BA 2002: Major Economics, Minor Commerce

 

When Grace Mok first joined Co-op, she didn’t know what she wanted to do except for banking. She was open to all of the options presented to her. This path of trial and error eventually helped her narrow down her Economics major and Commerce minor to a career in Accounting, specializing in Corporate Internal Control and Financial Policy, as an Internal Control Specialist with BC Hydro.

Grace’s first Co-op work term at WorkSafe BC, as an Administrative Assistant, gave her first taste of professional work experience. Her daily tasks included reviewing and proofreading internal audit reports. In her second Co-op work term, as a telephone banker, with the Bank of Montreal Grace was able to experience the customer service side of things as she was the first point of contact for customer inquires. Grace’s second and third work term also allowed her to learn a lot about the personal banking industry. She realized that the industry has a strong customer-service focus but she was interested in pursuing a career that required more analytical work. It wasn’t until Grace’s final Co-op work term that she discovered a career for herself. She once again joined WorkSafe BC as a Financial Assistant. She was involved in an internal control improvement project which helped minimize the risk of hand-held electronic device from getting stolen. She was responsible for coming up with control procedures and presenting them to managers. She was also exposed to the field of accounting.

In her last Co-op work term, Grace started considering an accounting career. She was able to obtain a “realistic picture of what accountants do” outside of the classroom. The experience obtained through her last Co-op position, helped lead her to her current position with BC Hydro after she worked in Ernst & Young and Ballard Power.

After graduation, Grace returned to UBC Sauder School of Business to complete the Diploma in Accounting Program (DAP). She then articled with Ernst & Young LLP, one of the global “Big Four” accounting firms, and obtained the Chartered Accountant designation. As an Internal Control Specialist at BC Hydro, Grace works on various special projects on financial policies to make sure proper internal controls are in place to reduce the risk of fraud and to increase operational efficiency in the company. She also provides financial policy and procedure training to managers so that they understand and will comply with the financial policies at BC Hydro. Grace really enjoys the diversity of projects in her current position. For Grace, her work terms taught her important interpersonal skills. She learned how to interact with people professionally, while gaining exposure to project management, from start to finish.

For current students in the Co-op program, Grace says, “Don’t narrow your options from the beginning. Explore your options and try different positions. See if you like it and find out if you’re enjoying it. It’s a great thing!” Grace may have majored in Economics but she pursued Accounting based on her interests and Co-op terms. For graduating UBC Arts Co-op students, Grace says, “Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that after Co-op you may not be doing what you studied. Do your research on further education. Try different things. “ Grace Mok’s Co-op experience, along with her openness to different opportunities, allowed her to make good contacts and find out what she does and does not want as a career.