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CIMA Pakistan Success Stories 2019

We got in touch with few of our SCS exam passed students to share their success stories and provide useful tips to aspiring students. Read their stories here:

Pakistan Success Stories 2019

Muhammad Hamza

I would like to share my experience gained during my journey with CIMA. I registered with CIMA in June 2016 . Due to my previous qualification I was exempted from Certificate level so i had my first attempt of Operational level in October 2016. As I grew within my qualification my exposure enhanced. The OTQ papers covered up all my technical knowledge while case studies assisted me to develop my analytical skills. I feel confident that I possess every skill and knowledge that would help me build my career.Case Studies are one of the toughest portion of CIMA qualification but there are few codes that if followed one may have probable chance of passing them.

1. Past Papers: Suggested answers for previous case studies helps you to understand the content and quality of answer that examiner requires.

2. Practice: One must have to practice mocks as much as possible (Ideally 3 mocks would be good).

3. Time Management: During the exam you have to divide time for each task and question.

4. Pre seen: Know your Pre seen well (Read it 7 to 8 times).

5. Group Study: A well managed group study for CS will help to understand the Pre-seen from different perspectives.

Hassan Meer

My CIMA journey began at around the middle of April on 2016. At that time I was quite intimidated at the long road that was ahead of me, but I was also eager because of the unique challenge that it presented. I started my CIMA studies from, what was at the time, the Certificate Level and made my way through each exam one by one. As of this writing, I have managed to clear the Operational Case Study exam, and I am currently studying for my first Management Level exams while also looking for employment through internship programs to build relevant experience. These last few years were tough and gruelling at times, but I have felt that I have undergone much personal growth from it all. The Operational Case Study I recently gave was certainly the most unique exam I have ever given. There were a couple of techniques that I adopted in order to prepare for and face this new challenge:

  1. Gain a mastery over the technical skills

The majority of marks awarded in this exam (around 60% for Operational Level) come from technical skills, the specific knowledge that we have been studying for our previous Objective exams. It is important to make sure that the fundamentals are known and well-versed. It is not good enough to just memorize them, but to have a firm understanding of it so that we understand what they are and how we can use them. Start small by preparing with the individual chapters in the course and work up to the past Case Study exams. Keep practicing and getting that “hands-on experience” and, little by little, you will get a strong grasp over these technical skills.

  1. Develop the other component skills (Business, People)

In order to pass the Case Study exam, you will also need to show your ability in the other required skills besides technical, namely business skills, people skills, leadership skills and integration skills. To pass the exam you will need a scaled score of at least 80%, and performing a below adequate level of business or people skills (for Operational Level) will automatically result in a fail, no matter how well you demonstrated the other skills. Developing these skills will be tricky since the Objective exams do not really prepare us for this. You will need to think more broadly while solving the given tasks and be comfortable in explaining things in detail, to elaborate over the “how’s” and “why’s”. You will also need to be able to present all of this in a neat and structured format, complete with paragraphing and headings, in order to make it easier to read to the person you are writing to (which helps earn more marks).

  1. Be familiar with the Pre-seen Material and the Company

About a month or two before the Case Study exam, CIMA will release the respective pre-seen material for it. This has information about the fictional organization we will be working for, containing its background, its various functions and staff, its operation process, its financial statements and other relevant information about the organization. The tasks we will perform in the exam will be based off of this organization written in the pre-seen, so it will be smart to use it to your advantage. However, do not try to memorize specific numbers or measures from the pre-seen, since the tasks usually attach all the relevant information you will need in a separate window. You should try to understand the values of the company and its processes and be familiar enough with the pre-seen to navigate around it easily for reference.

  1. Be very aware of time management

The scariest part about the Case Study exam for me was the limited amount of time it offered. There are only 45 minutes to complete each of the four elaborate tasks. Your answer will be locked in once you proceed to the next task or if your 45 minutes for that task are finished, meaning you must focus to complete each task as it is given in progression. For this you will need to read the task and attached material, plan, structure and write down your answer before you run out of time. Be aware that you will not have the chance to check your previous answers once they are locked in, so try your best to fully complete your answers as you go. It can be helpful to practice your keyboard typing skills while preparing for the exam, because no matter how well you might be able to solve the tasks, you still may be unable to write it all down in time because of slow/poor typing skills.

  1. Assume a relaxed and steady approach

Whether it be studying or giving the Case Study exam, I highly recommend that people should adopt a relaxed and steady approach. The tasks given in this exam cover so many concepts and can alter or change drastically as you proceed. From the past Case Study exams, I have noted how much the same organization would vary depending on which Variant I choose. Perhaps it has faced success from a new product, or perhaps it has been in decline due to unplanned economic conditions, or perhaps it has faced numerous accounting issues due to it recently acquiring a competitor as a subsidiary. My point is that it is impossible to predict with certainty what will appear in the exam. So I insist that my fellow students should try to maintain a healthy balanced routine so that they do not overwork themselves, to embrace an open mind and adapt and bend to whatever the exam might give them, and to tackle each task in a creative and innovative way in the hope of coming up with their own unique style for an answer.

So in summary, my 5 tips for passing the CIMA Case Study exam (at least for Operational Level) are:

  1. Work on and master the fundamental technical skills, keep on practicing little by little
  2. Do not neglect business and people skills (as well as leadership and integration skills), learn how to connect your answer to business and to be supportive to those reading it
  3. Be familiar with the Pre-seen Material so that you can navigate it easily, try and keep in mind the general values and structure of the organization
  4. Be sure to manage your limited time properly, practice keyboard typing to help save time
  5. Embrace a relaxed and steady approach, be ready bend to whatever the exam gives you

I would like to wish all of my fellow CIMA students luck for their studies. It is said that all things will appear hard at first because we are unfamiliar with it, that we do not know exactly how to do it right/properly. But through dedicated practice and hard work, anything can be achievable as we learn for ourselves how to do it. Even failure is a lesson for success!

Muhammad Danish Javed

I joined CIMA on 03 March 2011 from the certification level. It looks more attractive to me as it focuses on entrepreneurial skills and able to look beyond the traditional ways of work and provides space to implement new ideas in quite different manner. However, it gives me an insight of the business strategies, decision making, risk analysis and financial strategies. As a result, it helps me in pursuing a good career start and presently I am part of world's fifth largest audit and accounting firm. 

According to me the things which helped me out are:

1. The concepts must be very clear

2. You must know what the examiner wants to know

3. Practice hard as it makes you better

4. Consistency of hard work

5. Passion to get it

Mohammad Owais Khanani

Qualifying CIMA has been a roller coaster journey for me. It had its ups and downs, but I knew I would make it anyway because I had the confidence. And that's what everyone needs. You can never really achieve something unless you have that confidence to achieve it.

Among all the highest scores I had in multiple exams, the best one was F1 - Financial Reporting And Taxation in which I scored full marks (150 out of 150). I didn't do anything extra ordinary to achieve full marks. I just worked hard like a normal human being, had a full dedication and commitment and more importantly, I had the confidence to give it a best shot and I couldn't be more amazed to see the results. I never actually planned to achieve full marks. I just planned to work hard and here I am, CIMA qualified in 2.5 years, ALHAMDOLILLAH!

Rohail Hussain

Being a professional banker, associated with renowned international Financial Institutions like Citibank, Standard Chartered Bank and now currently working with JS Bank, Karachi, Pakistan. My span of experience is based on 6 years in areas of commercial banking operations covering trade services like Documentary Credits, Documentary Collections, Guarantees, Sanctions Monitoring AML investigations in-relation to routine trade transactions.

I am well versed with ICC (International Chamber of Commerce) rules e.g., UCP, URR, ISBP, URC, URDG, ISP, INCOTERMS and proficient with Foreign Exchange Regulations of Pakistan, directly attached with trade and other commercial        transactions/activities with strong analytical, problem solving, strategic planning, decision making and relationship building skills.

I started my CIMA journey in 2012 and considering this precious qualification, there was some fear in my mind that I might not be able to do it, but when there is will then nothing is IMPOSSIBLE. To me, this word replicates that I’M POSSIBLE. Despite several attempts in many stages of CIMA like Operational Managerial and Strategic levels I remained committed to myself and kept trying hard myself to complete this auspicious qualification and I can safely say that CIMA is a game changer when its syllabus are being changed for the students raising the passing ratio from 50 Marks to 80 and that's where I paused myself and decided to complete my graduation (B.Com) in between. After my graduation, I started my MBA in 2016 and thereafter I again decided to re-energize myself to attempt again for my incomplete CIMA, which I completed in 2019. It’s like my dreams came true, which in turn gave me a different strength altogether.

On a separate note, I thank my Allah, my parents, my wife and especially my daughter who always cheers me with full support all times. 

“There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, dedication and learning from failures.”

Assad Umair

I joined CIMA at the end 2016 after completing my intermediate and started from foundation level. I have a lot of interest in the business field and I found CIMA more beneficial other than 4 to 5 degrees where I get more knowledge regarding my interest. CIMA takes you from the very basic level to the advance level and especially the case studies make you more practical and professional. I found case studies very tough at the start, but these are the biggest edge which differentiate CIMA from other degrees and I feel very confident to face any real situation in my job. I recommend CIMA for those having interest in business.

Some tips for those who started CIMA:

1. First I suggest that do not learn the concepts or theories, always understand the concept and think practically after reading the theories. This will not just help you in your OTQs but help you a lot in your case studies

2. Be consistent in your preparations. Take the case study attempt as soon as you pass your OTQs otherwise you will find it hard passing the case study exam

3. Practice mocks as much as you can, this will make you confident for the final exam and tells you what you lack.

4. Understand your industry as much as you can, which is given in your pre-seen. Do not focus fully on your books if you are in MCS or SCS.

5. Do not take case study as your paper, make your attitude as you are a finance officer, manager or whatever and take it as you are going at your office but not at the exam center. This will help you to stay calm and to control the exam pressure.

Muhammad Faizan

I was doing Chartered Accountancy Program, but due to some reason or other after getting halfway through, I quit and decided to start CIMA in 2012. Due to my previous educational background my certificate level was exempted. So I commenced from Operational level, I cleared all the exams except SCS by 2015 despite one attempt wasted due to my father's demise which was a day before my final exam. I wish I could share this success with him in his life. However, my Strategic case study was stuck and I got it cleared in 9th attempt. I didn't give up as I knew the value of this Certificate. After 8 attempts I realized my weaknesses which might be common among other students as well. On the basis of which I would like to share following keys to unlock your career success by having this prestigious and well recognized certification all over the globe.

1. First of all, I would like all of you not to rote learn the topics, but learn them conceptually and considering its practical application.

2. Secondly, before you start learning get your mind focused on the learning outcomes and its objectives, and ideally note them down after completing every chapter by your own mind.

3. After having strong grip on study texts, another important point is to select your tuition provider, don't just run after every tuition provider, majority of them are of the same value, its all about marketing their products. 

4. Do as much practice for the objective exams questions as much as you can, for the objective exam I have just one word "PRACTICE"

5. Lastly, for case study, I must recommend all the past papers which you need to attempt or at least have a thorough read of it and bifurcate them topic wise, and "analyse what kind of question demands what".

I wish everyone a successful career ahead.

Shahid Ilyas

I am a cheerful person and a passionate leader who inspires and influences the team and customers. My background includes 18 years of diversified professional experience, associated with global fortune 500 energy company for over a decade, exposure of working with global teams and international best practices.

At present, I am working as Chief Executive of a business consulting company “V4 Global Consulting “(www.vgc.com.pk) and part of Iqra University as Visiting Faculty member. I am extensively experienced in improving operational efficiencies, change management, SAP implementation, business transformation & organizational restructuring. Besides the core responsibility of managing the F&A function, I led the team to successfully implementing the SAP (ERP) in Schneider Electric Pakistan in 2016.I believe that F&A professionals can add more value beyond information processing and reporting. The brunt of increasing automation and disruption will gradually decrease the conventional role of finance managers. The future role will require working shoulder to shoulder with business teams in forming strategies that can enhance revenues, optimize cost and induce organic and inorganic growth of the organization.

I joined CIMA in 2018, CGMA is a globally recognized designation, after passing CIMA now; I will have better chances to expand my consulting business beyond borders. Strong reputation of the institute, support of the members from across the world and continuing professional development will help me in accomplishing future strategic goals.

Tips to pass SCS exam

1. Studying pre-seen material in detail. allocating more time to it than anything else.

2. Typing speed must be good.

3. Connecting facts of the case study while answering questions. This is extremely important.

4. If you don’t have practical exposure at all or having little, discuss the pre-seen with senior professionals.

5. Pre-seen material, in general, is based on some real organization’s, find out and study the real organization’s as well.

Haris Khan

Passing a CIMA exam is no small feat, you have to be persistent, committed & remain motivated at each step. While it is important that your concepts should be clear, your planning and approach towards the exam plays a vital role particularly for passing Case studies. Besides professional knowledge CIMA qualification also helped me to develop key skills like time management, problem solving and work scheduling that are essential as you progress through your career.

I joined CIMA in September 2017 at Management level. My accomplishments as a CIMA student:

I became CIMA Qualified by passing all the exams in first attempt and got confirmed within one month at my first job. I Got two salary increments + bonus during my first year (only employee) and Employee of the month title for three consecutive months (till I left). I was the youngest team leader based on tenure. Now I am working in a Multinational. 

Top 5 tips to pass a CIMA case study exam.

Planning and preparing for different scenarios by taking help from past papers.

Understanding and answering each requirement.

Linking the pre-seen information with the answer.

Application of topics in real world.

Practicing mocks and familiarization kit.