The 2002 UFE Medallists
By Michelle McRae
The wait is over
The end of the third day of the UFE experience must be both surreal and anti-climactic, inspiring everything from relief to worry, elation to exhaustion, or a combination of all four. After all, you've finally done it-you've written the bear of all sit-down exams. All that build-up for so long, and now it's over. Sort of. Now it's actually time to wait for the results. And whether you think you did well or you're second-guessing your every answer, you now enter a state of limbo.
Well the wait is finally over, and we're pleased to introduce this year's UFE medallists: Nolan Watson, Jessica Chen, Florence Hung, and Mark Ye.
Gold: Nolan Watson
Surprise. It's what every medallist says they experience after getting their results, and Nolan Watson is no exception.
"I had no idea how I'd done," he says, "because after each day of the exam I deliberately chose not to analyse my performance-I wanted to prevent myself from dwelling on any potentially missed points."
Since Watson earned the gold medal in BC and placed fourth nationally, any missed points must have been few and far between.
"Success on the UFE is a measure of work ethic and not fluid intelligence," he offers. "I think a candidate's level of success largely depends on how hard they're willing to work."
Clearly Watson, who's currently in his second year of articling with Deloitte & Touche LLP in Vancouver, did work hard-so much so that when the third day was over, he felt compelled to keep himself occupied.
"Before attending the Deloitte & Touche UFE party," he says, "I went and bought video games to occupy my time, since I no longer had anything to study for."
For his success on the exam, Watson gives thanks to his UFE mentor Rohan Hazelton, CA, of Wheaton River Minerals (and formerly with Deloitte), and his study partner Keith Jensen of KPMG LLP, who also wrote the exam.
"I would also like to thank my wife and best friend Dana," he adds, "and my family, for their tremendous support."
Watson was born and raised in the Greater Vancouver Area. After graduating from White Rock Christian Academy, he went on to the University of BC, earning a Bachelor of Commerce degree in Accounting and graduating with honours in 2001.
Watson, whose father is a CA, has a variety of aspirations for the future, but none he cares to pin down just yet. "There are many things I wish to accomplish in my lifetime, as a CA," he says, "and these things can't be summed up in one or more job titles."
Silver: Jessica Chen
"I thought the COMP was really difficult this year," says Jessica Chen. "But it was actually exciting to be able to write the real exam, finally. So I just gave it my best shot."
Once it was over, Chen commemorated the moment: "As silly as it may sound, I took a picture with my friend Sue Lau at the end of day three just so we could capture this 'historical moment' in our lives."
Chen is entering her third year of articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Vancouver. She gives the firm high praise for its in-house national UFE prep program: "Don Seto, CA, and the PwC Education Committee did a fantastic job of fitting the program into our busy CASB schedule."
She also credits her UFE mentor Kenneth Lai, CA, and her friend Anna Lee (both at PwC) for their support: "They believed in my ability to pass the UFE long before I did myself."
Her biggest thanks go to her PwC coach, Doug Purdie, CA: "Doug was always there to motivate and inspire me." And she expresses gratitude to her parents, sister, and boyfriend for their support throughout the entire CASB process.
Chen was born in Taipei, Taiwan, and moved to Canada in 1993. Her family settled in Richmond, where she attended Steveston High School.
At Simon Fraser University, she later earned a Business Administration degree, with first class honours-completing a double concentration in Accounting and Management Information Systems, while also being enrolled in the general business co-op program. Chen says the CA program has already exceeded her expectations, and she has high hopes for the future.
"I would absolutely love to get some international experience working in a PwC office abroad after I earn my designation. My ultimate dream is to have my own business and travel around the world."
She has this to say to future UFE writers: "To me, the whole UFE experience was as much a mind game as an exam. Recognize that this exam is different, understand how it's different, and develop your own approach to tackling it-I think these are the keys to passing the UFE. You also have to take time off during your study period so that you don't burn out.
"And the most important thing, of course, is to believe that you CAN pass the UFE!"
Silver: Florence Hung
"I was too shocked to believe it was true," says Florence Hung, of learning of her results. "I thought I'd done okay on the exam, but I was very surprised at just how well I'd done. I certainly didn't expect to be a medallist."
Hung is currently in her second year of articling with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP in Vancouver. Like Jessica Chen, she credits the firm's UFE Prep program as one reason for her success on the UFE.
"I'd like give a big thanks to the PwC Education Committee," she says. "And for their advice and support, I'd also like to thank my coach Rachel Taylor; my UFE mentor Yulanda Tang; and my UFE small group facilitator Anne Yu, CA.
"Most important of all, I thank my parents and my sister who were understanding and supportive-they showed great faith in me and provided me with tremendous support and encouragement to help me survive the whole UFE process!"
Like so many before her, Hung says she found the whole UFE experience extremely challenging-but she adds, "It motivated me to set my goals high and strive to do my best."
Hung was born in Hong Kong and moved with her family to Victoria, BC, in 1993. There she attended Reynolds Secondary School.
She went on to earn a Bachelor of Commerce degree with honours (majoring in accounting) from the University of BC in 2001.
Hung says she chose the CA profession because of its wide recognition and credibility in the business community: "It sets a solid foundation and opens doors to many career opportunities."
As for her own future career opportunities, Hung echoes the other medallists by saying she's keeping her options open. She offers these suggestions to next year's writers: "Stay focused and follow a study plan that works for you, but remain flexible. And remember to enjoy the summer!"
Bronze: Mark Ye
A profile and photo of bronze medallist Mark Ye were not available at press time. Look for a profile of Mark in the February/March issue of BN.
Congratulations to all four medallists for so successfully completing this ultimate CA student rite of passage! For the complete list of successful candidates, see later in this issue.