How one CMA candidate found the confidence to take on the CMA Exam—and the tricky topic of flexible budgeting—with a little help from Muhammad Ali.
“Best In Class”
Hussein Ghazi Kahwaji is a confident guy who knows he’s destined to do great things as a CMA. A graduate of Lebanese American University, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Banking & Finance after a short flirtation with Business.
“I had no interest in accounting until I realized that in order to significantly succeed in Finance, one has to have good understanding of accounting principles,” he says.
Turns out, Hussein is pretty good with numbers—and he’s held a number of internships with banking and financial firms following graduation.
Even so, Hussein wanted to further his education and improve his credibility. He played with the idea of earning a CFA charter … then of a CPA license … before landing on becoming a Certified Management Accountant.
“The CFA and CPA both have a narrow scale in which they go very deep,” he says. “Whereas, in my position, I wanted something broader without the need to go that deep into auditing or finance. The CMA was most relevant for what I was looking for—it was tailor-made.”
Studying with the Best
Hussein enrolled at the Morgan International training center in Beirut, where he lives, because he wanted the “best in class” preparation for the CMA Exam. There, his instructors suggested he use Wiley CMAexcel for his studies.
He found the Online CMA Test Bank most useful because it “prepares you not only for the questions but the whole exam experience so you don’t have any surprises during the exam.”
With his preparations at Morgan and at home, Hussein took Part 2 of the CMA Exam first and passed. However, he ran into trouble on Part 1, notably section B, which deals with flexible budgeting – a struggle many of his Morgan classmates faced as well.
Unfortunately, Hussein failed in his first attempt to pass Part 1, scoring just below the 360 minimum score.
But that didn’t faze Hussein. He returned to his studies even more determined.
Every day throughout the process, he returned to an inspiring quote:
“I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.’”
– Muhammad Ali (Boxing Champion)
Like Ali, Hussein hated the process of studying but knew in his heart the end result would be worth the effort. “Don’t be discouraged when you realize how hard it is,” he says of the CMA Exam. “Nothing that is easy to get is worth having.”
Hussein passed Part 2 on his second try. He’s so comfortable with flexible budgeting that he says he’s ready to assist other CMA candidates in mastering the concept.
Now a full-fledge Certified Management Accountant, Hussein finds his new set of skills to be very useful. Today, he’s a full-time Management Accountant for Régie Libanaise des Tabacs et Tombacs, a major tobacco producer and importer in Lebanon.
“The CMA taught me all I need for my job,” he says. “It taught me the best-in-class application of all the business concepts I wanted to learn and helped take my career to a more professional level.”
Next up: Hussein plans to get as much as exposure as possible to different types of businesses while also pursuing CPE credits and maintaining his CMA certification.
Way to go, champ!