UTS PhD candidate, Thi Ngoc Ha Bui (Ha) is the winner of the UTS Insearch Alumni Prize for Semester 1, 2019 and she is already making her mark in the accounting world.
The presentation of this prize is a highlight of every UTS Insearch graduation ceremony, when the sum of $5000 is awarded to a member of the alumni community, so they can further their goals. The winner is chosen based on demonstrated excellence in their professional or academic career.
This prestigious award marks Ha’s eleventh year in Australia. It has been a period of remarkable achievement since she first arrived in Sydney as a shy teenager from her home in Hanoi. Ha recalls two reasons she and her family decided she should begin her studies at UTS Insearch, the pathway to UTS.
The first reason was her Auntie Huong, who had already come to Sydney to study and suggested it to her father. But there was a second reason. Her parents had already decided overseas study would be good for their daughter. She says, “I think, possibly because I was very shy, and an introverted person, my father said, ‘Okay, it’s time for you to open up and be more independent.’”
She thinks her father was probably right. “I feel like when you have no other choice, you have to learn to walk by yourself. That’s what I learnt.”
From Diploma to Undergraduate degree, Masters and PhD
Ha’s study journey began with five weeks of English at UTS Insearch before commencing a Diploma of Business. It was the perfect environment for Ha to develop her confidence. UTS Insearch has a robust framework of support services which are tailored to meet the needs of every student, whether it’s an international student like Ha, adjusting to a new education system, or local students needing extra support to get to UTS.
Learning Support Programs, one-on-one tutorials, study skills workshops, and full-time Study Success Advisers are all readily available to students through their programs which are designed help students succeed at UTS.
There’s no doubt that Ha thrived in this supportive environment, and she went on to complete a Bachelor of Accounting with First Class Honours at UTS.
Her first job after graduation was as an accounts clerk, and after a year she returned to university to complete a Master of Accounting and Finance degree. Ha has started her a PhD in Accounting at UTS, and is working part time for a global provider of corporate governance services to institutional investors
Learning to speak up
“I didn’t actually know about the Alumni Award until Vinh Tran, the Business Program Manager said he was thinking of nominating me. I was so surprised when I won. It came out of the blue. I certainly didn’t know anything in advance.”
Ha has stayed in touch with Vinh Tran from her first class at UTS Insearch, when he was her teacher for Statistics and Accounting. She remembers being the one in the class who kept asking questions. “I was very curious about things and when I didn’t know anything I just kept asking.”
Ha believes that learning to speak up is a big factor in her success. “You have nothing to lose,” she says. “If you don’t speak up when you don’t know something, you will never know the real or correct answers. I was shy, but I knew that if I didn’t ask, I would never know.”
She also thinks honesty is vital, whatever your path in life. “I think you must really be honest with yourself. Know your real passion, what you want to do, who you want to become. Be genuine with the people around you, and just be honest with yourself.”