MyCMA: Unnamalai Ramanathan
IMA’s “MyCMA” series spotlights valued members of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) community. Learn about their journey with the certification—and get tips on advancing your own. This issue’s featured CMA is:
Share YOUR Story
|Name:||Unnamalai Ramanathan, CMA|
|Company:||Fonterra Brands (Middle East)|
|Location:||Dubai, United Arab Emirates|
How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?
I attended a CMA demo class in Bangalore by Miles Education, which introduced me to the certification. The diverse syllabus and the high passing standard made me understand that only the best of the best will be able to get through this. So at the age of 17, I decided that I was going to do something worthwhile with my life, and I took a CMA course to push boundaries and prove that age is but a number.
- In what ways has CMA made an impact on your career or professional journey?
Everyone was awed when I earned my CMA. It added a lot of value to my studies and helped improve my grades in college.
The CMA certification also gave me confidence while searching for jobs. It definitely made me stand out during my job search. My current employer was impressed by the CMA certification. Being that the CMA is a very hard exam to clear, he was surprised that I had completed it and hired me for the same. I believe over time, it will also be possible to look for a good promotion with the CMA.
- What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?
At age 19, I was one of the youngest to clear the CMA exam. When I passed both parts, I felt wonderful. I was more than happy. All the hard work had finally paid off—a real sense of accomplishment. It made my family, teachers, and mentors proud of me. The CMA was my first professional certification, and I’ve really run out of words to express the feeling!
- What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?
British writer James Allen once said, “Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become.” I wouldn't say it's impossible to attain a CMA certificate; it’s a matter of motivation, discipline, and putting enough hours into it. Just go for it. Focused study, clear understanding of concepts, and discipline are the keys to unlock CMA success. Don’t think twice. Just go for it.
- For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?
- Put yourself in exam conditions and complete practice exams.
- Don't panic before the exam. My technique of staying calm was to watch a few episodes of Ellen before the test. You can also do yoga the day of the exam—take long breaths and try to recall what you have learned. Don’t do any last-minute studying; it only increases the pressure.
- Understand concepts. Do not try to memorize without understanding.
- Reach the exam hall an hour before the exam so you get time to relax and you are not tired after traveling to the testing center. • Eat before the exam because the exam is definitely long. Eating a plantain can help reduce anxiety.
- Practice using the calculator and present value and future value tables.
- Don't skip practicing essays. They are very important and can make a lot of difference.
- Thoroughly understand ethics.
- Do active reading and smart studying. Active reading means highlighting important points in the text. Smart studying means you keep important points for future reference. Use a notebook to track relevant and important points and models.
- One tough question should never turn you down. Flag and come back. Always keep your motivation high.
- Just think of getting the three letters of CMA after your name.
- If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?
Foreseeing the future. This is because I'm really curious about the future, what will happen, how things will change, etc. This superpower would help satisfy my curiosity.
Share YOUR Story
We’d love to hear your CMA story! Please contact Pearl Chen, manager of brand content and storytelling, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (201) 474-1578.