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IMA Life: The Ingredients to Succeed

By Milana Erlikh, CMA
May 1, 2022

Spending my childhood in Kazakhstan as the country experienced impressive economic growth has had a tremendous impact on my life and career.

 

It was a challenging but also very exciting time when international companies entered the Kazakhstan market in the early 2000s and completely altered life for many of us. A high school student at the time, I became interested in the way businesses are run, and I discovered that I liked working with numbers. So, both the new economic environment and my interests inspired me to pursue a career in accounting. After graduating college with a bachelor’s degree, I landed my dream job with a major production company. I started as a budgeting and reporting specialist and was promoted to manager after several years.

 

As someone responsible for management accounting and budgeting, I know it’s important to keep learning and to ensure that my skills and knowledge are up to date. It was that drive to develop in the profession that led me to IMA®. I first came across the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification while searching for a comprehensive professional program. I wanted to further my knowledge and gain more insight into management accounting. And the CMA was the perfect fit.

 

I became an IMA member in 2018. My company was incredibly supportive of my plans to gain a professional certification and funded my pursuit of the CMA. One year later, I had successfully passed both exam parts and earned the certification. I was over the moon when I got my final passing scores!

 

I feel proud to be a member of IMA. Not only has it provided me with skills and knowledge that I apply every day in my work, but it also has given me opportunities for personal development.

 

In 2021, I was among five members selected for the IMA Young Professional Leadership Experience (YPLE), a program that provides a firsthand look into the inner workings of IMA’s Global Board of Directors and committees. Through this program, I’ve met talented, smart, and fascinating people from all over the world. One of the best elements of the program is that it gave me the opportunity to learn by example and attend, virtually, the Global Board meeting in Denver, Colo. My fellow participants and I also worked on a group project and presented our ideas to IMA senior leaders.

 

Another valuable aspect of the YPLE was the board buddy program, which matched each participant with a mentor from the Global Board. We talked about career plans and shared inspiring stories and experiences. It helped me to draw up a personal development plan with clear goals.

 

I truly enjoyed the program and strongly recommend young professionals apply for it. It opened many doors for me. Thanks to the YPLE, I’ve had the amazing opportunity to work with IMA on a research project about climate risk. For more than a year, we have been interviewing professionals around the world about their internal processes related to climate risk and environmental, social, and governance practices. Through this project, I’ve uncovered skills I didn’t even know I have.

 

I’m grateful for the opportunity to explore areas that are important to me and to keep growing and creating positive impacts. IMA has given me all the ingredients I need to succeed.

 

Milana Erlikh, CMA, is a reporting and budgeting manager at Efes Kazakhstan and a member of IMA’s Kazakhstan Chapter. You can reach her at milana.erlikh@gmail.com.
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