenue of Brazil) and traders (mostly corporate treasury).

Being able to join Legion Holdings at such an early stage of the company made me witness and be part of the development of all the processes and models we’re using here today. Having experienced that made me want to understand how these processes are done worldwide and discuss ways of optimising them.

Along with that, having worked with companies in distress, it became clear that most of those companies had one thing in common: huge difficulties in extracting key information about their situation and not being able to identify where were the opportunities and possible threats lay.

During my time on the programme, my company has expanded, and the CEO has invited me to work directly with him as his Staff. Today I work directly with the board, working on projects that he, as CEO, understands as priorities for the company, also participating in the Executive Committees for strategic decision-making. The Cambridge Master of Accounting has prepared me well for my new responsibilities.

Si Qun (Annie) Qian.

Si Qun (Annie) Qian

Entrepreneur, Schoolgate Accounting Services

Country: China
Class of: 2018-2020

As an entrepreneur, I have invested in a boutique accounting firm with the intention to establish their Chinese desk along with some new services. My role involves day-to-day running of the team, as well as working with the marketing manager to set performance targets and new strategies to promote our services.

I was strongly drawn to the Cambridge Master of Accounting programme by its unconventional approach towards accounting. Having studied Accounting in my undergraduate degree, I found myself troubled by many theories in traditional accounting that did not entirely make sense. The Cambridge MAcc programme offered the opportunity to scrutinise the underlying problems within the accounting system and challenged us to think critically about the causes and solutions.

I really enjoyed the discussions throughout different classes and I strongly agree that there are still a lot of areas in the field of accounting to be thoroughly debated, rather than just taught to students. The discussions encouraged me to think from different perspectives and to understand the correlation between factors that might affect future accounting standard setting.

Kan Cui.

Kan Cui

Finance Manager, Allen & Overy

Country: UK
Class of: 2018-2020

I am a finance manager in a top tier international law firm and am a trusted finance partner to nine business units. Using my expertise in accounting, data analysis, process improvement and change management, I am helping my company to improve financial performance and reduce inefficiencies.

Although offered a place on an MBA programme in London, I chose the Cambridge Master of Accounting instead for two reasons.

Firstly, the University of Cambridge is one of the most renowned teaching institutions in the world. Therefore, it attracts prominent teaching staff and elite students from all over the globe. To me, this means a high-quality learning experience from both faculty staff and from my classmates. The reputation of Cambridge also means an enhanced career mobility and opportunity. As I climb up the career ladder, I believe this programme will be highly beneficial.

Secondly, I found the curriculum well-designed and original. It is by no means like a conventional Master of Accounting programme, whose focus is on financial reporting, audit, tax, etc. This programme teaches, amongst other things, change management and negotiations, interpersonal dynamics and data analytics, all of which are essential skills for finance professionals.

My next goal is to become a finance director in a large organisation. I believe this programme will accelerate my career in many ways. Firstly, it will give my current, or future employer, an immediate positive impression. Secondly, I have gone through a transformation in this programme from being an accountant to a future-ready financial leader with knowledge in financial reporting and analysis, strategic management, change management and data analytics.

Lastly, after two years, I am now an alumnus of Cambridge University, meaning the power of networking will play an important factor in my career development. Having an association with Cambridge is a life-time reward. With regards to the Cambridge MAcc programme in particular, I have developed life-long friendships with my cohort and the faculty. Also, I have applied my learning to my job. For example, when I worked at E&J Gallo in my previous role, I led several change initiatives. Some of them affected my immediate team, while others affected the wider finance team. I was able to apply the learning from the Change Management module, for example, how to recognise and handle resistance to change, to many of my projects and I delivered successful outcomes.

Apoorva Tiku.

Apoorva Tiku

Financial Auditor, The Audit Office of New South Wales

Country: Australia
Class of: 2018-2020

I am a public sector financial auditor at the Audit Office of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia. I contribute to holding government agencies accountable for their use of tax payers’ money. Rather than just focusing on compliance, I also contribute to recommending ways that agencies can improve their current operations to become more efficient, effective and economical with the use of taxpayers’ money.

I chose to study the Master of Accounting at Cambridge because I saw the potential in the programme to help me. Having gained the adequate technical skills through my bachelors degree and CA studies, I soon realised that there had been a gap in my training to date. The gap was in relation to the requisite leadership skills needed to be able to apply the technical skills to complex, dynamic and sometimes controversial accounting issues in the workplace. The soft skills are just as important as the technical skills and it was these soft skills that I had not been trained in enough.

Now that I have completed the degree, I want to apply what I have learnt to a financial analyst role within a large global corporation that is doing meaningful work for society. I am aiming for a CFO/CEO role, and I know that what I learnt from the programme about future accounting issues holds me in good stead to do this.

The most rewarding part of the programme for me has been meeting people from all around the world and learning about their varied perspectives, something that I do not think I would have been able to do if I had not come to study at an international institution such as the University of Cambridge. This programme has been very enlightening for me and I went back to Australia with a changed perspective.

Anthony Nguyen.

Anthony Nguyen

Intelligence Analyst

Country: UK
Class of: 2019-2021

I am an all-source analyst supporting US agencies, including the Office of Foreign Assets Control. The Office of Foreign Assets Control of the US Department of Treasury administers and enforces economic and trade sanctions based on US foreign policy and national security goals. The US Treasury Department faces a plethora of challenges involving financial policies concerning emerging technologies and international relations.

My desire to study further the relationship between politics and finance led me to choose the Cambridge Master of Accounting, given the course’s global aperture. I hope this programme will improve my foundational knowledge of accounting and changes ongoing within this field. With that, I aspire to refine our approach in addressing issues facing my department and ultimately steer government policymaking in a more concise and positive direction.

After one year of the programme, the most rewarding part for me has been my greater understanding of the political-business undertones that influence accounting and financial policies. Outside of the academics, I highly value the new friendships and network of business professionals whom I could seek for insight and advice.

Vittasa Suksawat.

Vittasa Suksawat

Senior Associate, PwC

Country: Thailand
Class of: 2019-2021

I am an audit manager responsible for operational works across the audit function. I also deal with provisional issues concerning accounting.

I chose this programme because it allows me to continue my career at the same time as up-skilling through education. I consider this programme as an essential stepping-stone in my career, allowing me to expand my knowledge and experience globally. Most importantly, this programme is not just a typical Master of Accounting as it delivers curriculum which is shaping me to become a thought-leader in my professional career.

Once I graduate, I would like to seek opportunities in consulting-related work. I firmly believe that this programme will help me to do that. For me, it has been a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to study at Cambridge with world-class professors and a truly global community of fellow finance professionals.

Sumair Amin.

Sumair Amin

Manager Strategy, Corporate Planning, Kansai Paint

Country: Pakistan
Class of: 2019-2021

I have worked as an independent consultant, supporting clients on their FP&A and Corporate Finance initiatives in both the UAE and Pakistan. Previously, I have worked for PwC in Dubai and KPMG and the Royal Bank of Scotland in the UK. I am originally from Pakistan, but have lived mostly in London and Dubai.

Having previously achieved a masters degree in investment management, the obvious choice for me was an MBA. However, after researching several different programmes, I found that nothing out there matches even remotely to what is offered by the Cambridge Master of Accounting programme. I think besides the brand, faculty and format, a strong point for this programme is the curriculum, which includes, amongst other things, Interpersonal Dynamics, Change Management and Negotiations, Sustainability Disclosures and Descriptive and Predictive Analytics.

My career aspirations after completing this degree are for a leadership role in accounting and finance.

Being a part of this prestigious institution and the networking opportunities offered by the truly global cohort have brought enormous benefits to my career.

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