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IMA Life: Be Comfortable with the Uncomfortable

By Addison LePere
August 1, 2021

While an undergraduate student at Texas State University, I only ever heard about careers in public accounting—until the day my professor mentioned IMA® and the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.

 

Intrigued, I soon spoke with a professor on campus who was involved in IMA and told her that I would be interested in pursuing the CMA. She immediately recommended me for the CMA Scholarship. This one conversation shifted my entire career path.

 

As a full-time student, trying to find study time for the CMA exam proved challenging. I wanted to pass the exam on the first try because the CMA Scholarship allows students one free take of each exam part. After dedicating a month to studying for Part 1 and with a lot of hard work, I passed. My next step was to find time to prepare for Part 2, which I took about six months later. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to dedicate enough time to fully prepare and, as a result, didn’t earn a passing score.

 

Although failing an exam is never desirable, I’m grateful for the experience. As the vice president of student outreach for IMA’s San Antonio Chapter, I often talk to students about the benefits of IMA and the CMA exam. I like to mention that I both passed and failed part of the exam to show that I’m not perfect and, more importantly, that it takes dedication and focus to earn the CMA. I’m now scheduled to retake Part 2 during the next testing window in the fall of 2021.

 

In addition to taking the CMA exam, I participated in the 2020 IMA Student Case Competition along with three other women from my school. We worked for several weeks getting everything together and spent a few very long days filming our final product, using creativity and knowledge we had learned in our accounting and management classes. A few months after submitting our final product, we found out we had won first place! This was the first time our university had won the competition, so it was a momentous occasion for everyone. This competition was not only a great experience, but it was also a perfect conversation topic for IMA campus presentations and an engaging talking point for job interviews.

 

I have a few things I always like to tell students during campus presentations, but my favorite is: Be comfortable with the uncomfortable because you just might be surprised where it will take you. This philosophy—which prompted me to seek out IMA, the CMA, and the student case competition—enabled me to meet some amazing people and gave me experiences that changed my career path and interests. IMA led me to this point, and by staying active, I hope I can influence other students in the future.

 

Addison LePere is a staff associate at Ridout Barrett & Co. in San Antonio, Texas. She’s also a member of IMA’s San Antonio Chapter. You can reach her at lepereaddison@gmail.com.
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