Frank Fagan works as a Finance Business Partner for the DBS, and following a promotion chose to return to his CIMA studies after a 15 year break. We caught up with him to find out how Kaplan helped him resume his studies after such a long break.
Hi Frank. Why did you decide to return to CIMA at this stage in your career?
I had originally passed up to CIMA Stage 3 under the old exam structure. Under this structure you had to take four exams in two days and pass them all to be given a pass for the whole stage. If you failed just one of the exams you were not allowed to keep the other three passes!
I took Stage 4 on two occasions and passed three papers but failed one. Therefore I was given an overall fail for Stage 4. At that time I had three young kids and could not dedicate the time again to having another go at passing Stage 4.
Recently in my role at the DBS I got promoted but a condition was that I pass the CIMA exams, so here I am back again doing the final stages of my CIMA qualification. The good thing is now if you take one paper at a time and pass you are allowed to keep that paper!
Did Kaplan provide you with the help and support you needed to return to studying, and if so how?
All of the study materials have been excellent but what has really impressed me has been the standard of the tutors who have really been good on the two modules I have attended so far. Personally, I study best in the classroom rather than being self taught with textbooks. The tutors have surpassed my expectations in making the classes easy to understand, interesting and enjoyable.
Were there any specific features or benefits of Kaplan’s courses that have particularly helped you start studying again?
The study materials have been really good, and I find the summary class papers really useful.
Have you faced any particular challenges, and how did you overcome them?
As I have not studied for almost 15 years, I had obviously forgot a lot of information you otherwise would have remembered from recently passing exams in previous stages.
I have therefore had to try and familiarise myself with some of these basics by asking the tutors to give me some of the study texts from previous levels, which they’ve been happy to help with.
How do you foresee your return to studying helping you reach your career goals?
As explained previously, it’s a condition of my job so I need to pass the CIMA exams! However, the course content will help me a lot in my current position and give me additional knowledge and skills in my daily routine.
What advice would you offer to anyone in a similar position to yourself who was considering a return to studying?
I would say it is never too late to return to studying, and I have found a real mix of students in my classes. You may have had bad experiences with poor tutors in previous years when studying which may have led you to dismiss returning to study. I have however found that the tutors, study materials and general environment at Kaplan to be first class and the online practise exams are very useful. All in all I have found returning to studies to be a really rewarding experience.