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Fast Track to the CMA

By Pierce Kohls, CMA
June 1, 2016
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Though I originally went to school to become a pharmacist, in my sophomore year I ran into a beast named organic chemistry. I was struggling to maintain the C average that I needed to pass the class when I realized that if I were going to be doing this for the rest of my life it shouldn’t be so difficult. A friend thought I would be happier in accounting because I was “good at math.” It was time for a change.

 

That first semester as an accounting major ended up being the highlight of my college years. School was suddenly fun and enjoyable, whereas before it was stressful and felt like work. Accounting just clicked with me, and I am sure that many of you reading this can relate to that feeling. During all of my “fun,” though, I also learned that there are a lot of accounting majors but a limited number of job opportunities; that was where the CMA® came into play.

 

I am an ambitious individual, so during my junior year of college I spent a lot of time trying to figure out a way to make my résumé stand out to employers. I came across something called the CMA, and, after doing some research, I learned that I could actually sit for the CMA exam while I was in college. In my eyes, this was my golden ticket to landing the job that I wanted, not to mention a great way to put me on the fast track to where I wanted to be in 10 years. I made up my mind right then and there I was going to pass the CMA exam before I graduated.

 

During my senior year of college, I passed Parts 1 and 2 of the CMA exam and immediately put on my résumé in bold CMA (Pending Graduation & Work Experience). This was a great confidence boost for me, as I was just starting to apply for jobs, and in May 2014 I landed an interview with Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing. I remember being so nervous for that interview, but I went in there and told them all about the CMA and how I had passed the exam. I truly believe that was a big factor in their offering me that job and in my securing the position I have today.

 

Earlier this year, I was promoted (at 23 years old) to accounting supervisor at TENTE Casters, an accomplishment I also credit to IMA® and to the CMA. The CMA not only made me extremely employable, but it also prepared me with many practical tools and skills for success. By getting involved in and contributing to IMA’s Annual Conference Program Committee and the Young Professional Leadership Experience, I have been able to continuously develop those soft skills that every leader needs.

 

The chance to take the CMA exam during college was a huge jump-start at the beginning of my career. It was the highlight on my résumé that I expected it to be, and it put me on the fast track to where I want to be today.

 

Pierce Kohls, CMA, is an accounting supervisor with TENTE Casters, Inc. You can reach him at pkohls@tente-us.com.
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