IMA® (Institute of Management Accountants) celebrated a historic milestone in September: Thirty years of the CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) program in Europe. The milestone is not only historic for IMA Europe but for all of IMA as well, because when the program was first introduced in September 1991 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU Amsterdam), it was one of the first CMA preparation courses outside of the United States. 

The VU was the first course provider in the Netherlands to recognize the importance of an internationally recognized certification, and the VU has continued to offer review courses over the past three decades. This partnership between IMA and the VU has enabled generations of finance professionals in the Netherlands to remain up-to-speed during their careers by learning about all the new developments via the ever-changing CMA curriculum.

The CMA review course program at the VU was started in large part thanks to the initiative of Professor Dr. L. Traas, at the time the head of the Dutch Register Controller program at the VU, who believed the Netherlands needed an internationally oriented certification program. For a historic perspective, check out this article by Robert H. Mars, CMA, published in the April 1992 issue of Management Accounting, predecessor to Strategic Finance, and appearing on pages 56-57.  


To celebrate this important milestone, IMA held a special in-person meeting of the Amsterdam Chapter at VU on the evening of 16 September. During this event, Dr. Elbert de With received the 2021 Leading Influencer for the Management Accounting Profession Award for his long-time service and dedication to IMA, the CMA, and the management accounting profession. Rob Mars was awarded the IMA Service Award, in recognition of supporting the value of the CMA (see photos below). 

New VU  New VU 2

“It was incredible to celebrate this accomplishment at the first in-person event of the IMA Amsterdam Chapter since the COVID outbreak,” said Brigitte de Graaff, CMA, CSCA, president-elect of the Amsterdam Chapter, IMA Global Board member, and VU Ph.D. candidate. “We are proud of this milestone, and we are looking forward to many more years of the CMA program at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam.”

The event also included reflections on the CMA program in the Netherlands, the current state of the CMA and IMA, and the state and future of the profession of management accountants. It also was an opportunity to introduce the new Amsterdam Chapter Board members and for members to network with each other, as it was the first in-person event in a long time. Featured speakers included de Graaff; Alain Mulder, senior director, IMA Europe Operations; and Jim Gurowka, CAE, IMA senior vice president.

To commemorate the occasion, IMA President and CEO Jeff Thomson delivered his remarks through a recorded video presentation.

For more information on CMA review courses at VU, please visit