I began to think about what my career was like at that time and the reasons why I became a student member. When I joined IMA, it was simply because I was drawn to management accounting in college and thought membership in a management accounting organization would look good on my résumé. Once I became a member, I really enjoyed reading Strategic Finance and Management Accounting Quarterly. As I worked full-time while I was in college, I found this printed material from IMA to be very relevant to my daily job duties. The truth is, however, that I never really took advantage of everything that IMA had to offer students.

IMA_Student Cert-2

If I could go back in time and tell my younger self all the ways that IMA can benefit students, the list would be quite long. For example, IMA now has more than 100 student chapters, which, as we saw in last month’s Back to School issue, provide an atmosphere for students to develop and display leadership skills among their peers, something that is highly demanded and sorely missing in today’s job market for accountants.

Also, IMA’s Annual Student Leadership Conference, which takes place in November, offers a fantastic opportunity for students to get together for a great time of learning, networking, and downright fun! I really wish I had taken the time years ago to attend this event.

In addition, the ability for students to take and pass the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) exam—the gold standard for certifications for management accounting around the world—while they are still in college is something that many students aren’t aware of. I know that I wasn’t. Taking this challenging, respected exam as a student indicates to employers a certain level of drive and ambition as well as technical skills. As a CFO today, this is the type of person I’m looking to add to my staff.

Last, IMA is always developing new ways to help students along their career path. Some recent initiatives are the IAHS (IMA Accounting Honor Society), to recognize top students in the accounting field; the IMA Leadership Academy, to help ­students strengthen their soft skills and leadership skills; and the new CareerDriver tool students can use to assess, diagnose, and enhance their competencies. IMA continues to innovate to help our students build their skills and enhance their career. Students, we are here to support you during your journey from the college classroom and beyond.

Please share your thoughts at bmulling@imanet.org.

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