IMA Life: Enjoying the ChallengeBy
After studying economics and business administration at the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, I entered the professional world via the rotational Finance Leadership Development Program at Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Shortly after beginning that program, I heard about the CMA®(Certified Management Accountant) certification at a mandatory training session held at J&J’s New Brunswick, N.J., headquarters.
J&J has long emphasized the need for continuous development and places tremendous value on the CMA certification. As a young professional, I’ve found that becoming a CMA has helped me build a strong foundation in accounting and finance thanks to the certification’s business relevance and hands-on content.
I took Part 1 of the exam in 2012 during my rotation in the UAE as a commercial analyst. Wanting to complete both parts of the exam quickly, I took Part 2 soon afterward while a senior financial analyst at J&J’s DePuy Synthes in Neuchâtel, Switzerland. Having the flexibility to take parts of the exam in different locations was a critical factor in my successful performance. Proper discipline and time management also were important.
The information I learned from the CMA exam has accompanied me during my young career where I’ve worked in sales and marketing finance, manufacturing accounting, and financial compliance. The transferability of knowledge I’ve acquired as a CMA has helped me build a strong finance background and has set the stage for the next step in my career.
After becoming a CMA and spending several years in financial compliance, I decided I wanted to get back closer to the core of our business in a role with increased responsibilities. As a business leader, I believe that building credibility with internal and external stakeholders through sound reasoning and impactful actions is paramount. Moreover, in today’s ever-changing landscape, maintaining and developing your skill set is critical. Thus, deciding to earn the CSCA®(Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) credential, which I did in 2018, was an easy choice.
I took the CSCA exam for many reasons, most notably because its content seemed like a perfect match with my career aspirations and professional development needs. In addition, I’ve always enjoyed acquiring new knowledge and challenging myself.
Whether we’re talking about competitive analysis, business strategies, or risk management, most, if not all, of the topics on the CSCA exam are highly relevant to my daily responsibilities and provide me with a “toolbox” to deliver deep financial insights and drive our business forward. To help me prepare for the exam, I used the IMA Strategy and Competitive Analysis Learning Series®. The video format of this online course, plus the extensive question database, made learning easier and the workload manageable next to my other commitments.
I’m now the senior finance manager, Partnerships and External Supply, at Janssen Pharmaceuticals in Zug, Switzerland, and I keep involved with IMA by attending local events or encouraging others to do so. I’m also privileged to contribute to the content of the CSCA exam as a question writer, a task in which I take a lot of pride. I’m so glad to be a CMA and CSCA!