Turning Vision into Reality

During my undergrad years, I was really thinking about getting another certification aside from the CPA. I wanted to differentiate myself from my batchmates. I did not want to be ordinary, I wanted to be someone different from the rest. I was really planning on getting the CMA certification because I really loved the management advisory services subject during college. The professors were good and they always made things interesting and I think that it was a factor on why I chose the CMA. They made me join accounting quiz bowls including those related management advisory services. I heard from my seniors that whoever wins the MAS quiz bowls will have a scholarship for the CMA exam but unfortunately for our batch, there was no such scholarship.

After my graduation and after passing the CPA board exam, I somehow forgot about the ambition of taking the CMA examination. I was thinking that I should just pursue the CPA path and forget about my other goal which is becoming a CMA. But somehow, I met Josh, the director for IMA Southeast Asia and Australasia, during my CPA oath taking. He talked me into being a CMA and the opportunities ahead of my young career. I can do many things by being a CPA, but the opportunities ahead of me if I become a CPA and a CMA will grow exponentially. One thing that pushed me into taking the certification is that it is a globally recognized certification which will really help me in the future.

I was quite hesitant at first to take the program because of the costs and I did not want to seek help from my family members but after a phone call with Sir Angel Secerio he provided a flexible payment plan and that’s when I decided to take the program last February 2018. Right from the get go, he told me that there is a huge chance that I will be able to go to the US if ever a bag an award for such exam. That really motivated me to do well in the exams.

Being able to balance work and studies is not an easy feat. I was always out of town for work and was not able to attend much of the reviews but the Insights team was very supportive of me. They would email me materials so that I can study more for the exams. They would let me take exams to test my abilities and if I am ready for the exam which really helped me prepare better especially for the essays since I am used to the multiple-choice questions in the board exam. I had an end in mind while preparing for the exam, by December 2018, I should already be a CMA passer. No matter the struggles in work, I always made it a priority to put in at least 3 hours per day on weekdays and 8 hours during weekends to study for the examinations. Repetition and a lot of reading has been tactic and covering as much materials as possible.

My thought process during those times was to study more to reap my benefits in the future. Looking back last December 13, one of my goals has been ticked off and better yet, I earned the gold medal. I am very thankful to Josh, Sir Angel and the whole Insights team, because without them, my dream of becoming a CMA will remain as that, a dream. My family also has been very supportive since day one. And most especially, I thank God for blessing me with this feat. With the right dedication, prayer, support and a little bit of luck, anything can happen. To aspiring CMAs, whenever you experience failures, don’t ever give up. I have personally experienced failing many times and I chose to get up. It has become my mantra that a setback is always a setup for a comeback.


About the Author: Maaku Saito is a magna cum laude graduate from the University of San Carlos in Cebu City. He earned his CPA title back in 2017, passing the tough May 2017 CPALE with a rating of 91.83%, the fourth highest in that examination. He is currently working in the most prestigious accounting firm in the Philippines.

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