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Graduates earn top marks in national accounting exam


by Stephanie Kang

Two graduates of the University of Toronto Scarborough’s Bachelor of Business Administration program have earned top scores in a grueling national accounting exam set by the Canadian Institute of Chartered Accountants (CICA).

Lindsay Chu of Scarborough scored the coveted gold medal in CICA’s Uniform Final Evaluation (UFE), achieving the highest mark of the 1,393 people in Ontario who wrote the test, while Thomas Gingras of Markham was among the top 15 in the province. More than 3,000 candidates across Canada took the exam in order to become chartered accountants. The success rate in Ontario on the exam is 68 per cent.

Management professor Sandra Daga said she was excited to hear the news about the students. “I was thrilled for Lindsay and Thomas — it’s a great honour and just goes to show how well our U of T Scarborough students are doing.”

Chu and Gingras each earned a BBA in 2006. They became friends in their third year of university at U of T Scarborough and both joined the Management and Economics Students’ Association (MESA). Chu, a management co-op student, served as president of MESA in her graduating year.

Coincidentally, both graduates started working at Ernst & Young, considered one of the world’s Big Four auditors, on the same day in September 2006.

The two said they were pleasantly surprised with the results. Chu stated that “no one ever leaves that exam with a good feeling,” while Gingras added, “I was pretty much convinced that I had failed.”

Gingras added, “I was expecting the exam to be horrendous, and coming into this job, I thought this would be the worst year of my life, but once I started working and revisiting those things from university, I realized how much I had actually learned.”

Both Chu and Gingras said they had not initially planned to go into accounting, but that it “just kind of happened.” Chu stated that “accounting really leaves the door wide open for you” and Gingras added that accounting provides an exciting challenge for him.

Chu also pointed out that rather than competing as graduates for a spot in an accounting firm, the firms compete with one another to hire students, particularly those with the top marks. 

They reject the notion that accountants are boring. They argue that many accountants have dynamic personalities, which Chu said is representative of the new generation of accountants. Daga agreed, saying interpersonal skills are much more important in this field as the demand and competition for chartered accountants increases.

In addition to their dynamism, both Chu and Gingras said they are well rounded in their interests, adding that they enjoyed their humanities electives at U of T Scarborough. Chu said she really enjoyed her English courses, while Gingras says that if he had not gotten into business, he would have pursued history.

Both students said they had an excellent educational experience. “U of T Scarborough prepared us really well. Our technical background is so strong because it was engrained in our heads,” said Chu. “The professors here genuinely care and keep tabs on their students after graduation.”

“My professors at U of T Scarborough taught me everything I needed,” said Gingras.

Daga said that everyone in the management department is very proud, and she added that management professor Terry Litovitz, who passed away from breast cancer in March 2005, would also have been very proud.

Stephanie Kang is a third-year English student. She is currently working as a co-op student in Marketing & Communications.

© University of Toronto Scarborough