Kasuni Silva’s career at MAS Intimates, a USD 1.6 billion apparel manufacturer with 50 state-of-the-art facilities in 15 countries, evolved from finance to marketing within a space of 13 years. “It has been a gradual transition to my current role,” says Kasuni who is one of the Marketing Directors at MAS Intimates at present and is also an entrepreneur. With an educational background in CIMA and a BBA from the University of Colombo, Kasuni began her diverse career by working in the finance department. “I wanted to move beyond financial accounting, therefore I eventually moved to a strategic planning and management accounting position. This was followed by working within production planning, which is the essence of the manufacturing industry which I am in,” elaborates Kasuni.
She believes that marketing is the ultimate discipline for her, as it exposes her to consumer insights and can actively contribute towards driving a P&L. “Managing the customer in a B2B marketing role requires the ability to look at the business from many fronts and this is where the CIMA Professional Qualification has helped me immensely. In my job, your knowledge cannot be limited to marketing alone - there has to be an understanding of finance, business operations and people management, areas that the CIMA qualification excel in ,” says Kasuni. When Kasuni first considered studying for the CIMA qualification, she did not compare it with other professional accounting qualifications. Rather, she compared it to university degree courses in Management, Business and IT. In addition to her undergraduate degree, she complements her CIMA qualification with a CIM certification and an MBA from the University of Warwick. Kasuni states that CIMA even helped her with her undergraduate studies, “It was interesting to note that until the 3rd year at university, much of the subjects which I studied for my degree was already covered by CIMA.”
As a very active member of the CIMA Students’ Society (CIMASS) during her student days, Kasuni urges students to network actively and build the connections which will ultimately help them in their careers. “I often find that students who network tend to be more realistic, outspoken and better communicators, as well as being more grounded to the local business community. They display more of a ‘can do’ attitude which is essential in our work,” explains Kasuni. “When I am interviewing potential job candidates, I place a lot of emphasis on their attitude towards life and outlook of business – in addition to their intellect, interpersonal skills and emotional intelligence,” she says. Kasuni also advises students to look for internship opportunities whenever they can.
Kasuni is a Chartered Global Management Accountant (CGMA) designation holder and is of the view that being a CGMA, coupled with the affiliation to the Association of International Certified Professional Accountants (the Association) formed with the combined strengths of CIMA and AICPA will complement the global standing of the CIMA Professional Qualification. “I work with customers and colleagues from all over the world, it’s hard to make any qualification stand out if it’s not global,” are Kasuni’s concluding remarks.