Chin Howyan glides gracefully through the pool, each stroke purposeful and determined. For him, swimming has always been a way to overcome resistance and move forward in life, one stroke at a time. As an alumnus of Kolej Tuanku Ja’afar (KTJ), Howyan credits his love towards swimming for instilling in him the values of resilience and persistence that have shaped his character and outlook on life.
Building a strong fundamental
Born and raised in Kuala Lumpur, Howyan completed his O level and A level at KTJ in Mantin, Negeri Sembilan, where he developed a strong foundation for his future endeavors. He went on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in accounting and finance at the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. Upon graduation, he assumed the role of audit associate in Ernst & Young (EY) in Southampton, one of the “big four” accounting and professional services firms.
Despite the demanding nature of his work at EY, Howyan chose to undertake the challenging professional qualification in accountancy offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW). This prestigious qualification requires not only passing the necessary examination papers, but also completing practical training with an ICAEW-accredited employer.
Incredibly, Howyan achieved this extraordinary feat between 2014 and 2016, while working in EY.
Due to his dedication and hard work, Howyan was catapulted to a senior management position at EY in London, the financial hub of Europe. He specialises in financial services, particularly in risk and regulation. Howyan considers his decision to undertake the ICAEW qualification while working a major commitment but one that has paid off in his professional growth and success on theinternational stage.
None of it would have been possible without the strong foundation he developed at KTJ.
Embracing multifaceted interests: Howyan’s days of discovery at KTJ
KTJ’s emphasis on international exposure and early development of social skills has been instrumental in Howyan’s career trajectory. He fondly recalls thecamaraderie and valuable friendships he formed during his time at the school.
The British boarding school concept upon which KTJ is structured – with different houses named after members of the Negeri Sembilan royal family – encourages healthy competition and fosters teamwork among students.
Unleashing leadership potential: reflections from KTJ
Howyan was an active participant in sports and cultural programmes during his time at KTJ. Leading his house swimming team, he trained his friends and won an inter-house competition, an experience that taught him valuable leadership skills. “That was the first time I’ve ever felt that I was actually leading a team and coaching people,” Howyan says, describing it as one of the most fulfilling and memorable moments he had in KTJ.
He also participated in the choir, danced in a talent show, and auditioned for a band. These activities provided him with an opportunity to relax and unwind, a crucial skill in the high-pressure finance industry in which he later serves.
Exeter: The humbling journey and triumphant return to success
Howyan’s journey at the University of Exeter was a rewarding yet challenging experience. Despite feeling humbled in classes surrounded by those he deemed smarter than himself, he remained determined not to fall behind. Focusing on his weaknesses, he worked diligently to improve his performance. While facing a few setbacks in his first year, he overcame them with sheer determination and ultimately passed his exams.
As he reflects on his experience, Howyan advises others to push through and persevere, assuring that results will eventually come to those who put in the effort.
Exploring a new sport
The University of Exeter, a renowned sports university in South England and Wales, provides a variety of extracurricular activities, including the traditional British sport of rowing. Despite being a swimmer, Howyan took up rowing as a new challenge, understanding the importance of stepping out of his comfort zone and expanding his perspective.
Howyan places great value on engaging in extracurricular activities as they help cultivate vital qualities of resilience and discipline, which have proven crucial to his professional growth.
He views each new challenge as an opportunity to grow as a person and sees his diverse interests and experiences as the “x-factor” that has accelerated his career and given him a sense of fulfillment in life.
“Don’t be afraid to try. Don’t be afraid to fail.”Chin Howyan
Howyan’s story is a testament to the power of resilience, persistence, and the willingness to take risks and step outside one’s comfort zone. He advises others not to be afraid to try and fail, as each failure is an opportunity to learn and grow. With his strong foundation and diverse experiences, Howyan continues to make waves in the financial industry and beyond.