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Hamorn Lau

Senior Teaching Staff

International School

Master of Counselling | 2010 Graduate

As a professional counsellor, we are only convincing in our role if we change ourselves before we help others change themselves.

Hamorn Lau

Senior Teaching Staff

International School

Master of Counselling | 2010 Graduate

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Further studies for self-understanding         
Adding value to help oneself and others


Listening is the key to effective communication. An educator of 15 years, Hamorn once struggled with the lack of listening skills which hindered her communication with parents as well as her building close relationships with her family. Some years ago she decided to enrol in the Master of Counselling programme offered by Monash University. Through her studies, she did not only acquire comprehensive counselling skills but also put her knowledge into practice. She also gained new insights on how to get along with her family, which is an invaluable treasure that goes beyond academic qualifications.

Hamorn received her university education in Australia. After graduation, she returned to Hong Kong and worked as a teacher at an international school. “Although I obtained a Master of Education later on, I still didn’t have enough confidence in my teaching. In particular, I lacked the soft skills of communicating with students and parents, especially counselling skills.” She contends that listening was her weak point. “While the parents are concerned with students’ coursework, they’re also in need of listeners. They often talk to teachers in the hope of getting someone to understand what they are thinking and feeling.” As Hamorn recalls, she realised at the time that she lacked these soft skills and resolved to pursue further studies.

After careful review and consideration, she decided to enrol in the Master of Counselling programme offered by Monash University. “Back when I was studying in Melbourne, Australia, I was already aware of Monash University’s reputation as a university that provides quality education. I was particularly impressed with the fact that this programme is 100% taught by Monash University professors who come to Hong Kong to conduct the classes.” Hamorn believes this programme is on par with the one being offered by the university in Australia in terms of academic faculty, programme content and resources. 


Interactive mode of teaching    
Encouraging exchange of views


“Monash University utilises a highly interactive programme delivery mode. The professor starts with explaining the theory, followed by role-play activities where students take turns to perform as patients, counsellors, and psychologists. Through role-play and group discussion, students exchange their views and develop their understanding of the case.” She praises the rigorous admissions process of the university, as many of her classmates were professionals. “We were tired after work during the week, and we still had to attend classes for the whole day on the weekends. Yet we would still come to class even at the times when we were sick, since the classes were interactive and fun and we didn’t want to miss them.” 

She notes that the programme provides substantial training in listening, and one of the subjects covered is Cognitive Behaviour Therapy. The training enhanced her understanding of individual thoughts and behaviour, and her ability to make changes and adjustments. “As a professional counsellor, we are only convincing in our role if we change ourselves before we help others change themselves.” 

Hamorn adds that behaviour and thoughts are interlinked and affect each other. “For instance, when the coursework was heavy, I would also feel reluctant to do it. But if you push yourself to do something even when you’re unwilling to do it, you’ll get used to this mode of behaviour and keep doing it.” She elaborates, “Now I understand it’s normal to have negative feelings in certain situations. For example, when my children come across some difficulties, I’m able to guide them through it rather than give them orders on what to do as I did in the past. This has significantly improved my communication with my children, husband, and even parents.” She states that the programme guided her towards greater self-understanding, which is a priceless gift that she gained from her studies. “Since I graduated from the programme, I’ve come to have more confidence in responding to parents’ questions on the Parents Day. I’m also able to ask thought-provoking questions to the parents after listening to them.”


Coaching children to become counsellors    
Mutual sharing and support


As Hamorn remarks, teachers in Hong Kong have a particularly hectic schedule. “They have to devote a great deal of energy to teaching and may not have time to tend to every student’s emotional needs.” She has introduced social and emotional counselling into the school where she teaches. “Instead of letting children reach out for adults when they struggle with negative feelings, we can train these children as counsellors and teach them how to become listeners. For instance, when they talk with other children about things that upset them, how they can listen to certain key words and pay attention to the other’s mood and body language. This enables them to talk openly and listen to one another, and that has helped create a healthier atmosphere at the school.” This has also earned her a promotion at work and enhanced her sense of satisfaction with her job.

Studying together for 18 months in the programme also cultivated genuine friendships among Hamorn and her classmates. “Since we graduated, we’ve stayed in touch and still get together for lunch and dinner. Every year when the professors come to Hong Kong to conduct classes, they get in touch with us and we all catch up over a meal.” Hamorn is currently studying for a doctorate degree in education. Her research with young children requires many counselling skills. “The professors are very eager to help. They even sent me their theses for reference as they had researched similar topics in the past. They often email me to check on my progress on my thesis or research. It’s been a source of motivation for me to work hard on my research and share it with the professors.”

Jacqueline Wong

Marketing Manager

Electronic Products Company

BA (Hons) Business Administration (Top-up) | 2015 Graduate

Continuing education has brought me opportunities for promotion, as well as many personal rewards, including enriched knowledge, broader horizons, expanded personal networks.

Jacqueline Wong

Marketing Manager

Electronic Products Company

BA (Hons) Business Administration (Top-up) | 2015 Graduate

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Inspiring All-round Thinking     
Practical Application in the Business World


“When my youngest son was born at the end of the year 2002, I felt time wouldn’t wait for me anymore.” While the two protagonists in the Hollywood film La La Land pursue their dreams in the big cities, marketing manager Jacqueline Wong hoped to fulfil her university dream before her children were to start school a few years ago. 
 
Jacqueline looked up information on academic programmes offered by different universities to search for the one that would suit her best. Finally, she enrolled in the one-year BA (Hons) Business Administration programme which was jointly offered by Kaplan Higher Education and Birmingham City University in the UK for the first time, and which was recommended to Jacqueline by a client of hers. 
 

Critical Thinking for Lifelong Benefit

In retrospect, Jacqueline feels that both the instructors and the programme staff were highly devoted to the academic achievements of the inaugural cohort, even though there were only 16 students in the group. “We had to compete against the students in Singapore as well. It was a challenging endeavour, but what we learned from the programme will benefit us for life."  
 
While her professional life has given her hands-on experience in the workplace, further studies have helped her expand her mindset. As Jacqueline remarks, she benefited a great deal from the course “Managing and Leading Strategic Change”. “From our strict yet humorous instructor Wilma Komala, I learnt how to analyse incidents and concepts from both the affirmative and negative sides, and to hone my critical thinking.”  
 
“The instructors taught me how to analyse global events and put my analysis into practice, and compare them with what’s happening in present-day society,” she adds. Jacqueline contends that her studies inspired her to analyse things on different levels: “It’s an extremely useful tool in the business world!” She also notes that the programme offers a flexible learning schedule, while face-to-face instruction by the instructors makes it easier for students to grasp the key content of the programme. Therefore, she has recommended the programme to her colleagues. 
 

A Positive Example for Her Children

Jacqueline stresses that her family was fully supportive of her pursuing further studies. "My husband and my mother helped take care of my children. Even my brother-in-law took the time to discuss with me the questions about my coursework and helped me to analyse the topics from different perspectives. That was very helpful for my studies." The support from her family was a source of great encouragement for Jacqueline. In particular, her husband accompanied her to the graduation ceremony at Birmingham City University in the UK in January 2015. It is a memory for a lifetime for Jacqueline. 
 
She emphasises that the programme has enhanced her grasp of globalisation. "Continuing education has brought me opportunities for promotion, as well as many personal rewards, including enriched knowledge, broader horizons, expanded personal networks. My learning attitude also has an impact on my son and my daughter, as it serves as a positive example for them." With her hard-earned academic achievements, Jacqueline puts her knowledge into practice in the company where she has been working for 12 years, and she also sets a good example for her children with her dedication to learning.  

Neo Lo Tsz Him

Products Analyst

KGI Securities

CAIA

Kaplan is certainly your best choice. This is how I passed my CAIA exams in one go.

Neo Lo Tsz Him

Products Analyst

KGI Securities

CAIA

"Kaplan is certainly your best choice. This is how I passed my CAIA exams in one go." - Neo Lo

 

Graduated from the University of Hong Kong, Neo is now working in the wealth management department of KGI Securities as a products analyst. He took the CAIA exams in 2016 and now is a CAIA Charterholder.
 
"As my job is related to structured products, CAIA is highly related to my work. CAIA provides in-depth financial knowledge to me and that is why I took the CAIA exams . I can now do a lot of comparisons to different products before providing investment advice to relationship managers." Neo said. The feedback is positive. 
 
For those who would like to take the CAIA exams, Neo suggested them to remember all of the regulations in detail. He emphasized that the Kaplan online tests and practice exams are very useful. "Do it again, again and again!"
 
The final thing that Neo would like to share to CAIA candidates is "Take it easy. It's not that hard. Kaplan did provide all you need for the exam!"

Anthony Tran

Senior Manager, Insights & Investment Communications

Asset Management Company

CFA

The Schweser‘s end of chapter formula are a good skeleton of the studies – coupled with Secret Sauce

Anthony Tran

Senior Manager, Insights & Investment Communications

Asset Management Company

CFA

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Anthony is an investment communication specialist with a non-business academic background. He received his bachelor degree of Cognitive Science from the University of Hong Kong and earned another master degree in Journalism from the Chinese University of Hong Kong. He is working at a buy-side asset management firm’s product marketing department and is reponsible for conceiving and producing fund pitch-books, sales flyers, and conduct portfolio performance evaluation analysis for private bank and institutional clients.

 

“Studying CFA helped me a lot in understanding different products across various departments, investment market and market trends. It can also widen my horizons and enhance my career development. Kaplan’s CFA prep course can help me relieve the pressure in preparing the exam. Kaplan instructor explained the difficult investment concepts well and make it easier to understand which help me to master the exam and achieve max results in both exam and work.” Anthony said.

 

For those who have failed in CFA exam, Anthony suggested them not to give up easily. “Everyone should have their own goals. CFA is not a very difficult examination, as long as you can understand the reasons of failure and face the problem. You will be able to pass the exam and achieve the goal.”

 

What is his formula for success?

That is how Anthony reponsed "I spent about 400 hours to prepare for CFA level 3 and I did past 10 year’s mock and essay questions at least once”

Seems there is no shortcut to success.