How did the interview process influence your decision to study at SMU?

Prior to the interview, I was a tad nervous as the university placement is a fairly significant milestone.

I feel that the interview is rather beneficial as it differs from the usual university admissions process, which tends to be more of a “one-way street”. In fact, the interview process gave me the opportunity to find out whether the school was suitable for me as well.

The interviewers were also able to provide us with information about the school in a concise manner. They were kind and invited us to share our opinions openly, making the session a rather enjoyable one. The whole experience reinforced my decision to study at SMU School of Accountancy.


What do you think the interviewers look for during the interview?

From the viewpoint of a senior, I think that the professors are on the lookout for candidates who are both academically inclined and interested in the field of accounting. Perhaps more importantly, they would be interested in prospective students with strong ethics and values.


Can you share some tips and things to take note of?

Have a good understanding of why you would like to do accounting, and why at this particular university. Be mindful that the university looks out for certain qualities in their candidates, such as leadership skills or active participation in voluntary work.

Personally, I learned that the curriculum is rigorous, relevant to the industry, and very useful in helping me understand the discipline of accountancy.


Was the interview challenging?

In my experience, the professors are mostly interested in understanding your motivations for wanting to join accounting, and they want to know your reasons for choosing SMU – most of the questions in my interview were generally directed towards the particular discipline of accountancy. So it wasn’t challenging in the sense that it was a pretty straightforward interview.

However, there were some interesting questions, such as “What animal would you want to be?”

It certainly isn’t easy answering these types of questions, but the good thing is that these questions force you to think on your feet. Once I managed to think through the points I wanted to put across though, I was able to structure and deliver my answers effectively.

To my knowledge, some schools also require additional assessment, separate from the interview.


Can you share 3 tips for prospective students preparing for their SOA interviews?

Research the school. Try to get an understanding of the teaching pedagogy and decide if it appeals to you.

Talk to current or past SMU Accountancy students to find out why they are interested in this field, and to learn more about SMU. It was through such interactions that I found out about my current CCA, SMIF (Student Managed Investment Fund).

It would be helpful to do some research on the general career paths of those majoring in this discipline. You could also ask questions regarding future career options during the interview. This would help demonstrate that you have thought carefully about your decision to pursue that specific discipline.


Is it necessary to have technical knowledge relating to your discipline prior to the interview?

While having technical knowledge may be beneficial in demonstrating your interest in the subject, I do not believe that this is a pre-requisite for the interview. Having said that, it would be good to have some general knowledge about the discipline and related industries. Having no knowledge at all would show a lack of interest.

Ronald Neo, Year 3
School of Accountancy
Bachelor of Accountancy (BAcc)
Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), Junior Analyst
SMU Scholars’ Programme
Anglo-Chinese Junior College