|Name:||Marcel Mehli, CMA, CPA|
|Company:||Oracle Corporation Singapore Pte Ltd|
|Title:||Senior Director of Finance, ASEAN region|
How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?
For most of my career, I’ve been in accounting and finance roles in American multinational companies (MNCs). After becoming a CPA in Switzerland, I decided back in 2006 to further my studies. While researching master’s programs, I came across the CMA. I decided to pursue it for a few reasons:
- Time: Most of the master’s programs required a lot of study time, especially in preparing for the graduation thesis. The CMA program also required a vast amount of reading and practicing time, but it was manageable alongside professional duties.
- International exposure: The CMA certification provides the right curriculum in management accounting and international exposure, which is well-recognized by American and other globally operating MNCs.
- Ongoing continuing professional education: The CMA program requires continued studies each year after earning the certification. This helps one stay abreast in accounting subjects as well as gives the curriculum a unique value.
- In what ways has CMA made an impact on your career or professional journey?
The CMA certification definitely helped me advance my career while applying for both international and senior business finance roles within my company.
Until 2008, I’d spent most of my career in FP&A or technical accounting jobs, including five years as accounting manager at Sun Switzerland. My Swiss CPA very well matched those jobs’ criteria but did not open up further doors. As a CPA, I was seen as a very traditional accountant, understanding all finance aspects of a balance sheet or profit and loss statement. But I wasn’t regarded as a professional who could lead or drive business decisions.
Early in 2008 the CMA certification helped me in my career in two ways.
- First, it gave me further education in driving complex concepts, which allowed me to look at data points more strategically and how they could be converted into better business outcomes.
- Second, when I applied to be CFO of Sun Switzerland, business leaders who interviewed and hired me trusted me based on my knowledge of the CMA curriculum, as well as my different style of approaching various work challenges.
- What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?
I’ve moved with my wife and little son from Zurich to Singapore to take on my new role as senior finance director at Oracle. The CMA and my professional experience have supported me along this journey. There were a lot of uncertainties ahead of us, but this move, from overseeing business units in EMEA to leading those in APAC, widened my horizons. My certification has helped me transition successfully to my new job, especially in terms of managing a diverse region of many fast-growing markets with different challenges in risk and compliance.
- What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?
If you see your career advancing in a management accounting role in an MNC, the CMA track is a good choice. The certification will definitely enhance your CV while applying for jobs. Large corporations have started to centralize many FP&A and technical accounting roles into low-cost centers. Management accountants are required to fulfill a more transformed business finance role, in which consultative advice, business acumen, predictive analytics, and soft skills become more significant.
- For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?
The pass rate of the exam proves that it is not easy for candidates. From my view, the key to success is twofold:
- Candidates must be willing to invest some useful time to go through all the reading materials.
- Practice: It’s all about practicing and understanding the various complex concepts because during the exam, time is scarce and the multiple-choice questions can easily lead to wrong answers.
- If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?
I’d like to have the ability to read the minds of others, similar to Mel Gibson in the movie “What Women Want.” This ability would definitely provide the competitive advantage of being constantly one step ahead of others.
Share YOUR Story
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