Fearlessly Destined
Von Jozelle G. Mangibin – CAM, CPA

Destiny is not a matter of chance; it is a matter of choice. Ever since I was a child, I am already a believer of that saying. However, there are things that we cannot control. Some things come unexpectedly which happen to be one of the best in our lives.

Since childhood, I was already active in school, may it be in academics or extra-curricular activities. From elementary to university life, I really enjoyed joining different organizations while keeping up with my academics .

Having the curiosity led me to question and study those around me. When I earned my two bachelor’s degrees in 1) Management Accounting and 2) Accountancy, I went to Manila to review for the board exams. It so happened that I met Mr. Angel Secerio and Ms. Ronie Paras who gave me more details about the CMA Program. Upon learning more about it, I became so interested and consulted my parents who gladly agreed to provide me the resources I needed. It was also a good thing to have availed of the “Pass Now, Pay Later” scheme given by Insights Financial Review Services. I was thankful because it was an opportunity for me to further advance my career.

During my review days at Insights, I always looked forward to attending the review sessions. Aside from the learning I had during my university years and from Wiley Gold review materials, I learned something new and deep everyday. I found the lessons truly enjoyable as it also tackled practical lessons in economics, finance, and accounting. The review became more enjoyable because the review rooms were very conducive to learning. The instructors and people from Insights were very approachable. Sleepless nights and days passed and I didn’t notice my examination days were getting closer. I still continued to study and practice using the review materials I had from Insights and Wiley. The support and guidance I had especially from my family gave me the strength and the will to do my best during the review and exam days.

During the review proper until the present, IMA sends updates, news, and more about the profession and the organization. But one day, a particular email caught my attention. It was an invitation to attend the IMA 100th Annual Conference and Expo to be held in San Diego, California. Deep inside, I wanted to attend that prestigious event. I even jokingly asked my parents if they would allow me to go to the USA if I passed the CMA exam. Luckily, they said yes. However, they told me not to think about it yet, but just focus on the review and exam instead. That statement from my parents made me more motivated to stay on track and do better. Focus, focus, and focus.

Days  passed  and  examination  days  came.  I  was  amazed  because I found myself more prepared than what I expected to be. The preparation was really harder and longer than the actual battle. It took sleepless nights and days to actually prepare for a day or two for an exam.

As I was soundly sleeping, a loud thunder was heard and the rain fell which woke me up in the middle of the night. I could not go back to sleep so I decided to check my email. I was surprised and nervous when I saw an email from IMA with a subject, “ICMA Examination Results”. I could barely click on it as my hands were shaking. Luckily, I passed the exam with a high score. I could not believe that I did it. It was an achievement that I, alone, could not have done without the support and guidance of my parents, siblings, family, friends, professors, reviewers, and Insights. I owe this one especially to God, my parents, and the Insights team.

I finally applied for my visa upon passing the exam so I could attend the event in San Diego, California. Luckily, I had my visa approved. The conference week in June 2019 came and I was really excited to meet a lot of people. I learned a lot from the conference and enjoyed it together with  my  IMA  Philippines  colleagues,  Insights  team,    and  newly  found  friends  from  the conference. It really was a one of a kind experience. Now, as my CMA journey starts, I begin it with enthusiasm, dedication, and courage. Who knows what is up in the future? We’ll figure it out.

Our destiny is not really a matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It may be pre-planned but it is always us who decides on things – whether we continue it or not. Never let fear be a barrier from pursuing what we want.  Some setbacks, when used as stepping stones, serve as challenges for a major achievement. Always strive to do better. For in the end, it will pave way for bigger rewards and ultimately greater things in life.

About the author:

Von Jozelle Galinato Mangibin graduated cum laude in both BS Management Accounting, and BS Accountancy at Saint Louis University batch 2017 and 2018, respectively. She is fond of going places, meeting new people, and learning from her different experiences wherever situated. At present, she is enjoying her vacation in the USA.

Conquering the Impossible
Charissa Espinola – CPA, CMA

Looking back, the thought of having two titles, let alone attaining them in one year, never really crossed my mind. Back then, I was so focused on preparing for my goal to do well in the CPA Licensure Exam. However, I was already aware of the CMA certification through hearing and reading about it. During my last semester in the undergrad, one of my professors reached out and introduced to me the certification. He explained how the title will help me to be m/ore competitive in the global environment and how he can help me in attaining that CMA title. I was hesitant at first and I did not really think it through. In the end, I decided to just go with the flow, do what everybody else is doing as most of my classmates went for it. Without much thinking, I signed up for it.

But then again, the journey was not smooth sailing as doubt started creeping in. Will I be able to pass and meet their expectations? More importantly, will I be able to pay for the fee? As most of us are aware of, the costs for the review and exam registration is not a joke. Gladly, the program that was offered to me made it easier in terms of preparation for the exams and payment scheme.

After braving through the tough CPA Licensure Exam in October 2018, we went straight to the two-week review period for the CMA Examinations afterwards. It was not easy as most of us were already exhausted after the CPALE and the time given to us to prepare seemed too short at that time. It was a tough two weeks as we had to master all the remaining topics in such a short period. The agony of waiting for the CPALE results definitely did not help as the results may come anytime during the review period. Nevertheless, the CPA-CMA review program definitely helped as everything we have studied for CPALE were still fresh and most lessons are still relevant for the CMA Exams. We took the CMA exams the same month we took the CPALE.

Fast forward to December 2018, results came and most of us were ecstatic as we have already achieved our goal of having two titles in one year. Not until I passed that 2-part exam that I realized that it is, in fact, possible.

Just when I thought that God has given me so much blessings already, another news came from Sir Angel that was unexpected. Before the CMA Ball, he told me that because of being 5th placer in the CPALE, I would be awarded a scholarship for the CMA program, meaning all the fees will be waived.  I was overwhelmed and truly grateful as this scholarship did not only help me and my family but it also inspired me to always do more and to always aim for excellence in everything that I do.

It did not end there yet. January came and I received another exciting news that I will be awarded a Student Certificate of Distinguished Performance for being one of the top scorers in our testing window and that I, together with the other awardees, will be going to the US to personally receive our awards. Just last June 2019, we went to San Diego, California to attend the IMA’s Annual Conference and Expo 2019 wherein we personally received our awards and participated in the conference’s educational sessions.

I am truly delighted and thankful to God that I was given so much more than what I aimed for. I wouldn’t be able to achieve all this without the help of Insights team, especially Sir Angel and Sir Cabug, and my family who have been very supportive of me all throughout. To all aspiring CMAs, you’ll never know it is possible until you try. Dream big and do your best. It’s not going to be easy, but that does not mean it is impossible.

“Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars.” – Norman Vincent Peale

About the Author:

Charissa Mae S. Espinola is a magna cum laude graduate from the University of Santo Tomas with a degree in Bachlor of Science in Accountancy. She earned her CPA credential in October 2018, obtaining the fifth highest score of 90.17%. Also in October 2018, she took the 2-Part CMA examination and was awarded the Student Certificate of Distinguished Performance award for earning the second highest exam score among students who took the examination worldwide. She currently works as an external auditor in one of the Big Four accounting firms.