I passed the preliminary stage, but I couldn’t get past the intermediate stage even after several attempts. Meanwhile, I continued to gain practical experience by working in an audit firm, where I learned about vouching, data entry, reconciliation, and internal controls.

As a result of this perseverance, I received an offer from Hewlett-Packard (HP) for a cost analyst position in 2012. I gained a lot of knowledge and experience there as I worked on a global team that was based out of Houston, Texas. During this time, I also pursued my master’s degree in commerce.

In 2014, my U.S. peers introduced me to the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) certification and pointed out that my work experience as a cost analyst would have more relevance with it. After some research, I saw that the work I was involved with, which was all about cost management, risk management, and performance management, made up nearly half of the content for the certification. It seemed like a fit.

When I decided to start my CMA journey in 2015, I realized that this was going to be a tough task. I quit my position at HP so I could study full-time for the CMA exam. Things became tougher, but I practiced hard and motivated myself by running and meditating to keep my mind calm. It was a really stressful phase in my life. As I kept studying, my scores steadily improved, but I always came up shy by about 20 points. Still, I knew I was close; I wouldn’t quit. I practiced so much that I sometimes knew the answer even before working a question out. I was that familiar with the concepts.

I received great support from everyone at IMA, particularly from Amy Leuc, ICMA® senior office administrator, who helped me in extending my CMA entrance fee. I also was very fortunate in receiving enormous support from my family and friends who worked to ensure that I didn’t give up on my goals. When I finally passed both parts of the CMA exam in 2017 and 2018, it was a dream come true.

It’s important not to get demotivated by past failure, as it’s often where success is hidden. Other people’s opinions shouldn’t influence your individual decisions too heavily; we all pursue our goals differently. I now actively participate in IMA’s Chennai Chapter and manage the chapter’s Twitter account. I am working as a freelancer for Chegg, Inc., guiding students across the globe in solving case studies pertaining to U.S. GAAP and cost management, and I’m looking forward to what comes next.

There is no replacement for hard work. My secret is simply that I keep trying.

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