Professor AJ Kreimer is a member of the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA), the worldwide association of accountants and financial professionals in business and the administrator of the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) certification exams. He also serves on the IMA global board of directors. Kreimer has been instrumental in providing opportunities for students to not only learn more about management accounting, but also to pursue the CMA certification through scholarships.
As faculty advisor for Temple’s student chapter of the IMA (IMA-T), Kreimer advises students on the CMA and awards CMA Scholarships to those interested in earning the certification. The scholarship provides exam fees, access to study materials via Wiley and a three-year membership to the IMA.
This spring, two Fox School scholarship recipients, Jacob Lubic, BBA ’21 and Aria Senatore, BBA ’20 passed both parts of the exams. Senatore is a student in the Fox Master of Accountancy (MAcc) program and is pursuing a CPA license. Lubic just graduated with a major in accounting and will begin his career with EY’s tax practice in Columbus, Ohio.
Preparing for the exam
Management accounting is the assessment of financial information for internal business decision-making and strategy. Management accountants hold many of the financial, accounting and analytical roles and play an integral role in guiding the direction of their company. They use their expertise to analyze, interpret and communicate financial information to managers and stakeholders.
Kreimer, along with Professor Christian Wurst and other members of the faculty, worked to ensure the tenets—or core competencies—of the CMA exam are covered throughout in the Department of Accounting curriculum. Ethics, analytics, reporting and leadership are all woven into the accounting program.
Kreimer also developed a specific section of the senior seminar capstone course to provide students with the skills needed to tackle the exam and pursue careers as controller or chief financial officer.
“The unique beauty of the CMA certification is that students can sit for the exams while they are still in school—so not only are they getting a wonderful education at Temple, but once they are hired and work for two years—they’re certified,” says Kreimer. “Students can get a jump start on their careers.”
Senatore was a student in the small inaugural class and credits it with helping prepare her for the exams. The course focused on budgeting, forecasting and performance management, among other key skills—including the core competency framework developed by the IMA. The framework was established by surveying professionals in the field about what is needed to be successful in the future of the accounting and finance industries.
“The small class size kept me much more accountable and engaged with the content,” says Sentore. “Professor Kreimer facilitated discussions and exercises in class that really helped reinforce the CMA content. I was very determined to not let him down.”
Preparing for the future
While both Lubic and Senatore intend to also become CPAs, they know that a CMA certification will distinguish them from their peers and help them achieve their long-term goals. Dual certification, CMA and CPA, is rare and highly respected by employers.
“It’s always been my dream to be a CFO in an industry I am passionate about,” says Lubic. “I plan to work my way up the ladder and earn a spot in the C-Suite of a major company someday.”
Lubic continues, “The CMA certification will help me achieve these goals because it represents broad business knowledge; it tests proficiency in areas like accounting, risk management, business ethics and operations management. To run a successful business and create value, one needs to have a working knowledge of all these areas.”
Senatore will be joining Deloitte in the fall as an audit associate following her completion of the MAcc program. She has also passed two of the four parts of the CPA exam.
“I don’t think I would’ve been nearly as successful with my CPA exams if I hadn’t taken the opportunity to pursue the CMA certification,” says Senatore. “It also gave me a ‘big picture’ managerial understanding of the content I encountered in the exam.”
“In the long-term, I want to continue challenging myself with new learning endeavors,” Senatore shared. “I believe the CMA certification will provide me with a foundation of holistic management and problem-solving skills to use in working with programs that run operations more effectively.”