My journey toward an accounting and finance career began in childhood. My father always involved me in fun simulations that required finding solutions to business problems. These brainstorming exercises were a lot of fun, and they helped me realize that I had a strong affinity for this type of thinking as well as good business acumen.

While working toward my bachelor’s degree, I also learned about the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program and was thrilled to discover the way the program blended management with accounting. I’d often find myself exploring the IMA® website, which is how I first learned about IMA’s Student Leadership Conference (SLC). I attended SLC in 2017 in Houston, Texas—I was the only student from India in attendance. The three days I spent there networking with people from around the world and attending various sessions on forensic accounting, ethics, and many other topics enriched my trust in IMA’s core values even more than before.

When I returned to school, I used the knowledge and experience I gained at SLC to help my fellow classmates and became a student leader at my university. Along with earning the third-highest grade on my university exams, I also was recognized with the “Best Outgoing Student” award, given to the graduate who excels in both academics and extracurricular activities. After graduating in April 2019, I took and passed both parts of the CMA exam in May and June 2019.

In late August 2019, I read about IMA’s Young Professional Leadership Experience and was impressed by the magnitude of the experience IMA was offering to its younger members. Being passionate about growing through empowering others, I put my heart into my application and was ecstatic when I was selected as one of the five young professionals to participate in IMA Global Board and other meetings in Amsterdam in October 2019.

As part of the experience, we contributed ideas to two panel discussions with IMA committee members, and we attended the IMA Global Board of Directors meeting. It was a wonderful platform from which to network with all the Global Directors and gain valuable leadership lessons. Being the youngest professional among an erudite group of members will be a memory that will last a lifetime.

With an overwhelming journey so far, I consider my commitment to IMA as the foundation for making an impact on the lives of others. As a 21-year-old, I look back at the past five years of my life with a deep sense of gratitude and a strong conviction to empower many other young members of the profession to fulfill their aspirations while earning the CMA.

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