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Management Accounting Adds Fuel To MBA's Finance Career

CIMA qualifications and MBA prove perfect combination for freelance consultant

Mon Jul 13 2015

Bryony Stewart’s career has taken her across the engineering and financial services sectors, including the conglomerate Honeywell and Barclays Wealth, the wealth management unit of the British bank. Professional qualifications account for some of that success. Bryony is one of a growing number of people who are combining CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) with an MBA (Master’s in Business Administration).

She completed her CIMA exams in 2003. “I knew straight away that it wasn’t the end for me,” says Bryony.  Her inspiration to study more came from her grandfather, an engineer, who has never stopped learning. “I wanted to do more, so I asked my employer if he’d support my MBA studies.” He agreed.

She studied for an MBA at Strathclyde Business School in the UK. “The skill-set I gained from the MBA was hugely complementary to my CIMA training,” Bryony says. One of the biggest benefits of combining the two was the professional network she built up. “A lot of the people on my MBA were very senior,” she says, adding: “I keep in touch with a lot of them, even now.” Bryony is also a Member of The Association of MBA (AMBA) which connects MBA students, graduates and MBA employers around the world.

Another benefit was how much the CIMA and MBA combination strengthened her CV. The power of the two qualifications enabled Bryony to set up her own consultancy and quickly land a key contract with a major investment company.

When she left Barclays Wealth and moved to an investment firm, she realized how much the two qualifications were valued by employers. “[They] set me apart from others who applied for the same role,”

Her dedication meant that she had to put other aspects of her life on hold. “It was really hard — 10 years without a social life,” she says of completing both qualifications while working full-time. But she adds: “It means I’m probably four or five years ahead of other people my age. “ Bryony puts down the progress she has made with this venture to her experience balancing work and study.

“The great thing about CIMA and an MBA,” she says, “is that they give you a great grounding in business and finance.” So you can go on to choose a number of different career paths. “I eventually chose not to work solely in finance, but I’m still using the skills I gained from CIMA every day.”

The qualifications are recognised globally and following Bryony’s studies she has achieved the Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation which has opened up opportunities for her to take on assignments in New York, Switzerland and London. “If I wanted to pack up tomorrow and work abroad, I could take my CGMA status and all my transferable skills with me.”

Read Bryony's story

To leverage your MBA or Master’s with CIMA and gain a valuable professional qualification, find out how you can become a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA).