When Samson Huang (BBA in Professional Accountancy, Year 3 student) sings in a choir, he knows exactly which pitch to use to harmonise with the group and deliver a transcendent performance. He is now learning to sing the rhapsodies of business, and to develop his unique pitch and voice for his part in the shifting world.
Learning the Tunes of Business
Guided by a lifelong interest in business, Samson chose the Professional Accountancy (PACC) programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) Business School as his gateway into the business world. “Many people think that accounting deals only with numbers and simple calculations. In reality, accounting is the common language of the business world. It enables you to interpret and understand the rationale behind each number and formulate financial plans and strategic decisions.”
Samson understands that academic knowledge is only half of the equation. Business also involves working, communicating and collaborating with people. He found CUHK’s “Comprehensive University” setting and college system fabulous in helping him hone his soft skills. “CUHK’s all-round education celebrates diversity and instils a global mindset in students. We are encouraged to keep an open mind and respect other perspectives. This prepares us to take on today’s world, in which meeting, listening and working with people from all walks of life and nationalities is key.”
Appreciating the Timbres of the World
To explore the vast realm of business and to find his place, Samson has taken on six internships and a myriad of extracurricular activities. He purposefully chose different industries to gain the widest exposure: he worked in retail, traditional finance and FinTech. He exchanged at IE University in Spain and, when that was cut short by COVID-19, swiftly took on an equity research internship. I wanted to see the real business world and how I can utilise my academic knowledge in different business settings to formulate new ideas.”
“In these turbulent times, you need a broad set of knowledge and skills to innovate, improvise and succeed. CUHK’s all-round education is preparing me for this environment, not only in knowledge but also in mindset and soft skills.” ──Samson Huang
In addition to working for established businesses, Samson tried his hand at forging his own ventures. He won the championship at UBS Group Chief Operating Officer Case Study Challenge 2019 and claimed the Best Airport Application Award at Cathay Pacific 24-Hour Hackathon in 2018. During the Hackathon, he attempted to come up with a solution to enhance the airline’s operational efficiency and to provide a better customer experience for travellers, all within 24 hours and with a team formed on site.
Samson also joined the student-led Hong Kong Federation of Business Students (HKFBS) as Internal Vice President. At HKFBS, Samson co-founded JUMPSTARTER IdeaPOP! Startup Pitching Competition, a student entrepreneurship competition under the JUMPSTARTER competition organised by the Alibaba Entrepreneurs Fund. “We offered ideas on what university students were looking for and organised the logistics, marketing and promotion of the competition. I was even the emcee of the finale event. It was an incredible experience.”
Creating Music out of Distinctive Voices
Through it all, Samson has learnt that communication and collaboration are indispensable to success in business. He sees a parallel with his work as the tenor of the all-boys O’blue Acappella. For unaccompanied vocal music to entrance listeners, each performer has to contribute his voice, in different pitches, to create a divine harmony.
This coincides with Samson’s motto: to serve and to lead. “We have to serve others before we can lead. From my internships and collaboration with business leaders, I discovered that leaders are differentiated by how they manage themselves and how their conduct influences the people they lead. I often remind myself to have the right attitude and to perform well to influence and lead others.”
“We have to serve others before we can lead. I often remind myself to have the right attitude and to perform well to influence and lead others.” ──Samson Huang
Singing In Harmony with the Next 10 Years
Samson is now undertaking another internship at the Corporate Bank division of Deutsche Bank. The decision was inspired by his mentor during the CUHK Mentorship Programme. Samson is finding the experience rewarding and believes it will offer him greater clarity on which career path to pursue.
“It is very important to step out of your comfort zone and try new things when you are young,” Samson said. “These experiences help you identify your strengths and career interests. They let you communicate with people from all walks of life and learn to respect others. Most importantly, they shape you as a person, enhance your agility and resilience to the new normal, and enable you to stand out in today’s competitive world.”
Samson plans to use the next 10 years to lay the foundation for his career and to hone his capabilities. Then, he hopes to consolidate his knowledge and industry insights, set up his own business and pursue financial innovation.
‘In the Hearth of the Heart a Kindling Spark’
Is he worried about the Future of Work as an accountant? “Technology will be able to replace a very small part of the accounting industry, but in areas that require human intelligence, such as managing the financial goals and plans of a company, those will still require accountants.” Samson believes that technologies like AI and machine learning can be tools to help accountants focus on flexing their soft skills and generating new ideas.
“Every one of us is a spark waiting to grow ablaze and to light up the world. Once we learn to harness the power of our true selves, we can change the world for the better, no matter the challenges.” ──Samson Huang
Samson’s confidence for the future was inspired by the lyrics of the song Soul Light by Kim André Arnesen. “The words ‘In the hearth of the heart a kindling spark’ have deeply influenced me. Every one of us is a spark waiting to grow ablaze and to light up the world. Once we learn to harness the power of our true selves, we can change the world for the better, no matter the challenges.”
By offering himself to new experiences and possibilities, by attuning to the melodies of life and business, by bringing passion, motivation and the right attitude to everything he does, Samson is primed to take on the future. He is ready to contribute his voice to the music of business.