Date posted: 12/05/2020

GradConnection's Top100 Accounting Award winner Kevin Surjadi on taking every opportunity

We speak to Kevin Surjadi about his 2020 Top100 Future Leaders Award win, presented by GradConnection, and how getting practical experience can help students prepare for a career in finance and accounting.

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The annual GradConnection's Top100 Future Leaders Awards Night celebrates Australia's top future graduates. The 2020 Sydney event was jointly hosted by GradConnection and the Australian Financial Review.

Aiming to connect emerging talent from Australia's future graduate pool with leading employers in the industry, the awards are a self nomination-based competition offering a unique experience for tertiary students to develop their application skills, communication skills and personal branding.

In 2020 Chartered Accountants Australia New Zealand was the proud sponsor of the Accounting Award, and University of New South Wales student Kevin Surjadi was chosen as the winner.

"I feel so honoured to have received this award, being recognised among peers and by the committee and Chartered Accountants ANZ has been amazing," says Kevin.

Kevin Surjadi at annual GradConnection’s Top100 Future Leaders Awards Night
Kevin Surjadi at annual GradConnection’s Top100 Future Leaders Awards Night

Kevin is in his third year of university, studying a Bachelor of Commerce and Information Systems. He says that applying for the competition was an opportunity to challenge himself and kick-start his accounting career.

"Applying for this competition was a way for me to understand the graduate application process and learn how my experiences can help me stand out as an applicant. I got to meet employers in the industry, network with other students, and understand how to best prepare for psychometric testing," Kevin says.

While completing his degree, Kevin has also taken the time to invest in extracurricular activities to help build his profile further. He's taken part in case competitions and has held directorship positions in societies including UNSW Actuarial Society and UNSW BusinessOne Consulting.

"With every sort of experience, you get to learn something new. The skills that I have taken away from my job in retail, or even interning has provided me with the skills to feel confident interacting and communicating with people in teams. I think that any job is beneficial for you to develop as a person no matter what job you end up with in the future."
Kevin Surjadi, student & Top100 Future Leaders CA ANZ award winner.

For Kevin, the committee positions gave him a glimpse into the competitive nature of business and prepared him for not only applying for the Future Leaders Competition, but also internships and paid roles.

"To get into committee positions, societies often hold mock assessment centres and interviews. Having this pressure early on in university has helped me understand how I could best prepare myself for job interviews, and adapt to the challenges of working in a corporate environment," Kevin explains.

As a current Private Wealth intern at Westpac Group, Kevin says the Future Leaders Competition was also a great opportunity for him to reflect on where he's been to date and how it's helped him get to where he is today.

Kevin Surjadi

Kevin Surjadi

"I worked at Kmart for almost two years, tutored, and have actually interned at three different places," he says. "With every sort of experience, you get to learn something new. The skills that I have taken away from my job in retail, or even interning has provided me with the skills to feel confident interacting and communicating with people in teams. I think that any job is beneficial for you to develop as a person no matter what job you end up with in the future."

Looking to what's next, Kevin says he plans to complete the CA Program to further his studies and build on his knowledge base. He encourages students who may be thinking of applying for the Future Leaders Competition to simply give it a shot.

"I think anyone considering applying should just go for it. For me, the biggest thing I don't want to have in life is regret. And this is reflected in everything I've done up to today. You never know where you're going to get with it, but it doesn't hurt to apply because it may just be what leads you to your next big thing."