To get where you want to go professionally, you don’t have to be an ace student like Michael John Cortez. But it sure helps. Cortez graduated from the University of Santo Tomás in the Philippines as a batch salutatorian and managed to be recognized for his CPA scores after that. And after that, he topped his testing class on the CMA exam! Today, he is currently a senior audit associate in Nexia TS, based in Singapore, responsible for managing a staff that audits listed and non-listed companies in both the Philippines and Singapore.
“Having the CMA has really helped me in my work,” says Cortez. “In audit, it’s crucial to understand how businesses work and to be able to interpret their financials. I have to identify risk areas, study trends, and figure out any irregularities. Additionally, there are a lot of areas for testing that you need to understand, including things like discounted cash flow. These are concepts you learn when you prepare for the CMA.”
Without his CMA, doing his job effectively would be nearly impossible. “I have to say that it would be much more difficult,” he says. “Of course, if it’s work assigned to me, I would absolutely need to find a way. I would do more research and spend more over time to brush up on the topics I’d need to learn. But because of the CMA, I know them already.”
“I have to say, Insights and Wiley made it really convenient,” he says. “I didn’t need any other source materials. It made my life so much easier.”
Cortez used all of the Wiley materials provided to him. “My sequence was to watch the video, then read the text, then answer the test bank questions,” he explains. “If there’s one thing that was really helpful, I would have to say it was the flash cards. After I finished with all of the other study features—videos, texts, test banks—I would print the flash cards and look at them the day before the exams.”
The technique worked like a charm. Granted, Cortez knows how—and how much—to study, and he has an affinity for the material. But Wiley prepared him as expected. “I was 90% confident going into the exam,” he says. “I was only nervous about technical errors or things out of my control. Overall, I was confident because I was monitoring my scores in the mock exams, and I always got a passing grade. Wiley had said that those tests mimic how the real exam works in terms of difficulty and construction. So I went in with confidence.”
He wasn’t kidding. Cortez scored better than anyone else in his testing class. He took his CMA certification and ran. He landed in Singapore at an excellent job in a very business-friendly place. “It’s very similar to the Philippines, my home, in many ways,” he says. “But the salary gap between the Philippines and Singapore is enormous.”
In addition to recommending Singapore as a job market, Cortez has some advice for prospective CMA exam candidates.
“If your field is finance or if you will touch finance and business in general in your career, you should definitely consider taking the CMA exam,” he says. “It covers a lot of areas: financial reporting, analysis, controls, and more. In one way or another it will definitely come in handy. And when you commit to it, consider Wiley CMA”
“Secondarily,” he continues, “there are other topics involved in auditing, like business analysis, understanding operations, and even share options which were covered in the CMA program. It really helps to know it all going in, rather than having to learn major topics like these while on the job.”
Cortez saw the value of getting his CMA certification because it prepared him with practical knowledge that is applicable and relevant to the future of his finance career. He successfully prepared for the exam with Wiley’s CMA Review materials, which he says provided him with everything he needed. Try the course yourself with a 14 Day Free Trial, and start your CMA journey today!