|Name:||Tony Kam, CMA|
|Company:||Cognizant Technology Solutions|
|Title:||Vice President-Corporate Development (Asia Pacific and Middle East)|
How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?
I did not come from a traditional accounting route, as my first degree was in civil engineering. I started off my career in the brokerage and investment banking industry given my strong mathematic and business analytic capabilities, and I rose through the ranks because of my ability to manage businesses and make impactful decisions. After more than 10 years with various major investment banks, I took on a corporate investment role with Accenture in Asia and was subsequently assigned to various corporate finance roles in multiple countries. It was during this time that my supervisor recommended that I explore the CMA certification for professional and personal development. I am glad my company used this as a talent identification tool. After three years of hard work and discipline, I obtained my CMA certification in 2006. As a CMA, I later became the head of finance for one of Accenture’s largest business units in Asia Pacific (APAC).
- In what ways do you think the CMA has impacted (or will impact) your professional journey?
The CMA gives you an overview of the big picture and into how a company functions. It also provides fundamental skills in corporate finance, reporting, accounting, strategic decision making, internal control, and risk management. And the reality is this: There will be project teams and integrated systems to support and produce financials, as well as dashboard systems that provide endless data in an instant, but the most important component is the human who makes the business decisions and creates additional value based on his or her business acumen and experience. At the end of the day, it’s a person who signs off on the dotted line and is ultimately responsible for the project or the business.
- What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?
First, it was when I was the head of finance, trusted with the value-adding responsibility of working alongside the business unit’s CEO and various country heads to formulate, strategize, and implement aggressive initiatives to drive the APAC business growth and transformation. Second, it’s my current role as the head of corporate development for Cognizant for APAC and the Middle East, where I work to drive inorganic growth for the firm and to make a difference in this crowded business environment.
- What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?
The CMA provides the crucial and essential knowledge and skills for those seeking a corporate career and who want to manage complex businesses and influence corporate decisions. Having technical competencies is essential, but it is equally important to cultivate deep business insights, attitudes and attributes, develop people skills and leadership influence, and at the same time, have the courage to make bold ethical decisions with well-informed data. I found the CMA program prepares a person to become a better corporate leader and trusted business partner, and I have been recommending that my team members also pursue the CMA certification for personal and professional development.
- For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?
Do not study for the sake of passing the exam; learn for the purpose of personal growth and development. Learning starts when you become a CMA. Learn what you need to do well, as it will serve and add value to you for the rest of your career, but do not stop there. To stay ahead of the competition, you need to embark on the journey of lifelong learning, acquiring new competences, and developing your business insights and leadership skills. The best investment is to invest in yourself.
- If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?
It would be ‘wisdom.’ I would love to enhance my ability to make better, wiser decisions based on foresight, ethics, and good moral principles. The power to make wise decisions not only impacts a person’s life but it also influences the work and home networks that surround this person.
Share YOUR Story
We’d love to hear your CMA story! Please contact Lori Parks, IMA staff writer/editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org or +1 (201) 474-1536.