I joined IMA in 2016 after working for several years as an accountant at an international manufacturing company. One of my college professors held the CMA designation and always spoke highly of it. Although I enjoyed my job and role within the company, I’d always wanted to go above and beyond and explore the CMA myself.

After researching the certification more closely and attending a few chapter meetings in Portland, Ore., I confirmed that the CMA was exactly what I was looking for. It was perfectly relevant to my job—especially in areas such as budgeting and performance management—and would bring me added credibility and expertise. My employer thoroughly supported my preparation for the exam, and I passed both exam parts in one year. As I’d anticipated, I was able to immediately apply the knowledge I’d obtained.

After I’d earned the designation in 2018, I was promoted to supervisor—an example of the promise that the CMA opens up new career opportunities. A year later, I earned the CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis), which helped me see the business as a whole and communicate across the company. Being the only member on my team with a certification, I was then able to encourage my colleagues to pursue the CMA themselves, which proved to be a great way for me to show leadership in the organization.

More than merely being valuable at work, I had gained the confidence to pursue another step of my journey: joining the MBA program at The University of Hong Kong. As China has seen a meteoric rise on the global stage, I wanted to learn about the culture and business environment there firsthand, as well as develop Chinese language skills in addition to my Japanese.

With the world getting smaller every day, I believe venturing out of one’s comfort zone and meeting new people will become of increasing importance. Since moving to Hong Kong in 2019, my CMA has been a great topic of conversation while at student and professional events, mainly because of the international reach and notability of the certification. I’ve been able to attend local IMA chapter meetings and network with many professionals throughout Asia, which has been an enormous benefit as an MBA student and traveler.

IMA has given me numerous opportunities to volunteer and give back, for example, by participating on the Technology Solutions and Practices Committee and attending local college events as an IMA representative. I’m also an IMA Campus Influencer, part of a great program that brings the message of the advantages of IMA membership and CMA certification to college students, and was recently selected for the IMA Young Professional Leadership Experience.

Earning the CMA has really been just a start for me, and I look forward to continuing with IMA and as a CMA for many years to come.

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