Have you considered switching your college or university degree? Do you think such a change is too risky?
Now, two years into his accounting degree, Avalon says he has no regrets. Read on to learn why Avalon transitioned between two seemingly opposite university degrees and hear his tips for fellow students.
The need for change
During the first two years of his engineering degree, Avalon admits that he was always thinking about business – how to start one or how to get involved in one.
Eventually, he started looking at commerce programs and the logistics of switching. Soon thereafter, two years into his engineering degree, Avalon made the change to the University of Toronto Mississauga’s (UTM) Commerce program.
Avalon’s first year in Commerce exposed two fields of interest.
“The finance field had this risky and exciting career tune to it, while the accounting field was more fundamentals,” Avalon says. He notes that while finance initially seemed exciting, he was ultimately drawn to accounting.
Accounting just seemed to be the obvious choice for me.
-Avalon D’Souza, student, University of Toronto
Use your resources
The route to a new career path presents challenges. So where does a transitioning student begin? Avalon suggests getting involved to help ease the transition.
In his first year, Avalon participated in the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Ontario (ICAO) CA$H competition and won first place with his team This extracurricular event gave him the opportunity to network with various accounting professionals and make valuable connections.
Avalon also urges transitioning students to take advantage of their resources.
“The ICAO career team was instrumental in training me on the designation process,” he says. “Through their assistance and other resources such as the CMA, CGA, UTM’s Career Centre, UTM’s Commerce Society and TalentEgg, I was able to narrow my focus and work toward the designation of my choice.”
Avalon also stresses the importance of extracurricular involvement when pursuing an entirely new career path.
“Along with my GPA, extracurricular involvement helped me develop skills and brand myself to be a strong potential candidate for the Big 4 and many CA Training Offices,” he says.
Through his extracurricular involvement, Avalon quickly realized that an accounting designation and career was exactly what he wanted to pursue.
“One lesson I learned was that the CA designation was not just about numbers,” he says. “It also involves utilizing important management skills such as leadership, teamwork, communication and negotiation.”
Avalon also recognized the global opportunity that an accounting designation could offer. “Apart from being a globally recognized designation, my CA was an international passport for me to indulge in other career fields, such as entrepreneurship or consulting,” he says.
Hard work pays off
With hard work and plenty of extracurricular experience under his belt, Avalon had no problem securing an internship with an accounting firm this summer – an experience he’s described as “inspiring.”
“The company’s culture of excellence and productivity really challenges me to be the Picasso of my field, while their mentorship program continues to motivate me in achieving my long term goals.”
Avalon also finds time to explore his passion for entrepreneurship. “I also dabble in entrepreneurship through my ambassador role in The Founder Project. The company is the first venture fund of its kind in Canada run almost entirely by students that invest in other students’ startups.”
With a well-rounded set of involvements and his sights set on a career, Avalon has some quotable advice for those looking to succeed, be it in accounting or any other field:
“The only obstacle stopping you from achieving the life and career you imagined is your limiting belief. Conquer it and be the extraordinary individual you were born to be!”