Sankitha Samaraweera came to Melbourne to study in the Bachelor of Commerce, where he majored in Accounting and Finance. Now, after spending some time in the working world, and beginning his studies to become a Certified Practising Accountant (CPA), he’s returned to Melbourne Business School to pursue the Master of International Business.
Initially, Sankitha considered a move to the United States or the UK for his undergraduate studies, but when it came to making his decision, the University of Melbourne and the Bachelor of Commerce were the perfect fit.
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“I was always interested in coming to Australia, because I have a lot of family here, but what cemented it for me was the reputation of the Accounting department at the University of Melbourne, and the rankings it gets internationally for accounting and finance. I was also fortunate enough to receive a Bachelor of Commerce Global Scholarship, which gave me a fee remission for my studies.”
After finishing his BCom, Sankitha went on to work for a company that produces accounting software for self-managed superannuation. He also enrolled in the CPA program, working through the first three units, before returning to MBS for the Master of International Business (MIB).
“I decided to pursue the MIB, because I wanted to build on the experience I’d gotten from the CPA and my accounting studies and I thought that in this day and age of globalisation, understanding international business is important. It’s an understanding that businesses need to not just grow, but to survive. I want to apply my accounting skills in that setting, looking at business in a broad way. In my undergrad I built a really strong foundation and I learned some fantastic technical skills, and now at the postgraduate level I’m taking on big-picture management skills, thing like communication and leadership skills.”
Sankitha is using his studies as an opportunity to think about the future of work. He’s eager to explore international opportunities, through subjects such as the Global Business Practicum, ideally in Paris. His interdisciplinary focus, and work experience, is also giving him a chance to think about some of the challenges emerging in the business world and what the role of accountants and managers might be in the future.
“The company I work for now has a project that includes working with AI to develop new software for accountants. There’s a lot of fear around this, with the idea computers will do everything in a few years and there will be fewer jobs for accountants, but the truth is you’ll still need someone to drive those programs. If you put garbage in, you’ll get garbage out. What goes in is still a very human decision. I think these programs will make accountants jobs easier, rather than eliminate them.”