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IMA Life: Working Toward My CMA

By Adam Milano
July 1, 2017
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My name is Adam Milano, and I graduated with a degree in accounting and finance from Carthage College in May 2016. I work as an auditor with Deloitte in the Chicago office. In 2016, I completed both my CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) and CPA (Certified Public Accountant) examinations as I transitioned from my academic to professional career. Although I may be finished studying for the exams, I realize that I have much to learn as an IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) member at the beginning of my career.

 

The decision to pursue my CMA certification began in my junior year of college while piecing together my senior year schedule. I fortunately had capacity for classes outside my graduation requirements. My school offers a program to study for the CMA certification, and I decided to take on the challenge instead of taking it easy my senior year. It was certainly a challenging task that required countless hours of study, but I passed both CMA exam parts before starting my job. In total, I completed and successfully passed six exams (two CMA and four CPA tests) within a calendar year.

 

It’s important when studying for the CMA to remain motivated and to set goals. The exam is daunting when analyzed in its entirety, so break each section down to work through everything. Practicing the questions multiple times and taking notes are both critical to improving results. There are going to be sections you are strong with and others that need improvement. In addition, it’s important to practice writing in a business-professional context to prepare for the essay portion of the exams. In the final stretch, it helps to practice in an environment that simulates the actual exam. Doing these things will best prepare you for exam day. A final tip I recommend for studying for the exam is to reward yourself when you have finished the exams. To celebrate, I took a trip after I finished them.

 

One advantage of the CMA exam is that it can be taken while in school. Taking advantage of that opportunity can help set a career on a strong path. The CMA exam also provides networking opportunities with distinguished professionals. These connections are very important, and you never know where they will take you. When transitioning from college to professional work, it’s important to distinguish yourself from other graduates. Having passed the CMA exam is a tremendous way to do that.

 

My mentor and professor, David Brunn, who has his CMA, guided me through the process. He was the one who introduced me to the CMA certification and motivated me to dedicate myself to the task. I can’t overstate the importance of having a mentor to guide you and offer advice. Just beginning my career, I know I’m on the right track thanks to my mentors at Carthage. I wish everyone taking the CMA exam the best of luck. Don’t give up!

 

Adam Milano is an auditor at Deloitte and a member of IMA’s Northwest Suburban Chicago Chapter. He can be reached at adamilano@deloitte.com or (224) 828-0210.
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