|Josefina García, CMA, CPA
|Green Circle Projects
|Director of Accounting
How did you first come across the CMA and what made you decide to go for it?
I first heard about the CMA credential after completing my undergraduate work (~2008-2009). I felt my degree was not fully portraying my abilities and potential as a professional accountant. I wanted and needed something that proved my aptitudes to others.
Several years later, I met a professor, Dr. Olen Greer, who is an avid supporter and spokesperson for IMA. He encouraged all of his students to attend a local conference, the Heartland IMA Educational Conference. At that conference in 2015, I received the CMA Scholarship and I set a goal to complete the CMA program before the next conference. When the 2016 conference came around, I got to wear the CMA ribbon on my nametag.
- In what ways do you think the CMA has impacted (or will impact) your professional journey?
Before pursuing the CMA, I had worked as an accountant for more than a decade. I had two undergraduate degrees, was a very capable problem solver, and was an excellent employee. However, all these positions felt limited to general accounting without decision-making power.
It wasn’t until I earned my CMA that I felt like I earned my spot at the table. I have proven myself and can back up my work with a credible and tangible measurement of my abilities.
- What is your proudest career moment or milestone as a CMA?
Shortly after earning my CMA, I was received a dream job offer to become the controller of a well-established private company. I didn’t apply for or seek out the position. The company owner had witnessed my work, known that I had recently become a CMA, and approached me about the job. It felt amazing to be validated for the knowledge I have gained through education and professional experience.
- What’s the best piece of advice you would give to CMA hopefuls?
Go for it! I only regret the years I spent working and not being able to reach my full potential because I was nervous about pursuing a certification.
I remember downloading a sample lecture of a CMA review course sometime around 2008 and thinking that it was WAY over my head. It was as if the lecturer was speaking another language. I say this to point out just how intimidating it could be. I was so overwhelmed that I stopped my pursuit completely.
So, yes, it can seem insanely difficult. But like so many other things in life, as you move forward with it, you’ll become more confident. What’s best, you’re not alone. There are always resources and people around to help if you get stuck.
- For those taking the exam, what study tip(s) can you share?
As a single mother with a full-time job, I felt my CMA experience was definitely a demanding one. My tips are:
- Set time aside to study. Truly ASIDE. Two good hours of focused study will get you significantly further than a full day of attempting to review materials while sitting at the kitchen table or trying to juggle family or friends and household chores.
- Find YOUR learning style. And DON’T commit to it 100%. You will be covering a lot of material, so don’t be afraid to change things up if a particular study method isn’t working for you. I changed my process several times throughout my review. It helps break out of the rut and also confirms your understanding.
- Use ALL the resources available to you. Don’t limit yourself to review courses alone. Use anything and everything on top of those review materials. For example, I used sites like Investopedia to gain clarity on some items.
Also, don’t forget to use the materials from IMA once you register for the exam. The packet they provide will have sample questions that will be worded differently than the ones in your review course. You will also find questions on the IMA social media pages. Those were always fun to see and encouraging when I saw my peers from all over the world give the questions a shot.
- If you could have one superpower in the world, what would it be?
To alter time – either stop it all together (to prevent catastrophes and, yes, get extra sleep), slow it down (to enjoy more of a good moment), or fast forward it (to get to the weekend faster!).
Teleportation would be a close second because getting to the beach at 5 p.m. on a Friday the moment I step outside the office would be fantastic.
Share YOUR Story
We’d love to hear your CMA story! Please contact Margaret Michaels, manager of brand content and storytelling, at firstname.lastname@example.org or (201) 474-1614.