IMA Life: My CMA Journey

By Eugene Tan
August 1, 2019

I really got to know IMA® during the Student Leadership Experience at the IMA Global Board of Directors meeting in San Diego, Calif., early last year. It was an eye-opening experience for me as I was exposed to the strong and vibrant community that the association has built over the past 100 years, and it was evident that IMA has established a robust support system for both students and professionals by providing us with the knowledge and skills to succeed in our respective fields.


That experience sparked my desire to pursue the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification. Having caught a glimpse of being part of IMA, I was eager to become a certified member. That journey has been a short yet rewarding one thus far. I signed up to take both parts of the CMA exam for the May 2018 test window and commenced my exam preparation over the next few months. The content to cover for the exam was comprised of both new subjects outside the scope of my accounting degree program as well as overlapping subjects with which I was more familiar.


In my opinion, the exam parts were highly manageable with adequate preparation time and resources. In fact, if you’re currently an accounting student, I encourage you to take the CMA exam right now because you would have a sizable advantage given the academic rigor you’re accustomed to!


To top it off, my university, Singapore Management University (SMU), was instrumental in offering invaluable assistance in my CMA journey with both the provision of the CMA Scholarship and practical advice by my accounting professors. I greatly appreciate all the support they gave me. (See “Developing the Right Skills Sets.”)


I started work this year, and I’m glad that I made the decision to embark on my CMA journey as a student. A globally recognized certification such as the CMA carries significant value in boosting my credibility in the accounting and finance fields. And IMA provides long-term learning and skills-upgrading opportunities through the Leadership Academy resources and other webinars, giving me both a head start and a continual edge as I seek to hone my skills.


In an increasingly competitive global landscape, I saw it was necessary to distinguish myself from my peers. With an undergraduate degree becoming more prevalent and seen as a requirement rather than as a distinguishing factor in hiring, it became evident to me that I had to look for a global credential that was complementary to my accounting and finance degree. The CMA fit that bill perfectly.


The fact that I passed both parts of the exam and will become a CMA after I complete two years of work experience proved to be instrumental in helping me land my first job as an associate consultant at Bain & Company. The journey has just begun for me, but I’ve already reaped significant benefits from the CMA program, and I look forward to many meaningful years ahead with IMA!


Eugene Tan is an associate consultant with Bain & Company. You can reach him at eugenetanjinhan@gmail.com.
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