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The Value of the CMA Program is More Than the Credential


Like many young professionals, Paul Hilliard was looking for a way to stay up to date in his field and find a way to move himself higher up the corporate ladder. Hilliard, a 2012 graduate of Bloomsburg University, earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and began working at Delta T Group, Inc, a national healthcare staffing agency headquartered in Bryn Mawr, PA. He began working at Delta T Group as a temporary employee and has been moving up steadily through the years. He currently works directly under the Controller performing a wide variety of accounting and financial duties.

Setting his sights on furthering his education, Hilliard researched his options. He considered a graduate degree and even the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam, but found the right fit when he came across Villanova’s Certified Management Accountant (CMA) program. The CMA credential is offered by the Institute of Management Accountants (IMA) and is considered the "gold standard" for professionals engaged in management accounting and financial management.

The CMA is a two-part exam, as is the CMA program at Villanova University’s College of Professional Studies. Hilliard took CMA Part 1 in the fall of 2016 and subsequently passed the first part of the exam. He then took CMA Part 2 in the spring of 2017 and knew he needed some additional time to prepare for the more difficult CMA Part 2 exam. This past February, Hilliard passed part 2 of the CMA exam to become a Certified Management Accountant.

Reflecting on the value of the CMA program, Hilliard said “A lot of companies and organizations are looking for employees with degrees in accounting and finance as well as additional credentials like the CMA, so I believe that earning this credential will have a positive impact on my career and open up opportunities for me. What surprised me though is how much useful information I was able to take from my classes that has nothing to do with passing the tests. My instructor, Marjorie Yuschak, was incredibly informative. We were encouraged to bring our real life challenges at work to class and Instructor Yuschak would adjust her plans for class that night in order to address those challenges and help us work through a solution. Although we were preparing for the exams, we were also learning how to simply be better in our respective roles, regardless of whether we ever earned the CMA credential. Even after class was over I reached out to Instructor Yuschak because I had some additional questions as I was studying and she got back to me immediately with all the information I needed.”

When asked about Paul, Instructor Yuschak said “I have a lot of respect for Paul and I admire how focused he was and how hard he worked to pass the tests. He really took advantage of the opportunities presented to him while taking the CMA courses.”

In addition to his instructor, Hilliard has found the relationships he built with his classmates to be of great value. “I stay in touch with several of my classmates from the CMA Part 2 class and we’ve all let each other know about our progress on the exams. I see them as a network for future career opportunities and as peers that I can bounce questions off of in my career.”

CMA Part 1: Financial Reporting, Planning, Performance and Control is scheduled to run in the fall. For more information, contact