Around the world, professionals who hold the CMA credential on average earn at least one-third more in annual total compensation than their non-certified peers. Hari knew this, and so did his wife, also a CMA and chartered accountant. That’s why the Mumbai, India professional hit the books hard with his study partner, Wiley CMAexcel.

“As a school student, I was average,” he says. “I had an interest in mathematics and puzzle solving and I believe that helped me in the long run in my academic life.” His average grades early on didn’t stop Hari from getting insanely good scores on his certification exams. In fact, his scores earned him the Priscilla S. Payne award for achieving the highest scores on the CMA exam. “I passed in my first attempt!” he says, proudly. “On Part I, my score was 440 and on Part II it was 460.”

To be honest, Hari was already well-versed in the material, having instructed courses on Management Accounting for eight years before taking the exam himself. In fact, he tackled the exam while studying for his Ph.D. in Managerial Accounting. “Before coming to the United States for my Ph.D. in 2016, I instructed courses on Management Accounting and Financial Accounting for Chartered Accountant students,” he says. “I also co-founded the not-for-profit Raising a Mathematician Foundation in 2013 which aims to create research aptitude in kids 13-15.”


Choosing the Right Study Partner

Despite his dazzling credentials, being familiar with the material didn’t guarantee Hari high marks on the exams. Along with good study habits and plenty of determination, Hari set to work with the Wiley CMAexcel learning system at his side. Here’s how:

“I ensured that I solved all the multiple choice questions that were available in the Wiley study material,” he says, “and I used my knowledge from my accounting literature while studying for the essay questions. I was systematic and focused to obtain a high score in CMA.”

Hari logged serious time, all while doing his Ph.D. work too. “I studied for CMA during weekends so that my Ph.D. coursework was not impacted that much. I solved around 70 multiple choice questions every time I studied, and I noted the questions I didn’t answer correctly. This helped me create a set I needed to focus on for review as I approached the exams.”

Hari loved the fact that the materials came with videos and quality text. “Since I knew most of the concepts, I could read the material at a brisk pace without the need to watch the videos. Still, the videos were excellent, especially if you’re coming to this subject from the beginning.”

Next Up: Bridging the Gap Between Academia and Practice

After a successful test experience, Hari’s had a chance to reflect on his achievement and his new CMA certification. “The certification has been extremely useful in teaching Management Accounting for undergraduate students and I hope that I can leverage the network provided by IMA (Institute of Management Accountants, Wiley partner) to integrate academia with practice. I can be a catalyst in bridging this gap.”

One final key to his success? “No shortcuts! Conceptual clarity is non-negotiable to me. Without conceptual clarity—and not knowing why a particular answer is correct and why the other options are incorrect—you won’t attain good scores in any exam, and especially not the CMA.”