|Francis Rosellini Brillantes, CMA
|Frontrunner Financial Consultancy
|President, General Manager, Co-Founder
|Quezon City, NCR, Philippines
How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?
The CMA first came to my attention in 2016 when a staff member confided in me about her plan to undertake the CMA study program at Insights Financial Review Services. It was an opportune moment, since I was exploring ways to enhance the value of our company and among these was letting members of our team earn globally recognized accounting and finance designations.
The CMA fits the bill of being a prestigious, U.S.-based certification that could potentially be acquired in less time than a Master's degree. Plus, it has the added benefit of being known for the challenging manner in which it is obtained. To set this plan in motion, it seemed suitable that I, the most senior officer, should rightly go first. After some inquiries, we learned that I was qualified to take the exam, and so I quickly signed up for it – to prevent me from procrastinating and to serve as an example to everyone on my team to start preparing for their own study programs.
- In what ways do you think the CMA has impacted (or will impact) your professional journey?
Instead of being a capstone to my studies, earning the CMA has marked the beginning of a more serious journey towards additional professional development. Having passed this very challenging exam has emboldened me to finally decide to undertake a Master's program in finance. I also believe that the CMA has cured the apparent handicaps I had in my accounting background. It is a concrete validation of my experience, knowledge, and skills and thus has given me more confidence in my work as an accountant.
- What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?
It would have to be when I formally announced to my team that I passed both parts of the CMA exam. To say that they were equally happy and proud is an understatement. It was a sign to them that they were next in line to achieve this milestone.
- What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?
My advice would likely apply to students and recent graduates who have decided to undertake the program early in their careers: Don't fret it. If someone like myself, whose knowledge of accounting and finance has gotten rusty over the years, managed to pass the CMA, then a recent graduate has a better chance of earning it. Take advantage of the freshness of your studies and let that be a source of your confidence. However, always be careful of over-confidence and its tendency to blind you to potential pitfalls.
- For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?
Given its cost, the CMA exam should not be taken lightly and one should not underestimate its difficulty. My study plan included spending 8 to 12 hours per day going through two or three full-scale exam simulations. My purpose was to condition myself to endure three hours of the multiple-choice question portion and to be able to finish the exam with no unanswered item in less than two hours with a minimum score of 90%. Because you would probably get to a point where practice problems would be recycled, I would recommend subscribing to more than one set of study materials or programs. A practical piece of advice would be to avoid drinking too much coffee before the actual exam: I learned this the hard way.
- If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?
Hands down: Telekinesis. Just think about it.
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