IMA LIFE: A MULTIDIMENSIONAL CAREER PATHBy
I once had an interviewer ask me about a time when my work didn’t translate into financial reward but I learned a lot in the process. I paused for a second and thought of my leadership experience in IMA®. I’ve been involved with the IMA Indianapolis Chapter for several years and have held leadership roles in the last few. I’m currently serving my second stint as chapter president, and the exposure and experience have been truly enriching.
The local chapter offers unique opportunities to meet new people, listen to great ideas, and stay current on industry trends. While it’s true that these objectives can be achieved remotely via technology, we can’t disregard the value and importance of human connection. The valuable experience teaches strong career-sustaining skills, including how to attract new members, marketing strategies, staying updated on topics that could help with career growth, how to strategically manage a team, how to work and be resourceful with budget constraints, and how to keep members motivated and be able to influence them.
I’m fortunate to have a diverse work experience. I’ve held mid- to senior-level roles in manufacturing, investment management, healthcare, education, and start-up companies. My natural inclination is to find methodical solutions to complex problems, to look for process improvements, and to work toward maximizing efficiency, productivity, and cost reduction strategies. Earlier this year, I decided to take my passion and experience to the next level and pursue a credential that would add value to my work and make my résumé more marketable and internationally recognized. My extensive research led me to the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification.
The CMA was more attractive than other certifications in accounting for several reasons. First, it focuses on three important pillars: performance, strategy, and management. Since I’m naturally predisposed to thinking critically—looking at the bigger picture first to see what strategic role each piece of the puzzle plays in an organization—it made sense to pursue the CMA to add further value in that space. In addition, it offers growth potential. The exam covers relevant material to suit industry needs. And since it’s an internationally recognized certification, the CMA opens many doors, such as its strategic ties with the Institute of Cost Accountants of India (ICWAI).
As a member of IMA’s Indianapolis Chapter, I sometimes give presentations to students who have expressed interest in the CMA. During these meetings, I’ve realized that few students are aware of the CMA, and many aren’t encouraged to pursue it. The gap is because of “perceived value” vs. “real value” with other designations. What I found interesting, however, is that not everyone has the desire to take the traditional public accounting career path after graduating. Many students would like to chart a different territory, and the CMA can help.