Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam’s CMA Program Turns 30By
September 2021 marked the 30-year anniversary of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU) in the Netherlands.
To commemorate the anniversary, IMA® and VU organized a celebratory event for September 16, 2021. Elbert de With, the program’s coordinator in 1991, was presented with the 2021 Leading Influencer for the Management Accounting Profession Award, and Robert H. Mars, a board member of IMA’s Amsterdam affiliate in 1991, was recognized with the IMA Service Award.
The development of VU’s CMA program began in December 1989, with support from Lou Traas, founder and coordinator of the Dutch Registered Controller program at VU, who believed that the Netherlands was in need of an internationally oriented program. The program launched in September 1991 with approximately 30 individuals taking review courses for CMA Parts 1 and 2 (at the time, the CMA exam had four parts).
The decision of the VU to focus on an international program was well-timed, coming right before the European single market came into existence in January 1993. With that, the need for finance professionals with a global perspective became particularly urgent. There were plenty of large companies in the Netherlands, such as Shell, Unilever, and Philips—and many with subsidiaries in the United States. Having an international perspective proved to be of vital importance for Dutch financial professionals. The CMA program provided these professionals with new expertise that allowed them to be competitive globally in the field of financial analysis.