(This story is sponsored by Langara College.)
For Michael Lister, senior associate of assurance and digital accelerator at PricewaterhouseCoopers, the “big a-ha moment” came a year and a half into his education at Langara College.
“I was taking many classes in another subject but didn’t see a clear career path for my future,” explains Lister. “My dad has a strong business background and after speaking with him, I realized that with my analytical mind and inherent skill set, accounting and finance make a lot of sense.”
Lister graduated from the Langara School of Management (LSM) with a BBA (Accounting) in 2019 and having recently passed the required final exam, will receive his CPA designation this year. He credits Langara with beginning his path toward reaching this milestone.
“My [high school] grades weren’t great. Langara has a lower entry barrier in terms of both grades and tuition. I saved a lot of money getting the same level of education [as at university],” Lister says. “From the CPA perspective, Langara satisfies all the requirements and sets you up for success in the industry. For those reasons, I knew I wanted to finish my degree at Langara.”
Lister adds he appreciated the college community’s collaborative, rather than competitive, environment. “Not only are class sizes small, the number of students in each program is also relatively low. You get to know your instructors and others in your program very well. When your classmate gets recruited into a big firm, you’re genuinely happy for and supportive of them.”
“I’m still in touch with a number of my instructors,” he says. One instructor he worked with closely is Ronald Wong, who mentored Lister to consecutive wins at Langara’s annual Accounting Case Competition and a team of Langara students to a top three finish at CPABC’s Annual Business Case Competition. Lister recalls, “[Wong] volunteered a lot of his time outside of class and on weekends to prepare us for that competition. It was a wonderful experience.”
He also fondly remembers being involved with student clubs such as Langara’s Business Association and Accounting Club. He describes both as “great mechanisms allowing students to apply what they are learning in the real world and meet professionals working in industry.”
“Langara is a close-knit community of students who have opportunities to form good relationships with instructors,” says Lister.
The Langara School of Management is hosting an information session on Tuesday, May 24. To learn more and to sign up for the upcoming information session, visit www.langara.ca/bba/.