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IMA Life: Learning with IMA

By Jaywardhan Semwal, CMA
February 1, 2022

After completing my undergraduate mechanical engineering degree in the mid-1990s, I started my career in mechanical/automobile engineering.

 

After working in this field for some years, I decided to change my career track from engineering to finance, so I pursued my MBA. That led me to roles in corporate finance, commercial finance, and international banking at several large financial institutions in India and, eventually, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise, where I’ve worked for the past 15 years. Most recently, my career at the company has moved more in the direction of accounting.

 

I still remember the day, in 2014, when during one of my career conversations with my manager, he pointed out that while I have an MBA in finance, I still lacked an accounting certification, which could limit my career progression. That was quite a revelation for me because I’d thought I was amply qualified to build a successful career, and it suddenly looked like that wasn’t the case.

 

From that day, I started my search for a suitable certification program, and, after exploring many options—including the CPA (Certified Public Accountant), certifications offered by CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) and ACCA (Association of Chartered Certified Accountants), and a few local Indian accounting certifications—I zeroed in on the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant). The content of the CMA exam and the fact that management accounting is strategic in nature were some of the key reasons for my decision.

 

I earned my CMA in 2018, and it has not only helped me advance my finance and accounting career but also opened doors for me within IMA®. IMA provided me tremendous opportunity to develop my professional network. I got a chance to serve on the board of my local chapter in Bangalore and, most recently, was asked to join the IMA Global Board of Directors. I’m also able to participate actively in many IMA forums, seminars, and other events.

 

Among the benefits I enjoy most about being an IMA member are the great learning opportunities provided via its continuing professional education (CPE) programs. IMA’s CPE requirement for CMAs, fulfilled through online courses, podcasts, webinars, and more, helps me ensure my knowledge on varied finance and accounting topics is up to date. I’ve found IMA very proactive in understanding the changing business environment and keeping its CPE content relevant and timely.

 

My current role requires intense accounting knowledge, and I feel very fortunate that I could earn my CMA certification and that I got connected to IMA. The knowledge that I gained through my CMA certification and various IMA programs has helped me not only develop myself professionally, but also be a better coach and mentor for my teams.

 

I also appreciate how IMA is always looking to further the accounting profession and be out in front of important issues, such as offering thought leadership on financial controls or taking a leadership role on critical topics like sustainability.

 

I look forward to continuing to learn with IMA, enhancing my knowledge, and taking my career and professional journey forward.

 

Jaywardhan Semwal, CMA, is vice president, corporate financial accounting, at Hewlett Packard Enterprise and serves on the IMA Global Board of Directors. You can reach him at jaywardhansemwal@gmail.com.
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