Success in finding a job abroad as a financial analyst and internal auditor with the Mekong River Commission (MRC) in Laos has helped 33-year-old But Sory expand his world view while rethinking his own ambitions back in Cambodia.
Born in Banteay Meanchey province, Sory completed an associate degree in accounting and a bachelor’s degree in enterprise management before obtaining his master’s in business management.
After stints with both the commercial and NGO wings of trafficking victim support organisation Hagar and volunteering organisation VSO Cambodia, Sory found himself competing against applicants from Vietnam, Thailand and Laos for the position at the MRC.
“I faced a few challenges such as researching what the Mekong River Commission was all about. Then I had to write an impressive cover letter and an attractive resume,” he told Lift.
“On top of this, it was also very important for me to read the job advertisement carefully to really know what the employer needed and what employees had to offer – there had to be at least an 80 per cent match,”
The competition was tough and Sory said to even get a look on such an international posting he had to have an internationally recogonised degree and present himself as an outstanding candidate.
But Sory said a year into the new job he started to realise that the hard work had been worth it and that not only were his working conditions good but he found support from colleagues to overcome challenging tasks.
“I have achieved all the tasks which are listed in my job description,” Sory said.
That doesn’t mean he always found it easy and Sory had to learn to adapt to a different environment.
“I have problems with the Lao language and spicy food. Also, I have to work with people from different cultures. Communicating with them is one of my challenges,” he said, underscoring the importance of learning English.
Sory overcame the challenges and now, after almost two years working at the MRC in Laos, he finds himself comfortably adapted to his new home.
“I can work here [in Laos] because I have relevant knowledge and working experience and especially because of the effort I put into my job,” he told Lift.
“I believe the more effort I put in, the greater success I can get in my job,” he said.
When Sory is ready to return to Cambodia he looks forward to applying the knowledge and experience he has gained abroad, as well as using his new sense of enterprise to tackle his own ambitions back in his mother country.
“When I go back to Cambodia, which could be in the next five or 10 years, I am not willing to work for others, but rather create my own business in finance and auditing consultancy, which fits my knowledge and experiences.”
The multiple degree holder’s hunger for knowledge is insatiable and he is now simultaneously pursuing two more qualifications.
At CamEd Business School Sory is studying to become a certified public accountant while training up at the same time to become a certified internal auditor and join the institute of internal auditors.
These qualifications, he believes, will be integral to his continuing improvement as an auditor.
To other similarly ambitious youngsters Sory has some tempered advice.
“They have to work and study hard, be patient in all circumstances while trying to find a calm way to deal with those hot situations,” he said.
“Young people should not be arrogant or overly proud, even though they are smart and strong. Instead, they should learn from more experienced people. Also, they have to expand their networking and should accept that the English language is a priority.”