Business leaders spend their days solving problems but riddle them this: how does a senior director who wants to advance from the day-to-day activities of their role join the upper echelons of senior partnership, if they don’t have the bandwidth to study at an institution for two to three years?
It’s a catch 22 situation.
Without legitimately demonstrating your ability to strategize the business of the company in which you work, it’s unlikely you’ll get the promotion to where all the commercial strategy takes place.
But like all good business leaders, Alaa Abu-Rumman, Group Finance Director at Salehiya Medical, a leading Saudi Arabian healthcare distribution company, found a solution. Despite holding a regional leadership role, Abu-Rumman recently achieved the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation, transforming his career trajectory in the process.
He did this with The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), the world's leading and largest professional body of management accountants, which is part of The Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association – the unified voice of AICPA & CIMA).
And the secret to Abu-Rumman obtaining his qualification? He did it in three months.
CIMA and CGMA
“Before I joined the Global C-Suite Business & Finance programme, I made a shortlist of places where I could get a professional certificate to advance my career,” says Abu-Rumman. “As a professional senior manager in a multi-billion SAR company working in pharmaceutical healthcare and manufacturing, I don’t have the luxury of time to engage in three years of studying to get a professional certification.
“Compared to other professional qualifications, I appreciated that CIMA factors in the already acquired skills in a person’s career and have crafted a fast track Global C-Suite Business & Finance Programme,” he says. “To participate in a programme that enables candidates gain CIMA membership and benefit from the joint venture that takes months not years, and that benefits from the joint venture with AICPA was a good choice for a person like me.”
The CGMA designation provides CIMA members with an accreditation that has true global recognition. As stated on the CIMA website, those four letters are recognised all over the world, across all sectors, and when appearing after your name they, “show employers you mean business.”
CGMA designation is a demonstration and proof of your commercial skills, strategic vision and transformation mindset. Upon completion of the CIMA Global C-Suite Business & Finance Programme, a candidate is in a pivotal position to analyse information, advise on strategy and drive business success. Exactly what you need to take the next step up the career ladder.
Abu-Rumman, a Jordanian-national who works in Saudi Arabia and travels home frequently to see his family, has been working in audit and accounting for more than 17 years. “In my case as group finance director, I would like to grow to become CFO. A professional certificate contributes to my experience, skills and self-esteem,” says Abu-Rumman.
“Studying for the CIMA strategic case study exam to gain CGMA designation added to my strategic thinking. It was exciting to follow the module that focused on how to strategise the business.”
The traditional, full-scale CIMA professional qualification syllabus comprises nine subjects from three areas of knowledge: enterprise, performance and financial. For those students who are less experienced in their career, this course takes on average four years to complete.
For experienced professionals and senior leaders such as Abu-Rumman, the Global C-suite Business & Finance Programme recognises and incorporates their existing business success and fast tracks their learning.
CIMA Global C-Suite Programme
Under the fast track programme, eligible students who meets the experience requirement for the programms only sit for the final case-study exam of the professional qualification (the strategic case study). Through successful completion of this exam and the relevant work experience, you can qualify for CIMA membership and earn the professional global designation of CGMA conferred by CIMA and AICPA.
Naturally, studying for even a fast-track qualification takes serious commitment but CIMA have developed a structured study programme that is offered in an online face to face interactive learning programme with a CIMA learning partner. Students attend a mandatory online interactive workshop led by a CIMA approved global faculty for the C-Suite Programme. They can also start or join study groups and attend online ‘ask the expert’ sessions, covering topics such as time management and analysis of pre-seen material for upcoming case study exams.
“In the Gulf region, many CIMA members are expats, such as myself,” says Abu-Rumman. He has connected with a number of CIMA members via LinkedIn and is seeing many of his connections qualify and advance to senior management ranks. CIMA also organises networking opportunities to fully enhance members business and finance skills.
The majority of Abu-Rumman’s colleagues who work in Saudi Arabia are from countries such as Jordan, Egypt, India and Pakistan who return home on weekends to visit their families. “For professionals like us, the CIMA programme can be managed on the weekend and during vacations.” he says.
“This is what I did to gain the professional value that will enhance my responsibilities and advance me beyond the day-to-day accounting activities to business partner level.
This is exactly what CIMA will add to my profile. I hope it will shine a light on my CV and take me to the next level of my career.”