Student Ambassador

Meet Azhar Teja - Macc Student Ambassador

Azhar Teja, Master of Accounting Ambassador and Staff Accountant at KPMG, recently completed Year 1 of the MAcc program. Read more about Azhar as he shares why he chose the MAcc over CPA PEP, how the MAcc has impacted his career, and advice for anyone interested in entering the program.

Tell us about yourself!

My name is Azhar Teja and I am currently a second-year student in the MAcc program. As the current MAcc Ambassador, my responsibilities involve representing current students’ voices in the planning and execution of various social and wellness initiatives through the Masters & Professional Programs Office, as well as introducing the MAcc program to new and prospective students.

I did my Bachelor of Commerce at the University of Alberta in the Accounting Honors and Co-operative Education Program. I completed co-op terms both at the Office of the Auditor General of Alberta and at KPMG Edmonton. Seeking to push myself and expand my network, I am currently working at KPMG Vancouver in the ICE (Information and Communications, Consumer Markets, and Entertainment) Industry Group.

A fun fact about myself is that I love the outdoors, and I spend a significant portion of my time hiking with my dog Mowgli and climbing. 

Why did you choose the MAcc program as opposed to the CPA PEP or another accredited university program?

The major reason why I chose the MAcc program over PEP was the opportunity to expand my network by being a part of a classroom setting. I quickly realized throughout my work experience that having a strong network is key in being able to not only find a position in the accounting profession, but also in the ability to develop your skills and open doors to new opportunities. 

Another reason why I chose the MAcc program was because of the leadership development aspect of the course in which I will be able to develop my leadership skills. As an individual who aspires to be a leader in the organizations I am a part of, the skills taught both formally and informally in the MAcc program are invaluable to my ability to grow into future management roles within accounting or any other professional industry. 

How has the MAcc helped you in your accounting career thus far, and what skills from the MAcc program are useful at work or in your everyday life?

One of the major advantages is the ability to go beyond in my work in comparison to my colleagues who are currently in PEP. As I have my evenings and weekends free, I have been able to take on a significant leadership role within my position at KPMG Vancouver. This not only increases my network, but also allows me to further develop my leadership skills. 

In terms of technical skills, I believe the more in-depth approach of the MAcc program allows me to go above and beyond what is typically expected of an individual in my current position. This is true not only for the accounting work itself, but in being involved in other firm initiatives.

How would you describe your overall experience in the MAcc program?

Due to COVID-19, class delivery was virtual over the past term. However, it was very clear that our professors put in the extra effort to make the classes more interactive and meaningful. Because of this, I really enjoyed my first semester despite the virtual environment. 

In terms of being able to expand my network, there were many opportunities to build relationships with my peers, which was invaluable. I was pleasantly surprised to find many students were located all over Canada—including Vancouver—and as I was moving to Vancouver to start my new role, having these connections already formed was a huge benefit.

As we all know MAcc is a very intensive program, how did you maintain your mental health during those 4 months?

As we were in a virtual environment, the main way I managed to maintain my mental health was to ensure that I was practicing self-care regularly. This primarily involved staying active and meeting with friends. I think that building relationships with my peers and having virtual study sessions (that usually turned into socializing) was also a big factor in maintaining my mental health throughout the semester. 

Do you have any advice for anyone thinking about pursuing the MAcc program?

My biggest piece of advice would be to take the time to think about your goals and where you want to be in the next few years, and see if the MAcc program will help you reach these goals.