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Ryan Lai

CFA Lecturer

Kaplan Financial

CFA

It is not exaggeratedly to say that taking a CFA examination just like having a war. You need to be very clear about your objective, and then go straightforward.

Ryan Lai

CFA Lecturer

Kaplan Financial

CFA

An alumnus in Kaplan | Ryan, who has got CAIA, FRM and CFA qualifications, is currently a CFA lecturer in Kaplan. The most intriguing fact is that Ryan was also our student in Kaplan few years ago. 

Ryan has only spent 24 months to pass his three levels of the CFA examinations, and two parts of the FRM examinations (five exams in total!). What is the recipe for his success? Ryan told us directly, “The answer is actually simple - determination, persistence and patience.”  He also described himself as a mountain climber. “It is not exaggeratedly to say that taking a CFA examination just like having a war. You need to be very clear about your objective, and then go straightforward without any hesitation. Normally, one has to take about half a year to prepare for one CFA examination paper." During the examination period, Ryan had to manage his works and studies in a balanced way. Needless to say, you don’t have much spare time when you are working in the finance industry, but Ryan could still squeeze plenty of time for studying after his work and at each weekend.

You may know the maxim - “Rome wasn’t built in a day!” Sure, it is a long road to pass the three CFA examinations but Kaplan may help you. No one wants to take the risk of sitting the same exam again next year, so if you take our courses, Ryan and our experienced team will share their examination skills with you without any reservation! Good luck!

Miko Chan

Secretary

Investment Company

BBS (Hons) Management Pathway | 2013 Graduate

It was a “major life event” to obtain a university degree. It gave me more confidence in life and in applying for jobs with higher requirements.

Miko Chan

Secretary

Investment Company

BBS (Hons) Management Pathway | 2013 Graduate

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Career turning point    
University degree for greater bargaining power


If Miko did not pursue further studies, she would not have enrolled in the University College Dublin (UCD) after working as a secretary for many years nor would she have come to know Ireland or set foot in the country. As she journeyed to the other side of the earth, she saw how big the world was, while obtaining a university degree has strengthened her confidence. At present, she is planning to launch her own handicraft business. 

Looking back, Miko recalled that further studies were a popular topic of conversation among her friends. One day she made up her mind to search for some relevant information. “I was looking for a reputable programme that would offer me the flexibility to keep up with my work.” She said there were various programmes offered in the market; at last, she decided to enrol in UCD’s Bachelor of Business Studies (Hons) from the recommendation of her friends. She made her choice because of the option of part-time study, and that UCD’s Business School had received the Triple Accreditation for many consecutive years. 

She completed the programme after 18 months of part-time study. “I decided to major in management as it was related to my work. The programme covered subjects like human resources and economics, which were an absolutely new experience to me.” Talking about the most attractive feature of the programme, she recalled the lecturers who came all the way from Ireland to deliver the classes in Hong Kong. “As the classes were conducted in English, listening, and writing were a bit difficult for me in the early days.” However, the lecturers were always happy to repeat the content or explain it in a different way when students raised their questions. “Our teachers often presented the content with examples, and engaged us in group discussions. It was a very lively way of teaching and learning. During the break, the lecturers would share stories about their life in Ireland which were absolutely amazing.” 

Miko also praised the programme arrangement. “Prior to the class, we had already received the lecture notes and completed the first assignment. This gave us some ideas about the course in advance. It helped us ease into it since we weren’t starting from zero.” The intensive class schedule, which was designed for students to complete one course in a week, allowed her to plan her time properly for working on assignments and studying for examinations. “It was a surprise for me to meet a group of wonderful classmates, who came from similar backgrounds and were about the same age as me. We had a great understanding of our works on the group assignment.” 


Further studies to add value    
Job promotion and pay rise to follow


After earning her degree, Miko received a pay rise right away. “In the evaluation report, my boss noted that I had a very progressive attitude. I’d also acquired more knowledge about the operation of other departments like human resources and accounting.” Miko remarked that it was a “major life event” for her to obtain a university degree. It gave her more confidence in life and in applying for jobs with higher requirements. 

In 2014, she decided to experience working holiday in Ireland after getting her degree. “My friends who had been to Ireland said it was a special and lovely country. I also had a special feeling to that country since UCD is an Irish university.” She spent nine months saving up and preparing for the trip before she embarked on her journey.

For a genuine life experience in a Western country, Miko chose to reside in Ennis, a medium sized Irish town with only a small Chinese population. She worked at a local restaurant and, with the money she made from the job, she went on to visit more than 20 countries in Europe. “The budget airlines offered very low-priced flight tickets. A one-way flight from Ireland to Paris only cost EUR14, which was even cheaper than the airport bus.” She stayed in youth hostels along the way and made new friends from around the world, and even travelled together with some of them. 


Working holiday to pave the way for a further journey

Miko said that her working holiday in Ireland not only strengthened her confidence in spoken English, but also brought her to new realisations. “I travelled to many places and met a lot of different people. It made me think about whether work was everything to my whole life.” With the knowledge she had gained, she hoped to start a small business around her interests.

Upon her return to Hong Kong, she worked as a secretary again for half a year. At one point she quit her job to start a handicraft business, but realised it was impossible to make a living from the handicraft business alone. Therefore, she returned to the workplace. “Now I take part in the markets every weekend. Even though it’s like taking two jobs for more than 10 hours a day, I believe I can make handicraft my sole career in the future.” At this stage, she is actively building her brand and experimenting with different promotion channels. “It’s like running a one-person company where I have to take care of everything. It’s really challenging but fun, and I believe I’ll succeed.”

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.