In conversation with US CMA Alumni – Sumit Harchandani

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Sumit Harchandani

Why did you choose CMA over the various other courses?

I graduated in the year 2015 and soon after started working with General Mills. Within a few months into my career at GM, I realized I needed to upskill myself further. I then did my masters in commerce – but my hunger for knowledge did not end there. At General Mills, I happened to come across a colleague who had recently completed his US CMA through Miles. I approached him and gathered all the necessary info I needed and then made an informed decision.

The second reason I took up the course was that US CMA gave me exposure to international accounting standards and practices and also global credibility. I was already was working with the US-based firm – so after doing my CMA I was able to understand the process and functions more clearly.

Amongst the 2 parts – which was more difficult for you?

Part 1 was slightly more difficult for me – since it was more theoretical. Part 2 on the other hand was more practical based. Keeping this in mind, I gave the Part 2 exam first. Soon after I cleared that, I took 6 months to prepare for Part 1 since I was also working full time during this period.

If I talk about any difficult topic – it has to be the ratio portion in Part 2 which involved a lot of logical reasoning. To overcome this, I practiced more and more on this and solved as many OTBs as I could.

Also, for the essay part – we need to prepare thoroughly for it since the essay question is always a combination of 2 or more topics. So focus and study all the topics for both the parts. For the Essay part – I referred to both Miles and Wiley books. For me, the essay section was more difficult compared to MCQ. And yes, you need to be strong with your communication and writing skills – you should know how to format the essay questions well.

Tell us about your exam experience.

You need to be quick with your MCQ’s – there are 100 MCQ and you have just 3 hours to complete it. I used the elimination technique where you strike out the wrong answer. This method helps. For the few answers I did not know, I went with my gut feeling and answered them. I was also able to time my MCQ section and thankfully was able to finish it in the estimated timeline.

In essays, you have enough time to answer. Need to get the concept right. You need to read the question thoroughly – understand what they want and then proceed. Once you get the ideation around it, you can finish it off within that hour.

Who has been the support system in your CMA journey?

I was working full time at General Mills and also studying for my CMA exams. I have to thank my family for their support throughout my CMA journey. I used to work for long hours at work and by the time I used to come back, I was so tired that I did not have the strength to study. But my family kept motivating and encouraging me and made sure I have all the comfort that will help me study for a few hours every day. They have a big role to play in my success.

What would be Sumit’s tips for aspiring CMA candidates?

  • Solve the OTB’s at least 2-3 times.
  • If you are working – you need to devote at least 2- 3 hours every day towards your daily preparation.
  • Whenever you are taught a specific topic in class, come back, and revise the concept on the same day. This helps you memorize the concepts well and helps you in the long run.

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