Wes WomerBy his own admission, Wes Womer is a glutton for punishment. In nearly every academic and professional endeavor he’s pursued, he’s achieved excellence: He’s got a long list of initials after his name, including a J.D., and he’s still in the early stages of his career. His decision to become a CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) came only recently, and it’s already paying dividends.

After graduating from Butler University with a B.S. in Accounting (cum laude), Wes began his career at Johnson & Johnson in New Brunswick, N.J., where he was selected for the elite Financial Leadership Development Program (FLDP). After two years at J&J, during which time he earned his CPA, Wes next took a position at Body Shop of America as a senior financial analyst. He spent two years there before moving to Stanley Black and Decker, where he served in various finance and operations roles for eight years. It was while he was at Stanley Black and Decker that Wes continued his education. He had considered getting an MBA, but a mentor he knew from Butler advised otherwise: “He told me to get a law degree instead. He said it would expose me to the legal elements of business, and he was right.” Wes earned his J.D. from Indiana University in 2015, graduating cum laude; that same year, he also got an LL.M. from Alabama University, graduating summa cum laude.

The decision to finally earn his CMA came around the same time. He had been working in operations for several years and wanted to return to finance and accounting. He realized that earning the CMA – which he had heard about both at J&J and while he was an undergraduate – would be beneficial for refreshing his skills in those areas.

To prepare for the exam, he followed a methodical study plan. “It was simple math: I calculated how much I needed to study per week to reach a total hours goal by the test date. Each week, I made sure I hit the target.”

He passed both parts of the exam on the first attempt, and he acknowledges that having a CMA was likely one of the factors that helped him secure his current post at BraunAbility, where he is a financial planning and analysis manager, reporting to the VP of finance for this $600 million global manufacturer and distributor.

Not content to stop there, Wes was also among the inaugural class of CMAs who took the CSCA® (Certified in Strategy and Competitive Analysis) exam last September. He admits that strategy is an area he’s always enjoyed – “It’s what can get you ahead in your career: the ability to help an organization make critical decisions” – and he again followed a careful study plan. Most helpful? Reviewing sample answers for the written section.

His efforts paid off handsomely: He was awarded the gold medal for achieving the highest score of those taking the exam that testing period.

Those hurdles behind him, Wes has set up another one for himself: He’s currently pursuing his M.S. in Data Science at Indiana University, a program he expects to complete next summer. “Data Science is clearly where the world is headed,” he explains. “It’s like statistics on steroids.”