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:

 Pallavi Dalal  Name:  Pallavi Dalal, CMA, CFE
 Company:    Cummins Inc.
 Title:  Account Reconciliation Manager Specialist
 Location:  Columbus, Ind.


  1. How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?

    I’ve always worked in the capital markets. I was familiar with the CMA credential, as I had attempted to pursue the certification a few years ago through the ICMAI (Institute of Cost and Accountants of India), but I didn’t complete it then. Instead, I decided to earn the CMA after nine years of professional experience and after completing my MBA.

    I moved to the U.S. after I got married, and I took a break from work to focus on my family. However, I wanted to keep my professional skills current, as I knew I would someday re-enter the workforce. In the small town of Columbus, Ind., there were very few jobs and tough competition. I knew that I needed something extra on my résumé to stand out. I didn’t want to be categorized into an “accounting role,” nor did I desire to restart my career in public accounting. The CMA certification appealed to me, as it focuses on business analysis and strategy as well as corporate financial management.

  2. In what ways do you think the CMA has impacted (or will impact) your professional journey?

    In my situation, I wanted to stay in Indiana and work locally to meet family commitments. Having experience working in trade surveillance and stock market compliance narrowed the probability of getting a job in a location where the major employers were manufacturing companies. The CMA helped me make the transition to a new sector.

    Gaining the CMA has broadened my skill set, increased my confidence, and furthered my career opportunities. When I was selected for the job I’m in today, I know I was picked because of my CMA. This certification is very much valued in my organization.

  3. What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?

    Passing both Part 1 and Part 2 on my first attempt was my proudest career moment. It was a big moment for me and my family. All my hard work had paid off. When I started studying for the exam, my son was about two years old and when I finished, he was three and a half. I had to manage a household and also take care of a toddler. My family provided a lot of assistance, and I want to thank my husband and son for their help and support during my CMA journey.

  4. What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?

    Patience, persistence, and perseverance are critical for anyone on the CMA journey – they are the true keys to success. The CMA exam is tough and challenging, but focus, discipline, and commitment will help you achieve positive results. The certification will not only boost your confidence but it will also enhance your résumé when applying for jobs.

    The CMA gives you the opportunity to be involved with IMA. I joined my local IMA chapter, which allowed me to attend many IMA events. This provided me with networking opportunities, and I got to know people from the organization where I am now working.

  5. For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?

    Prepare a study plan and follow the schedule regularly. I decided on how many hours I would be able to study during the week. I made the best use of my local library and studied on the weekends too.

    I selected the Gleim Review System. They have test simulations, and you can see the average time you're taking on questions. Reading through all the study materials helped a lot in understanding the concepts.

    The multiple-choice questions can be confusing and complex, thus the importance of practice exams/test questions. They were a huge help. After reading one section, I took the practice tests and repeated them until I got more than 80% correct. Cover the entire syllabus and don’t omit any section or chapter, including ethics. Also, don’t avoid the essays. They are very important and make a significant difference. Get used to the calculator.

    After I passed Part 1, I started studying for Part 2. I would not recommend delaying between the two exam parts. I registered for the exam just a month before I took it and only when I was very comfortable and sure about attempting it.

  6. If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?

    I wish I could go back in time and watch my son grow up all over again. Time flies too fast.

Share YOUR Story
We’d love to hear your CMA story! Please contact Margaret Michaels, manager of brand content and storytelling, at or (201) 474-1614.