Reaching My Canaan!

Pic_Edrei H. Bergado - GradAiming for something and achieving it whatever it takes is what every person would like to do but, circumstances and possibility of failure always come with it.

Most of my classmates shared our heartbreaks from not making it to the BS Accountancy program until the end (hey, they are now CMA Passers too!) so I will not elaborate much about my painful past. To summarize those bitter moments of my college life, I also experienced brokenness and failure because I fell short. I also felt heartaches and bitterness that was caused by a particular grade requirement.

So here it goes. After my 2nd year in BSA, I shifted to BS Business Administration major in Management Accounting so most of the subjects that I’ve taken were credited and carried through. The effect on me as a student was that I became a normal student studying just for the sake of passing. The drive to excel and the eagerness to compete with the best went down the drain. I just wanted to graduate and that’s it.

Everything changed because of an orientation that introduced us about the varying professional certifications and titles that we may pursue after graduation. Call that specialization, if you will. And one of these which interest me the most is the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) title. I really got motivated. I knew at that very moment that this title would mean a lot to my future career. Right after that, I told my parents about it and right away, they agreed to support me.

The CMA Review course started immediately after graduation in May’15. We first prepared and started reviewing the topics for the Part 2 examination. I was not used to studying for about 4 to 5 hours a day so I really had to force myself to face those thick review materials that were provided to us by Insights every Mondays to Saturdays. I preferred studying alone behind our house whenever we didn’t have our review sessions, a place where I was able to focus with what I was doing.

Time came when we were asked whether we would take the Part 2 exam on June or take both parts on September and October. I couldn’t decide that time because I didn’t want to give my parents another failure so I decided to take it on October. However, someone convinced me to take heart and believe in myself that I could pass. I was convinced and did study even harder. I always prayed to God for wisdom, knowledge and perseverance. Thank God I made it!

Part 1 of the CMA examination was another story. It was tougher than I thought. I really had bad times reviewing those topics maybe because most of them were taught during my second and third year in college, not as fresh as the coverage in Part 2 (Financial Decision Making). There were moments that I really doubted that I would be able to pass the examination. I was discouraged. Then one Sunday, our pastor preached about the twelve spies in the book of Numbers, chapter 13 and 14. It’s about God telling Moses to send 12 leaders to spy in the land of Canaan. After 40 days, they went back and reported to the congregation. They reported that the land was flowing with milk and honey; however, the people dwelling in the place were strong, the cities were fortified and there were also giants that they may encounter if they push through. Because of these, the whole Israelites were discouraged and they decided not to occupy the land. Out of the twelve, Joshua and Caleb still encouraged the people to occupy the land because it’s flowing with milk and honey. The two focused more on the prize. That made an impact in me! I continued to strive even harder and whenever I felt frustrated, I told myself that I want that ‘land that flows with milk and honey’ (CMA). The day of examination came. I was not nervous and I didn’t know why. I prayed before starting and thank God, I finished the multiple choice section and reached the essay part. While waiting for the result, I continued to pray and trust the Lord with His plans in my life. I removed all my doubts and put my trust in Him.

November 12, 2015, the good news came! Guess what, the average kid that once struggled badly is now a CMA Passer! All the Glory belongs to our Lord Jesus!

One door in my life had closed but another opened and it led me to where God wants me to be. I felt disappointment and I almost lost my dream but God has His own ways on how to lead me to my Canaan, where He will bless me abundantly even more than I could ever imagine.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank my parents, my inspirations, my professors, church mates, my family, those people who believed, and of course Insights.

If you feel like quitting, you can turn on this quote: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'” -Muhammad Ali

 

About the Author:  Edrei H. Bergado, CMA, is a BSMA graduate at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas in May, 2015. 

Thumbs Up!

Grad pic_Jan Michael GeneralDifferent people have different goals, accomplishments, disappointments, and circumstances. But for several days now for most of my classmates, we celebrate one thing in common, OUR VICTORY in the CMA exams – the dream, the journey, and the realization.

Looking back, I could still clearly see, hear, and feel what transpired in our battle against the giant and the loud throes of the people who were behind our backs, pushing us to go further to show the best of us as we conquer. The efforts and sacrifices we made were not for nothing as we graciously accomplished something that would give us recognition not just here, but around the world.

I entered the CMA Program and took the examinations because I wanted to have the competitive edge of having those three letters after my name. So right off the bat to make use of the student rate, me and my parents discussed about the CMA credential and registered for the program right after. During the CMA review, I felt nervous because I had no confidence in myself that I would pass, so I drilled myself reading the materials and answering the questionnaires. I realized then that I really had to focus, sacrifice time, and endure sleepless nights. I made friends with coffee and energy drinks again, but even with all that, I still felt the pressure. What eased my weariness were words from our instructors and lots and lots of prayers. I told myself that negativity won’t help CMA candidates pass these tough exams. The only choice was to be positive and have confidence with our knowledge, our efforts, and with the materials provided to us by Insights.

I took the Part 2 exam last June and Part 1 last September. It was August when the results from the May – June testing window was released. I passed and, modesty aside, earned the highest score among the Insights CMA candidates who took the June exam. It was very uplifting and scary at the same time. Uplifting because passing one part was something to celebrate, and scary because the next part was drawing closer and I did not know whether I would pass the CMA exams on my first try or not. 4 o’clock in the morning of November 12, I woke up to see the results… I PASSED!!! I was speechless with the blessing so I just went to my parents’ room and gave them big thumbs up plus a grin on my face. It was really early but it’s as if it was mid-day because of the energy from the good news. After a while, I suddenly felt the urge to sleep. That day I slept my most peaceful sleep in months!

The exam was hard, and to prepare for it you need to work harder. But now that I cleared it, it was definitely worth it!  Waking up early to read and answer materials, staying up late to review for the coming assessment, and preparing ourselves before attending class lectures. Now, I am finally a true professional fresh out of college with a title to take pride on! I can finally give my deepest gratitude to everyone who gave their unwavering support without reservations. First and foremost, God, whose grace lead our prayers to reality, our school and professors who introduced us to this wonderful opportunity and prepared us well to be triumphant in this journey, the CMA instructors who gave their patience and time to guide us, our batch mates, families and loved ones. Thanks to Insights Financial Review who provided the platform that guided us each step of the way.

I am forever thankful that I can proudly say I belong to a league of excellent accounting professionals. I will wear the seal of excellence, the CMA designation, and use the knowledge and the skills acquired to becoming a formidable asset to the workplace God has destined me to be.

To the next candidates, do your best! Don’t take the exam for granted. Keep up the pace and nail it! God bless us all!

 

About the Author:  Jan Michael General is a BS in Management Accounting graduate from De La Salle University – Dasmariñas in May, 2015. 

Gasat – My CMA Story

Rvee1I wanted to become CMA.

This is my story.

The journey had been tough but satisfying and in hindsight I realize how blessed I have been in so many ways than I can imagine. I am thankful everyday.

I wanted advancement and it wasn’t by chance that I took the CMA exams. It was a conscious and deliberate choice. So much so that after the research I had done on the certification process, I only had to select whom I wanted to share the experience with.

I remember the first day I messaged sir Angel. The numerous questions and conversations. All of my queries and requests so generously answered.

I aim to continuously better myself, who doesn’t? Wanted to excel. I wanted to confirm what I thought I knew and that taking the exams would be the validation.

Taking the exams is easy. You just have to be on attendance. Sit on a chair and finish the exam. But, the preparation has always proved to be difficult. The road to success isn’t overkilled with signs that tell you how to do studying right. It does not spell out how you are supposed to do stuff. It just shows you your options. All of these choices are yours alone. So that when you sit on that chair, you can whisper to yourself, ‘I am ready.’

My preparation for the exams wasn’t at the best of conditions. I am working two jobs. I am an accountant in one of the agencies of the government and I am teaching at the university.

I took the exams each with a 4 month interval. Working like a mad woman. Reading. Practicing from all resources I could find and use, from audio books, textbooks, online resources even old notes from the undergraduate program. There were no weekends. Only precious 30 minute breaks.

I wanted to be sure.

I did not want excuses.

Between reports, preparing exams and lectures and reviewing, I hardly had time for sleep. When I doubted, I reminded myself I can always sleep after the work is done.

Everything seemed to be rushing in all at once. But what are we to do with limited resources? Maximize. Think, trade-off.

I took the second part of the exams on October 2015. While on commute towards home, I received a message from sir Angel asking how the exams went for me. I said ‘better’. I felt better taking the exam. To which he replied ‘alam na.’ At that moment, I realized, this person has not met me. Not once and yet believed I could. For that trust, I am thankful. In its simplicity, another moral. Have faith.

I didn’t expect the preparation to be easy. I knew it would difficult if I didn’t plan well ahead. As the adage goes, perseverance with a plan beats a genius without one. So plan I did. I kept a schedule of what I needed to do everyday, by the hour. To ensure that I did not miss any of my work responsibilities. It sure looked like cramming 42 hours’ worth of work into just 24.

Like some people, I had encountered my own brick wall. The kind I cannot allow myself to turn my back on. I did not want to let anybody down. I did not want to let me down. This was make or break. A choice between moving forward or giving in. What I proved? That brick wall, after all, did not withstand encouragement, inspiration and discipline.

Most of all, it couldn’t withstand prayer. I prayed to be guided. To be given the strength to overcome. Perhaps it is His way of saying, ‘It is your time.’ To God be all the glory indeed!

We have all gone through different challenges life. For this challenge, I daresay, well met.

At this juncture, I would like to thank sir Angel, the professors and staff of Insights for the brilliant support throughout the review program.

To my mentor, sir Rhad, for continually taking the time and having the patience to accommodate an old student. I cannot thank you enough. I want you to know that part of my confidence during preparation was because you taught me. I had one of the best professors at ground zero. I will always hold high the torch!

To my family.

To my friends.

You have all been significant partners in my journey.

I smile as I look back. It had been one tough but sweet ride. What’s more satisfying is coming out armed with the knowledge that you had done good. This may look like a finish line to some. I’d like to think the road is just panning out.

Today, as I recall everything that had influenced and that had been instrumental to this achievement, I realize that indeed, the time has come.

All the world will conspire to make all your dreams come true.

And conspire it did.

Today, gasat (destiny) has unfolded. I have become Pinoy CMA.

 

About the Author:  Arvee Gaye Trinidad is a BS in Accountancy graduate from the University of the Cordilleras in 2004. A CPA who passed the Philippine CPA examination in 2004, she has recently pursued and completed her Master’s degree, after which she registered to the CMA Program to earn a globally recognized title. Rv is an Accountant at the Cooperative Development Authority and a part-time lecturer at the University of the Cordilleras and Saint Louis University in Baguio.

Onwards!

Grad pic_John Paul GajudoMy name is John Paul M. Gajudo and I am a CMA Exam Passer.

For someone like me, the journey to this victory wasn’t easy. It was full of sleepless nights, doubts, paranoia and my escape was coffee and energy drinks and some stress-relieving pills. But it was all worth it.

Before considering taking the CMA exam, I was a man without a plan. I had absolutely no idea what to do next after graduating. It’s given that I should look for a job. And I somehow “expected” that my job will be difficult, repetitive, but less-challenging. Then Insights introduced the CMA credential to our university. At first, I didn’t know if I should take this opportunity. I highly doubted that I would be cut out for something like this. I never really had confidence in myself and I’ve always doubted my skills. But I took it anyway, thinking “This doubt has to stop.”

It was not easy. Both parts offer difficult topics which will test your knowledge and expertise on them. But to me personally, it was even more difficult because I always compare myself to my friends who are far better than me. Seeing your friends excel in things that you both do will really make you doubt yourself. This was when self-doubt and paranoia kicked in. I honestly think that this was as much as a challenge as the CMA exam. But thanks to some people and some prayer, I took both challenges head on and can safely claim that I conquered both.

I only have two advices to the future and current exam takers. First is to always believe in yourself. No other person in the world can convince you that you can do things that you trust yourself to do. There will always be somebody who will doubt you, even yourself. But, to succeed we must first believe that we can. What the mind conceives, the body achieves. Always keep that in mind and you will be surprised of the things you will be able to do. Second is to pray. It doesn’t matter to whose God you pray or to how many, just constantly pray. Do not pray that you pass the exam. Pray that you LEARN. Learning does not stop until we want it to. So pray to learn everything you need in order to achieve the victory you deserve to receive.

I have no Bible scriptures or inspirational quotes to give you. All I can say is that all you need to do is to believe and pray. And you will be amaze how all things will follow.

To the people who believed in me: my parents, my friends, my love ones, the Insights family and to God, I’d like to express my sincerest gratitude for not letting me believe in my capability alone. You never once doubted what I can do and you’ve always supported me in any way you can. This victory and all of my achievements to follow, all of them are for you.

Success is determined largely by the extent of your desire, the purity of your goal, and your attitude each time you face disappointment.

God bless and good luck to all the future and current exam takers!

 

About the author: John Paul Gajudo is a BSBA major in Management Accounting graduate of De La Salle University- Dasmarinas last May 2015. A member of batch 2 of CMA DLSUD, he took Part 2 in June and passed with excellent score. He completed his CMA run by taking Part 1 exam last Sept, and also passed with a respectable score.

From Rain to Rainbow-My CMA Story

Grad Pic - Katherine Prades“If you want the rainbow, you have to deal with the rain.” – John Green

As a student, failing a subject will make you sad. But what if, you fail the course program itself? Devastated? Disappointed? Felt like it’s the end of the world?

Back when I was in college, I was once a student from the BS Accountancy program. I thought that after five years, I will be one of the graduates of this course and will soon have that “CPA” after my name. I always dreamed that someday, my face will be printed in one of the big tarpaulins posted in our university congratulating me for passing a board exam, but things changed during the following years. Sadly, I was out of the program after my second year in college. Seeing my parents disappointed was one of the most painful thing for me. During those times, I felt that my dreams were already shattered.

But I know God will not let me down after this circumstance. I decided to pursue being an accountant by taking and finishing BSBA major in Management Accounting. During my last year in college, we had an orientation about the opportunities we may face after graduation and one of these is becoming a “CMA”— Certified Management Accountant. It was Insights Financial Review Services Inc. who gave us details on the different breaks that are waiting for us once we got the title. I felt excited when I heard about this credential. I know that being a CMA will give me an edge to the competition we will face once we finished our studies. Aside from my tarpaulin dream, another dream will be also achieved: an extension to my last name that 3- letter credential, CMA. Despite the high costs, my parents still supported me. Just like what business majors said, “High risk, high return.”

After graduation, I started to review. Scanning through the pages of very thick materials, I asked myself if I can really do this. But there is something inside my mind saying, “You can! You will!” After all, we had very good professors in our university who trained and taught us very well in our subjects. I first took the Part 2 exam. Two months of intensive review was given for this part. I felt that the period given was too short for the said exam. But with God’s grace, despite the short period of time for the review, I passed the Part 2 exam last June 29, 2015.

But things were different for Part 1. I admit, this part was harder for me than the Part 2 exam. Although the preparation time for this part was longer than the Part 2, I got really a hard time reviewing. It came to a point that I started to doubt myself for passing the exam. But still, I told myself to not give up. I needed to change my study habits. I practiced answering MCQs and essays.  And with God’s grace, as I look into my results last November 12, 2015 at around 2:30 in the morning, I cried out loud when I learned that I also passed the Part 1 exam last September 30, 2015.

Answering two 100-question exams was the 200 hardest questions for me. Hoping and waiting that after tackling the 100 MCQs the essay section would show (thank God not a survey) felt like forever to me. But every hard question, the hoping and waiting that I encountered, it was ALL WORTH IT. This made me realize, that God did not give up on me. He already knew that becoming a CPA was not for me. He needed me to experience failures so that He can divert me into somewhere He knew would be best for me.

So my advice for people who also want to pursue CMA, give your 100% effort in preparing for the exams. CMA exams are not easy so you need to work hard for it. It’s like courting someone; you need to give your effort in order for that someone to say “Yes!” to you.

Aside from studying, PRAY. Asking guidance from the Lord will help you feel relieved from all the anxieties.

I would like to thank all people who helped me conquer this journey.

First, the Lord, Our Almighty God for always being there for me and for making me realize things through His blessings.

My family, well of course aside from the funds given (haha!), for supporting me in this journey.

Our instructors from Insights, for refreshing my mind and preparing me as I took my road in becoming a CMA.

To Sir Angel and Ma’am Maricar for giving me advices as I encountered problems along the way.

My friends, who stood as my support system as we fought our way through this journey.

And as I end this, I am proudly saying that I, Katherine Jimenez Prades, am already a CMA Passer!

 

About the author: Katherine J. Prades belonged to the class of 2015 graduates of BSBA major in Management Accounting of De La Salle University- Dasmarinas. She’s part of the second batch of CMAs of DLSUD.

Act and It is Possible!

Grad Pic - Arianne Kaye AlvaranI am already a CMA passer!

Today is the first Sunday after I knew that I passed my 2nd CMA exam. I asked God on what story will I be able to share to the future candidates in order to motivate them. Then, He gave me this: “Ask and it will be given to you; Seek and you will find; Knock and the door will open for you. Luke 11:9” I had goose bumps and my heart beat fast, realizing that this verse was really for me and the aspirants.

Way back when I was in college, I never thought that I will still be able to put a 3-letter title on my name after He gave me a verse in a youth conference which reads: “Be ready for whatever comes, dressed for action and with your lamps lit. Mark 16:15”. He let me be prepared because weeks after that, I knew that I didn’t make it in BS Accountancy that let me shift to BSBA major in Management Accounting. I felt like I was a big disappointment. I did my best but it wasn’t good enough. In a blink of an eye, my world fell down and my dreams faded just like that. I couldn’t accept and I was in denial. I was unaware that God has something for me different from what I was expecting.

“Blessing in disguise”. That’s what my cousin told me. I didn’t mind her ‘til I knew that there’s a certification waiting for me, the Certified Management Accountant (CMA).

From Mark, I turned to Jeremiah 29:11. Maybe God has His better plans. I may fail many times or may have a messy journey but that doesn’t prove that I’m a failure and I cannot do what I am capable of. There is a big difference between being a failure and having a failure. For as long as I keep on taking steps and moving forward, nothing is impossible. I just need to TRUST MYSELF, WORK HARD AND PRAY HARDER.

Just a week after our graduation, we started our review for CMA at De La Salle University-Dasmariñas. I was very thankful because we were the first batch to experience the in-house review and almost all of my classmates applied as CMA candidates. Though I hesitated to apply or not as I was afraid of another failure, I just went with the flow. All of my friends took courage, why wouldn’t I?

Thick and heavy books were given. I got excited. I bought my new calculator, study table and even new pens, highlighters and erasers. I even rented a dorm in spite of having our house near the school just to keep away from television, unlimited internet, hangouts with my friends and other distractions during weekdays. Would I be able to read these books for two months with just a 6-function calculator? Would I pass the exam? Spending so much to have this global title, of course I will! I and my friend, my dormmate were strict with our schedule. We managed our time not only considering our review but also ourselves. We should have enough sleep, food and relaxation in order to study well. There’s a time for ourselves, for our loved ones and for God. EVERYTHING SHOULD BE BALANCED.

The day of my first exam came. I was part of the first batch in DLSU-D. I didn’t feel anything. I wasn’t nervous neither excited. Just blank. I didn’t know if it was right but thank God for that! It felt like I was having a practice exam in Makati. I had the focus but just until I heard the keyboards of my seatmates which only meant that they survived the multiple choice questions. I got pressured but it motivated me. I also survived and luckily received the great news on August 12, 2015. I was halfway there!

I still continued what I did to prepare just like the first exam. That time, I realized the advantage of studying in a group. We had question and answer portion every time we felt that it wasn’t clear. I was never hesitant to ask as I always remember a Chinese proverb that says: “BEING A FOOL FOR A FEW MINUTES IS BETTER THAN BEING A FOOL FOREVER.” It helped me a lot.

Three weeks before my second exam, just like before I took the first one, I got sick which led me to pause my review and rest for a week and a half. I got nervous and felt that I wasted those time. I tried to study but I couldn’t. Despite that, I still thank Him that He answered my prayer to keep me from any distractions during the exam day. I was able to make up my missed sessions and answered the exam with focus. A month before I took the exam, I got a message from Him from a basket full of paper verses, He said: “Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock. Isaiah 26:4”. I trusted Him but I knew He always means: DO YOUR BEST AND GOD WILL DO THE REST.

With God’s grace, I passed!

With just a 2-year work experience to complete all Program requirements, I can officially put those 3-letter title on my name.

To the CMA aspirants, everything is possible. God will give you what’s always the best but never forget to TAKE ACTION just like what Luke 11:9 says, ASK, SEEK and KNOCK. To the people who believed in me and helped me all the way to have this wonderful achievement; to my family and relatives who never failed to cheer me up and give a hand through thick or thin; to my friends whom I shared my happiness; to my professors in college who gave us guidance and good foundation; to the Insights family who provided us review to pursue this certification; and lastly, to God Almighty who never failed me, this is all for you!

 

About the author:  Arianne Kaye Alvaran is a 2015 Management Accounting graduate from De La Salle University-Dasmariñas in Cavite, Philippines.