Looking ahead

Chong Hau Ong

6 minute read

Growing up in Kuala Lumpur and attending a local college, Chong Hau (Christopher) Ong had quite a change ahead of him when he decided to study at The Australian National University (ANU).  

“I went to an international school, where I completed the Cambridge General Certificate of Education, Advanced Level. Needless to say, transitioning from the British education structure to an Australian curriculum was a shock to the system,” shares Chris, who is graduating with a Bachelor of Finance, Economics and Statistics (Honours) (BFES) from the ANU College of Business and Economics (CBE). 

Ahead of his journey to Australia, Chris took time to learn and enjoy some activities at home, before settling into his university studies.   

“I took a gap year before coming to Canberra and taught myself to cook, interned at an investment bank, and volunteered at a pet shelter because I love animals,” he recalls. 

When selecting a university, unique program options and scholarship opportunities motivated him to commit to ANU. 

“The BFES degree really interested me because it allowed me to apply my love for mathematics into its three disciplines. I was also drawn to its built-in honours program. Being able to do research on a topic that hasn’t been studied before and write a thesis in one of the three disciplines appealed to me,” Chris says. 

As a recipient of the CBE International Undergraduate Scholarship, Chris found that ANU afforded him the flexibility and freedom that he deemed extremely valuable to his student experience.  

“My scholarship helped take the financial burden off my parents. I was very glad to not to have to put that kind of pressure on them. Not needing to work also meant that I had more time to focus on my studies and hobbies. It allowed me to take full advantage of university life, by meeting new people and trying new things,” he explains.  

Nevertheless, Chris’ studious nature meant he appreciated structure and diligence when it came to his study routine.   

“I found it important to organise my week to stay on track. I tried to attend every lecture and watched recordings when revising, or if I didn't understand certain concepts. I would also attempt tutorial questions before class, so I could get the most out of them,” Chris notes. 

I have certainly broadened my horizons. Spending the last year on my finance honours project was very rewarding, as I thoroughly enjoyed the research process.

As he looks back on his time at CBE, it is clear he has many learning highlights, some of which include his honours project and tutoring position.   

“I have certainly broadened my horizons. Spending the last year on my finance honours project was very rewarding, as I thoroughly enjoyed the research process. Working closely with my honours supervisor, Dr Qiaoqiao Zhu, was invaluable, as his insights and feedback really inspired me to challenge myself academically. It was also great to stand on the other side of the classroom as a tutor of Corporate Valuations, after being on the receiving end for the first three years of my degree,” he shares.  

Additionally, Chris has formed some other great connections along the way.  

“I've made some of my closest friends studying BFES. I'm glad that I had the chance to learn alongside such amazing people, who pushed me to be a better version of myself. I also met a great group of people through the ANU tennis club, who really helped distract me from getting homesick,” Chris recounts.   

He is now ready for the workplace and to immerse himself in a field he is passionate about – superannuation.

“I'm excited that I’ll commence working at the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation as a Technical Officer in January. I'm really looking forward to staying in Australia and starting my next chapter,” he says. 

The Director of the ANU Research School of Finance, Actuarial Studies and Statistics extends his warmest regards to Chris.   

“It is fantastic to hear that he has had a great experience while studying with us. Congratulations to Chris for all of his achievements, including his Honours in Finance. On behalf of the School, I would like to extend our best wishes for his future career at the Commonwealth Superannuation Corporation,” shares Associate Professor Steve Sault. 

The ANU College of Business and Economics offers an extensive range of specialised programs. Click here for more details.