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Joint 1st in the world - secrets to success

Student in the countryside

We’re so proud of our student, Krupa Nandha, for being joint 1st in the world for her CIMA Strategic Case Study results. We asked her how she managed the exam, her tips for students, and plans for the future.

Hi Krupa - congratulations! Tell us about receiving your results. How was that?

I simply got the news in an email, it was a complete surprise. It’s a pretty cool achievement, you never think that with exams, I just hoped to pass it.

Where are you based? What do you do?

I’m based in London and work as a commercial finance analyst at TUI, the travel company. They put me through the CIMA course as it’s a requirement for my role.

Which study method did you choose?

I did Classroom for most of it, and a few modules OnDemand. I really liked going into classrooms for case studies especially. They’re so subjective and often complex. It’s great to discuss ideas with other people on your course as it helps you understand everything better.

Discussions really helped my ideas and were a part of why I was successful.

CIMA is more focussed on business and how finance works in a business

Why did you mix up the study methods?

It just depended on availability of the courses, although Classroom is always my preferred choice. However I’m not missing waking up on a Sunday to go to class!

I did all 3 levels with Kaplan, over 3 years. I did my first level in a year, but Management level took longer because I was based elsewhere due to things going on in my personal life. I did the Strategic level in 8 months, as I just wanted it to be over and done with.

Why CIMA?

Most companies offer a choice between CIMA or ACCA, but CIMA is more focussed on business and how finance works in a business, rather than lots of technicalities on how to put accounts together.

The qualification is a great stepping stone onto the next stage of my career. I can’t progress far without having the CIMA qualification when it comes to management accounting.

The course is very useful if you’re going to work in accountancy as it’s very important to understand the standards and principles. The analytical skills and problem solving skills that you develop on the course are really useful for the role. These skills will benefit you in the long run, even if you don’t think you’re using them right away.

What are the secrets to your success?

A good work/life balance. I’m working full time alongside my course, so it’s a challenge to fit my CIMA studies around my lifestyle. I expected CIMA to take up a lot of my time, but I wasn’t quite expecting the sacrifices that I’d have to make. When all of my friends were making exciting plans for the weekend, I had to go home and study!

So that was hard. I couldn’t go out on a Friday night. In between exams I had to make even more of an effort. But I made sure to plan a holiday around the time of each exam as a reward.

These skills will benefit you in the long run, even if you don’t think you’re using them right away.

Any advice for future students?

Discipline is really important. If you’re working like me, you often have to sacrifice your evenings and spare time. So it’s important to do little, and often, to make sure you’re not cramming. It’s so much easier to understand the course and perform to your best when you spread it out and give yourself enough time to study for a subject and break it all down.

Lots of practice questions - that’s the key. It’s really important to become familiar with the type and style of questions if you want to do your best. So take advantage of all the practice questions and spend time perfecting your technique for answering them.

And for the Case Study itself - any tips?

Be really familiar with the case study itself. Think of it not as a techy thing but more like if you were running the business and how would you do it. Try not to segregate the bits because you will be required to draw on knowledge from Management and Operational levels too.

Don’t solely focus on being too specific as you need to have a wider understanding. Do as many practise questions as you can - that's what made a difference. There are no ways to cut corners.

This level is more focussed on the strategic, bigger picture, and more about the real world and how practical stuff is. At Strategic level the questions can be broader, so you need more initiative, and working knowledge, to pass it.

What does the future look like for you now?

I’ve finished CIMA now and I’m looking to progress to the next role in Accounting. It could be an internal or an external move, I’m just figuring it out.

We wish Krupa the very best of luck in her accounting career, and congratulations again for the fantastic exam results.

If you’ve been inspired by Krupa, and want to find out more about CIMA, we have plenty of information about it on our CIMA course pages.

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