A Chapter in My Life: The Road to Becoming a Certified Management Accountant

Rhad Vic EstoqueOur school received an invitation from Insights Financial Review Services for the First-Ever CMA Quiz Bowl in the Philippines. The categories included competition for graduating students, non-graduating 4th year students, and Faculty members. The prize included a full scholarship for the CMA exam including the privilege to attend review classes at Insights located in Makati.

This was an opportunity that was too good to pass.

I joined the faculty category of the Quiz Bowl when it was held in March, 2014. By God’s grace I won; but winning was just the first big leap. Despite winning, I could not celebrate much because the pressure became “greater” than ever. More were at stake, proving myself by taking the CMA exams was the next big hurdle.

For me, taking the CMA exams means having myself take an exam on a field that I claim am expert of.  It was a very big risk to take because, personally, my reputation was at stake. The pressure was high, it was a make or break situation. One should understand where I’m coming from. I am a CPA Board Exam Reviewer, undergraduate in-house review coordinator and reviewer, and graduate school teacher in the field Management Accounting and Financial Management. If I fail, there is a possibility that my superiors and future students would question my credibility to teach the subject. Failing was not an option.

To reach greater heights, I had to leave my comfort zone. Risk it all.

Preparing for the CMA exams was the most difficult part. I had to juggle the pressures of work and the demands of studying. You see the nature of my work is a bit complicated. In the university, I regularly teach in the undergrad, perform my duties as Program Chair and CPA Review Coordinator, and teach in the undergrad CPA review. As a freelance reviewer, I regularly teach in CPA review schools in Baguio City and nearby provinces. When I was preparing for the Part 2 exams, I had to go to Thailand for 2 weeks to teach in the Graduate School. And aside from the teaching work, I regularly go to office as a corporate accountant.

First Quiz Bowl Champion_Rhad Vic EstoqueFinding time to study was a challenge. While my students were taking their periodic exams, I would be solving quizzers while proctoring them. All possible free time that I had was devoted for studying. No more watching television and hangout nights. It was either I worked or I studied. Self-discipline and time management were the key. If you want to achieve your dreams, you have to sacrifice; and sacrifice a lot. Time was a scarce resource when I was studying, so studying using the right materials was a must so as not to waste time.

Accuracy, Speed, and Endurance were the major areas that I had to develop for the CMA exams. Big thanks to Sir Angel for helping me attain them and mentoring me. For pushing me when I got exhausted. For encouraging me when I got frustrated during the time I failed to attain my targets. Sir Angel was very generous enough to provide his resources, the voluminous set of study questions and pre-board exams; the online simulated exams; the audio books that I used to listen while driving; for providing me the proper materials to study.

In addition to the resources provided by Sir Angel, I had to do additional internet research and went back to reading textbooks for further reading. I had to use all possible resources in preparing for the CMA exams. On a personal note, it was better to over prepare.

Insights CMA Scholar_Rhad Vic EstoqueFor me taking the CMA exams was easy. It was easy because I prepared for it. I sacrificed a lot. It was more than I sacrificed for, it was more than worth it. Having the letters CMA added to my name is a dream come true.

But before any of the series of events that led to my journey of becoming a CMA, I prayed first. God planned and placed all the people and resources for me to become a CMA. It was part of His grand plan from the day I was born. It was not by chance, but it was His plan. Right after taking the CMA exams, I claimed the illustrious three-lettered credential “CMA”. I claimed it in God’s name.

To God be the glory!

 

The author, Rhad Vic Estoque, CPA, MBA, CMA, is one of the lead CMA instructors of Insights Financial Review Services. He is currently the Vice President for External Affairs of IMA Philippines, and teaches both undergraduate and post-graduate students in the area of Management Accounting and Financial Management, among others.

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