What Doesn’t Challenge You Won’t Change You
Joan Joyce U. Garcia – CPA, CMA

I always believe in the saying that “If it doesn’t challenge you, it doesn’t change you.” (Fred Devito).  It was a year ago when I decided to take another step in my career and pursue further studies.  I wanted to take an international certification, which will also be helpful in my current job and which will not take so much of my time and budget such as MBA or Law School.  So, while I was browsing through the internet, I came across the U.S. Certified Management Accountant, which is a globally recognized certification in over more than 180 countries.  Good thing, there was a local review center here, Insights Financial Review Services (Insights), which offers weekend review classes for professionals like me.  I was able to talk to Sir Angel Secerio, who is the managing director of Insights and he was able to convince me to enroll for the program.  Sir Angel was very supportive, approachable and accommodating all throughout my review, and for that I am very thankful.  I was also lucky enough to attend the Saturday classes of Dean Kenji Asano, Jr., who I believe is the best CMA instructor at Insights.

It was not an easy journey for me.  It was challenging to be a “working student”.  With my line of work as a Financial Reporting Manager, I often go home late and continuously render overtime.  Each study hour I devoted to reading the textbook and practicing to answer problems was a challenge. Regardless of the time I arrived home, I still made sure that I read or reviewed every night before I sleep.  There were even times I go home past midnight on Fridays and have to wake up early on Saturdays just to attend the review classes.  I was determined enough not to miss any review class since I know there would be lessons I could only acquire in class, and could not learn while reading only the review materials.  I don’t know why, but I was always excited in attending the review classes. I guess it always gives me a sense of fulfillment that I am able to learn something new every week, which is additional knowledge from what I usually do at work.  Most of my weekends were spent not on dates or vacation, but on studying, reading and reviewing.  I even remember going on a movie date but I brought a review material with me so I can read while we were driving to the mall.  Pathetic as it may be, but I just want to make every minute productive.  I guess it was effective because I was able to be the top performer in one of our comprehensive exams.  For an outgoing and extrovert person like me, it was hard to spend most of my time studying in my room instead of going out.  Good thing, I am blessed enough to have a strong support system – my family, my boyfriend, my boss and my friends. They were all supportive and they never doubted that I can become a CMA, which gave me confidence and will power.  Being a CMA takes a lot of prayers and sacrifices but I believe it all boils down to one’s determination, perseverance and time management.  It was tiring – yes; but it was very fulfilling.

Going back to my CMA journey, I was very challenged but it really did change me to become a better version of myself. For all those who are currently reviewing or are still planning to take the CMA exam, please use every challenge as an opportunity to stretch yourself and become better.  Bear in mind that everything is part of the journey. Every high and low, good and bad, moment of bliss and utter confusion. Don’t forget that there are going to be rough patches on the road to success, that there will be downs to each of the ups.  When you feel like giving up, always go back to the moment when you decided that you wanted this.  Tell yourself that failing is not an option and there is no other destination but to become a CMA.

About the Author: 

Joan Joyce U. Garcia, CPA, CMA is a Bachelor of Science in Accountancy graduate of De La Salle University Manila with more than 8 years of experience in the accounting field. She passed the CPA licensure exam last May 2009, and the CMA certification last August 2017. Her first job was as an Auditor at SGV & Co. She is currently employed as a Financial Reporting Manager at MediaQuest Holdings, Inc., the media arm of the MVP group.