A Journey that Started with a Dream

We all have different mantras as we fight for our different battles in lives. My journey for CMA was a tough road. All the ups and downs are lessons for us to take and use it in our life.

It all started when we had a dream. I remember when someone asked me as a kid what I wanted to be when I grow up, tons of great profession has come up but one strikes the most. And that is, to be an accountant. Every accountancy student dreams of becoming a “Certified Public Accountant” (CPA) one day, and each day was a challenging one. They have to burn the candles at both ends to meet those expectations and pressures that not only other people have put on but also themselves. Unfortunately, the survival of the fittest had applied in every ground and I was one of the people who didn’t make it. All those “whys” and “what ifs” have come across to my mind because my dream was clear since day 1 that I wanted to become a CPA.

From BSAc course, I shifted to a BS in Accounting Technology. All I thought that I was a disappointment to my family. But as time passes by, I started learning to trust the “journey” even when I do not understand it.

During my second year, I saw a girl (Ms. Zainab Anawari) on a tarpaulin that passed the CMA examination and learned what CMA is all about. Since then, my perception changed. I learned that failure is nothing more than an opportunity to better you.

On my Third year in college, I took the Management Accounting subjects and started my journey as a double major student. I remember when I was about to give up, my father said, “Nak, wish ko lang one day is makita ka dyan” pointing in a tarpaulin of law/board passers. That’s when I started to think that maybe I wasn’t meant to be a CPA. Maybe the title CMA is the one for me.

I began to dream big, study twice as hard and have faith that everything will work. I stand strong to what I believe and battled my way to achieve the title that my family and I dreamed for me.

If there’s one thing I learned from this experience, that is, no one is going to take over your battles for you; they are yours because you were designed specifically for those battles, so keep fighting. We stumble and fall but we should learn to stand up. Setback is an avenue, an opportunity to keep you going and make you stronger. My dream of becoming a CPA has gone, but this didn’t stop me from becoming a CMA. And so should you with whatever goals you’ve been dreaming of.

Have faith in what you believe in; keep on dreaming, and make the effort toward achieving it. DREAM BIG because there are no wrong turns, only unexpected paths that you’ll be thankful for taking the detour in your life.

About the Author: Angelica Louise M. Villarin is a double major graduate of Bachelor of Science in Accounting Technology and Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting of Batch 2018 from the Ateneo de Zamboanga University. She successfully passed the CMA exam last September/October 2018 testing window.

Soaring into the boundless, open sky

A willful bird before learning how to fly fell countless times on solid ground. Likewise, man endures life trials to become successful and wise.

And I, too, have my own story.

Initially, I enrolled in the BS Accountancy program. Everything went well until that one dreaded semester came where many of Accountancy students failed before. Although we all knew that we had to study and work twice as hard than usual, we felt like it was still not quite enough. Despite all the preparations, most of us had a hard time having an excellent mark and eventually, it made us feel demotivated as the semester progressed. Making things worse, I was stricken by chicken pox which took me two weeks to recover from. It may not be the key reason why I did not get satisfactory results but it did evidently contribute to it at some extent. Yet, even after all those things that happened to me, I did not waver that I can finish the race. I still gave my best shot to have a passing grade because at that time, I thought to myself that it was the only path for me to walk on. Unfortunately, I failed to achieve the final grade requirement at the end of the semester and made a decision to shift courses to BSBA Major in Management Accounting.

It felt like the world that I have long been building just came crashing down and suddenly lost its meaning. It pained me even more when I knew that I gave it my all and yet, I did not get what I yearned for. This poignant and unexpected turning point of my life is the reason that I have lost my drive to keep moving forward and caused me to lose sight of my goal: to be a certified accountant. I struggled to pick up my broken pieces and put them back to their right places because it seemed hopeless to start anew.

Until the day came when Insights Review Center conducted a seminar during my stay at San Sebastian College – Recoletos de Cavite, my beloved alma mater. I learned about the Certified Management Accountant Examination and it was as if a new light had been given to me to chase the goal that I have once given up. So once again, I challenged myself to rise up from the rubble and earn the prestigious title. This journey, I knew, was going to be tough but I definitely wanted the CMA title even more.

I had struggles before and during my review as all of us had. I had hesitations and self-doubt; I had grown weary and anxious; I had been disheartened, maybe because I was so afraid to make the same agonizing mistake from the past. I was scared that I will get knocked down again but then, my thoughts kept telling me that I have walked far from where I have been before and that the goal that I was praying and longing for shines very brightly at the end of the road, patiently waiting for my sweet arrival. I also reminisced the love and support of all the people who have walked along with me throughout my journey and have always believed in me, even during the times when I wanted to concede and walk away. And so, I pushed aside all my doubts and worries and braved the grueling examination with courage and determination.

It did not start off easy but I look at what I have accomplished and know that all the misery and disappointment I experienced were worth it. Because I chose not to surrender and continue to pursue my passion, the goal that I have been aiming for is now realized. I know that I still have a long way to actually be able to soar at greater heights and passing the CMA examination is just another new beginning but I do believe that someday I can see the world with my own eyes – looking from the place I truly want to be. After all, I already fell countless times on the ground and yet, I am still eager to learn how to fly higher.

“Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far they can go.” – T. S. Eliot


About the Author:  Juvert Ian S. Retonel is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Business Administration Major in Management Accounting of Batch 2018 from San Sebastian College – Recoletos de Cavite. He successfully passed the CMA exam last September/October 2018 testing window. He is aiming to become an accounting professor with a passionate desire to abundantly nurture the minds of the aspiring accounting-major students.

Determination, Perseverance and Focus

Before I went to college, I initially chose BS Accountancy to be my course. But I faced a hurdle during my second year in college, in which I failed to pass the retention program. The retention program was the test that would decide whether a student will still be able continue in the BS Accountancy program or would be forced to shift to the BS Management Accounting program. I was disappointed when I knew that I did not pass the exam and the retention exam. I was about to change my course, thinking I was not fit to be an accountant. But instead, I took the obstacle as an opportunity to grow and did not let it drag me down. During my first year as a Management Accounting student, I was inspired to do well in my academics and become a Certified Management Accountant primarily because of one of my professors who taught me to think about the logic behind all the formulas and the reason behind such. I have found what I’ve been looking for. He also introduced the CMA exam to me. I never knew that there was a bigger world for accountants where I can grab other licenses aside from the CPA, and the best part was the CMA was a global certification. Due to limited resources, I had to choose between taking the Bridging program and taking the CMA exam. My eagerness to become globally competitive was my driving factor to take up the CMA. I believe that having a globally recognized certification together with all I have gone through college will prepare me well enough for the real world.

But just like any other journey, there were hindrances I had to overcome. At first most students were unsure to take it due to common reasons such as the time and the fee that we all had to invest. Although I was also uncertain at first since I wanted to work right after graduation and had difficulty managing my time, what kept me going was my dream to become a globally competent professional. I consulted several people with regards to my decision on whether to work while reviewing for the CMA exam. One of the people I talked to at that time was the approved course provider of the CMA Program in the Philippines, the Insights Team. They told me that working while reviewing for the CMA exam would be a tough journey, based on  the passing rate for working professionals in the previous testing windows. With that, I took an internship which was less tiring as compared to working full time. I was blessed from the very start because I had family and friend who supported my plans, so all that was left for me to do was my devotion and perseverance to pass the examination.

It was a tough journey. I had to manage my time very well between my internship and the review classes for CMA exam, and the old topics I had to read again, and the various topics that we needed to study by heart. I was about to give up but when I gave it a second thought, there were a lot of benefits I could gain from enrolling for CMA course while taking up my internship. All topics that I learned and discovered in the CMA review helped me in my internship since I was assigned to assess risks and controls in the company I worked for and at that time, I was studying internal controls, which was one of the topics in Part 1 of the exam. I did not have the advantage to study full time, but my edge was being able to apply the things I have studied in the real world. This helped me pass the CMA exam since most of the questions I have encountered were situational; you will be able to answer and appreciate them if you had the experience.

Determination, perseverance and focusing on your end goals, which for me was to become globally competent, are keys to passing the exam. Good luck!


About the Author: Adrian Sarfraz O. Uttoh is a graduate of Bachelor of Science in Management Accounting Batch 2017 from the University of Santo Tomas. He passed both parts of the CMA exam last September/October 2017 testing window. He is currently completing work experience required in one of the top auditing firms recognized globally, doing Internal Audit and IT Audit procedures.

A Journey of Twists and Turns

My CMA story is nothing unusual. In life, there will always be ups and downs. I made my first step towards this goal on the summer of 2017. I was still a student of UST-AMV College of Accountancy then. Having our last semester on the months after, I decided to take up CMA review with the January-February testing window as my target date of examination.

My friends and I have set our minds to become medalists, taking both parts in the same testing window. It was a feat that, during that time, was close to impossible, juggling our academic life with this new goal. With this in mind, we did our best to reach the impossible, studying every day, day in and day out. I have tried different methods, working on index cards, manila papers, yellow pad papers, business pad papers, cellphone notes, notebooks, fillers, handouts, you name it!

From the start of our summer 2017 until January of 2018, I have been studying hard for part 1. My mistake? I completely neglected part 2, with my exam date on the latter part of February.

I took the part 1 exam in January, got out of the testing center, an hour to spare, with full confidence and high hopes that my score would be above 400. After that, I gave my mind a week’s time to rest and relax my brain.

February came, and it came fast. By the first week of February, I am cramming all of part 2 in my head, missing out on writing formulas on index cards, on manila papers, basically everything. All I had time to do was to review the handouts and write on yellow pad papers.

My testing date was fast approaching, and I could not concentrate on studying part 2 because of overthinking, and I keep on feeling that all hope’s lost in being a medalist. I wanted to quit, but on the day of my exam, I pushed myself out of bed and went to the testing center.

I finished the multiple-choice questions in less than 2 hours, and I closed my eyes, hoping and praying that I earned at least 50% score. I opened my eyes and stared at the “continue” button for 5 whole minutes and when the timer said I had 1 hour left for the MCQ, I clicked the button, again closed my eyes and prayed long and hard. I was relieved to see that the exam was taking me to the essay part. I used almost an hour and a half for my essay and believe me, I went out of the testing center still praying for good results.

After some time, results for the part 1 is out, I hurriedly open my e-mail full of excitement just to find out that I was way below the passing mark. I was devastated. I felt like my whole world crumbled. I kept on asking myself, “If I did this bad on part 1, what more hope do I have in part 2?” It took me the whole month to get over it, to the point where I even forgot to open my e-mail when the part 2 results were released. It was 2 days after the release when I realized I haven’t checked the results yet. I opened it and I cried when I saw that I am one-half done with the CMA exam. I passed the tougher Part 2 exam!

I immediately filed for a re-take of my part 1 and studied rigorously. During that time, I marched and graduated college, June 1 to be exact, and I continued studying right after. I took the exam by the end of June, with the thought in mind that this will be my last exam and I will pass the exam this time around. Results came shortly after, and I was glad I passed my retake on Part 2. With just the 2-year work experience I can now claim my right as a certified professional!

With this, I am currently taking up my bridging program in Colegio de San Juan de Letran, not giving up on my dreams, with the thirst for knowledge backing me up.

Every failure I come across makes me stronger and stronger still. My achievements aren’t the only things defining me. These setbacks, and how I manage to get back up on both feet completes the definition of myself. These comeback moments are what makes me who I am, a man of twists and turns, making the most out of everything, and that, is my CMA Journey.

Keep on striving for your goals. If I can do it, you can do it, too!


About the Author: Julian Job Martinez is a graduate of BS in Management Accounting in the University of Santo Tomas. He passed and completed the CMA exam last May/June 2018 testing window. He is currently taking up BS in Accountancy in the Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Intramuros in pursuit of the Philippine Certified Public Accountant title so that he can maximize his potential in sharing his knowledge and expertise in the field.

The Opportunity

I was 4th yr. college at the University of Santo Tomas taking BS Management Accounting. It was a normal day at school. No quizzes, no events, just classroom discussions. I was outside of our classroom when I learned that one of the professors was discussing about the CMA program.

From what I learned, we just have to take an exam prepared to see if we were qualified for what they called back then as the first “Elite Batch”.

A few days after thinking about it, I gave it a try. I spent some nights reviewing the materials given. What’s fun was only a few people knew that I would take the exam.

Exam day came, some of my friends were surprised that I took the exam. Let me tell you that the exam was the first 100 item exam I have ever taken, and it was really difficult. I didn’t expect to get a passing score. I even placed a bet with my friends that if ever I passed I would treat them with pizza.

Back to normal but with a lot of quizzes now. I didn’t expect the results to come out soon because of the workload of the professors during quizzes. Until one weekend morning, I woke up with my phone bombarded with “Congratulations!”  When I learned that I placed first in that list of passers I ran and screamed towards my parents to show them my achievement.

I was happy and most of my friends were happy for me, then I remembered that I had to buy pizza. Anyway, because of the results I was able to convince my parents to enroll me in the certification program.

The journey to be a Certified Management Accountant is a very challenging task. I had to sacrifice some time to do stuff I wanted to prioritize what I needed to do.

The most memorable for me though was my exam month. It was June 2017. My exams were scheduled on the 2nd and 4th week. Our graduation was on the first week of June, so I wasn’t able to enjoy graduation as early as my batch mates did. I remembered sacrificing going out with friends to study every day to prepare for the exams. It was the most challenging thing I did for the certification.

In the end, it was worth it. I received the results in August 2017 and I passed the two-part exam.

Now, I’m a financial consultant of an insurance company and because of my certification I can provide better insight and added value to my clients. I’m on my way to managership and making my family very proud.

To the readers, make it a goal to learn from the certification program rather than achieve the title, it is this way that all your sacrifices and journey will be truly worth it and really useful in the workforce.

Good luck and God bless!


About the Author: Aldwyn Jan T. Gonzales graduated BS Management Accounting at The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas batch 2017. He passed the CMA Examination for both parts in the June 2017 testing window. He is now a financial consultant in one of the world’s leading life insurance companies.

Two Roads Diverged in a Wood

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”; an excerpt from “Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost, a mantra I repeat to myself in times I face life changing decisions. It’s ironic because when I chose the course I would take in college, I took the road most often taken by most aspiring business professionals and lawyers, which was BS Accountancy. But during my journey as an accountancy student, my mantra was put to the test, it was during then that I stumbled upon a road that diverged, and there lies a path less traveled by.

During my second year in college, I faced an obstacle I never knew would change my life, which was to pass the retention program. The retention program was the test that would decide whether I was still eligible to continue in the BS Accountancy program or I would be shifted to the BS Management Accounting program. Of course, when the results were released, I was disappointed when I learned I will not pass, and I was also on the verge of changing my course, thinking a career in accounting was not for me, but life always has its silver lining. During my first semester as a Management Accounting student, we were oriented about the different career paths a BSMA graduate can pursue. It was also discussed then that we can still pursue our goal of becoming a CPA by enrolling in a bridging program, but what really piqued my interest was the Certified Management Accounting Certification. I never knew that there were other avenues and greater opportunities I can grab aside from the CPA license, and the best part was it was a global certification. So, without any second thoughts, I pushed myself to pursue the CMA Certification together with earning another degree in BSA and the CPA license.

Not all roads are smooth, every road has its speed bumps and potholes, and for this journey that I am about to take, there were a lot of obstacles. It was truly a road less traveled by just like in Robert Frost’s poem, because most students were hesitant to take it due to several reasons, but what was most common was the time and the fee that we all had to invest. Although I too was hesitant because I didn’t have the resources and had difficulty managing my time, what kept me going was the excitement of becoming a globally competent professional with the lessons that I will learn through this certification and the people that I will meet. I was blessed from the very start because I had a family who supported my plans, so all that was left was my devotion and perseverance to pass the examination and claim the title of a CMA and CPA.

The journey was tough from the very beginning: the time I had to juggle between my undergraduate subjects and the review, the new lessons and I had to learn and the old lessons that I had to revisit, and the voluminous number of topics that we needed to study by heart. But it wasn’t all that bad, there were also benefits that I enrolled in the CMA course while finishing my BSMA degree. All topics that I learned and discovered in the CMA review helped me in my undergraduate studies and played a major role in helping me pass most of my exams. I also had the advantage of keeping my mind in a state of continuous studying therefore my mind was focused, determined, and I was more diligent in studying for both my CMA review and college subjects. It was going well as my CMA exam was drawing near, but there was one more hurdle that I had to face before I took the exam.

After successfully passing all my subjects and was officially graduating as a BS Management Accounting degree holder, I took the time to pay attention to my health before taking the CMA Exam. I was still in elementary when I was diagnosed with a heart disease, and in my previous visits in the hospital I was doing well, but during the first quarter of 2017 I received news that I did not know would affect my plans. My doctor told me that my conditions had complications and has worsened, which was caused by continuous amount of stress and strenuous activities. I was distraught because my study schedule was affected, the medicines I took had adverse effects, and the news also had a psychological impact which demotivated me.  Due to my present condition at the time, it affected my study performance and my plan on taking the bridging program after my CMA Exam to pursue my goal of also becoming a CPA. To fully prepare myself for the CMA Exam, I had to move my testing window, but I also had to decide whether I let go of my plans to pursue a BSA degree as it could jeopardize not only the results of my exam but also my health. I thought about it thoroughly and even consulted different people to help me in my decision, until I finally made up my mind.

Amidst the challenges I faced at that time I chose to pursue my BSA degree at the same time I was about to take my CMA Exam. I told myself, from the very beginning I took this path I was aiming for excellence and competency, and what more could define that by accomplishing these tasks despite the challenges presented to me. With proper time management, determination, and perseverance, I graduated with a BS Management Accounting degree, passed both parts of CMA Exam last Sept./Oct. 2017 testing window, then graduated with a BS Accountancy degree, and lastly, I passed my CPA Licensure Exam last October 2018.

During all these events, I could say that the CMA course was the best decision I ever made.  I acquired skills and knowledge that gives me an edge as a professional, it opened doors to different opportunities, I was able to meet business professionals from other countries, I was introduced to well known individuals in the Accountancy profession, I got acquainted with the best mentors and leaders in the industry, and I am now a catalyst for Management Accounting, Accountancy, and Financial Management students and professionals in their pursuit to become word class experts in their chosen fields and in becoming future CMAs.

The road I took, as difficult as it was, was the best route I took to elevate my career. I wouldn’t have made it through without the help and support of my friends, family, and mentors, along with the guidance of God. The journey I took may not be one most people would take, but I am thankful I took the challenge and endured every trial I encountered. I journeyed on this path less traveled by with the hope that more and more would find their way here to pave the way for other aspiring professionals, and I am proud to say that I never regret choosing this path. As the poem goes: “I shall be telling this with a sigh, somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I – I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference”.

About the Author: Melosino Melvin Roi Respicio III graduated from The Pontifical and Royal University of Santo Tomas with a degree of BS in Management Accounting of Batch 2017, and at Colegio de San Juan de Letran-Intramuros with a degree in BS in Accountancy of Batch 2018. He is now a Certified Management Accountant after successfully passing the exam last Sept./Oct. 2017 testing window. He took the CPALE last October and is now a Certified Public Accountant. He aspires to help his fellow accountants and also students taking up accountancy courses discover their full potentials and help them reach their goals in their pursuit of becoming successful accountants.