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Azreena Abdul Wahab

Full Name: Azreena Abdul Wahab

Occupation: Manager

Organisation: Development Finance and Enterprise Department, Bank Negara Malaysia

CIMA Entry Route: CIMA-MIA Strategic Leaders Programme

CIMA Level/Award achieved so far: ACMA, CGMA

Tell us about your current role and what is the most interesting part of your job?

I play a key role in the formulation of strategic policies and measures of the Central Bank of Malaysia. These policies serve as a platform for government owned development financial institutions (DFIs) to undertake specific mandated roles in developing the economy. I am passionate about my role as I contribute to making lives better for Malaysians particularly to the underserved and under-privileged segments within the Malaysian economic strata.

What was the motivating factor that prompted you to pursue the CIMA-MIA Strategic Leaders Programme?

A combination of both career and personal development. It offers flexibility in terms of catering to individual needs and constraints.  The programme allows us to combine professional experience with theoretical knowledge.

Why did you choose CIMA and not other professional accounting programmes? 

In my view, the CIMA programme is comprehensive and holistic. It is not only centred on accounting or finance alone but comprises a syllabus that cuts across all key and critical areas for professional development. These areas include enterprise to managerial skills, risk management perspectives and it also helps develop a better understanding of financial and taxation related matters. 

Was it a tough journey pursuing the last exam of the CIMA qualification? Describe your journey – how do you balance work and study, how much time do you spend studying and which study materials did you use?

The late Chinese philosopher Lao Tzu once said ‘the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step’. If I may add, nothing in life comes easy so pursuing our dreams - be it obtaining the CIMA certification, career progression or life fulfilment – would not be easy or trouble-free but in the end, it’s a matter of how determined we are to pursue and realise those dreams. 

Prioritising and balancing both work and study is difficult but necessary. While the various study materials provided helped to a certain extent, the availability of experienced global tutors to challenge and guide me throughout the course was a great value add. This is definitely a plus point especially the intensive classes over the weekend where we had to complete a series of case studies within two to three days. Painful yes, but it’s worth it.

Is there anything in particular that students should look out for when sitting for the CIMA Strategic Case Study exam?

Have an open mind and be agile – think beyond what you’re doing for your 9-5 job. The Strategic Case Study challenges you to think and act as a CEO for a company that you may have little or no knowledge about. It is challenging but it provides you the opportunity to go beyond your comfort zone.

What advice would you give to aspiring students who are keen on building a career as management accountants?

Accountants, in my view, will still be around for a long time. The challenge therefore is not in staying relevant but more of what value add we can bring to our employers, enterprises and the communities and people that we serve. Whether accounting in general or management accounting, it is not only incumbent upon us to provide a true and fair view but more importantly, we must have strong moral values specifically integrity and honesty. This is especially so in an age of significant advancements in finance and technology.

Now that you are a CIMA member and a CGMA – what value would it bring to you?

Besides applying the knowledge I have gained for my career, CIMA membership give me an opportunity to broaden my network with fellow members globally and perhaps share best practices.

How would the CIMA qualification be of help to you in your work or career?

It’s a personal satisfaction as I come from a family of Chartered Accountants. Furthermore, the CIMA qualification will serve as a passport for me in terms of career progression and to use the relevant jargon when it comes to passports, the sky is definitely the limit.

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