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Strategic Case Study

The focus of Strategic level is on the long term and setting the strategy for the business. In the Strategic Case Study exam, your role will be that of a Senior Finance Manager.

The Case Study exam is essentially a virtual business role play. Therefore, students need to understand their role within the case study exam in order to produce a good answer, demonstrating knowledge and applying skills from across the syllabus.

The table below provides an overview of the role students are expected to take on at Strategic Study exam, who they will be seeking to influence and examples of the syllabus area they may be tested upon.

Who are you?

At Strategic level, your role will be that of a Senior Finance Manager.

Equivalent job titles in a real organisation might be:

  • Senior Management Accountant
  • Group Accountant
  • Financial Director
What is the main focus of your role?

Overall focus
Long term and setting the strategy for the business.

You may be involved in

  • Measuring, analysing and managing risk
  • Advising on strategic decisions
  • Investigating potential business developments and investments
  • Advising on long term sources of finance and financial strategy.

You will need to understand

  • Leadership and its role achieving change management
  • The full context in which the business operates
  • The importance of looking ahead and advanced planning.
Who is your audience/who are you seeking to influence? Chief Financial Officer/Board, senior management team - other senior non-financial staff.
Examples of topic areas and tasks you may be asked to look at in the exam (based on Variant 1 of the Nov 2015 Management Case Study exam) Your role

You are a Senior Finance Manager employed by Wodd, a forestry company which was founded in 1983 and has been a quoted company since 2001. Wodd is based in Marland, a European country, heavily industrialised in the South, but with large uninhabited areas in the North. Its climate is temperate and is well suited to growing timber.

The emphasis in the Strategic Case Study exam is the Enterprise pillar and showing a balance of skills across all competency areas but all subjects will be tested. During the exam you will need to demonstrate:

Technical skills
Advise on the implications of diversification for shareholders and directors (P3 E1)  

Business skills
Advise on predicting the impact of a weakening USD (E3 A1) 

People skills
Advise on briefing analysts (F3 C2)

Leadership skills
Advise on managing the share price (E3 B1)

Competency weightings for your exam

Competency Weighting is the basis of distribution of marks from various sections in the SCS exam. You will have to obtain minimum threshold marks(approximately 1/3) for each competency along with score of 80 to pass the Strategic Case Study exam.

Technical skills - 25%
Business skills - 25%
People skills - 25%
Leadership skills - 25%

NOTE: These are just illustrations to help you set the Case Study exam in context and are not exhaustive.

Syllabus document

Find out more about the CIMA Professional Qualification (2015 Syllabus & Assessment)

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CGMA Competency Framework

The framework shows the skills abilities and competencies that finance professionals need to increase the success of organisations.

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Case Study exams

Format: computer based
Availability: four windows each year (Feb, May, Aug, Nov) at any of the 5,000 Pearson VUE centres around the world
Length: 3 hours
Marking: human marked
Results: available 5 weeks after the close of the exam window

Further information
The Case Study exams are used to test a variety of skills including research and analysis, how to present information, persuasion and communication skills. The move to more Case Study exams has been deliberate to test a wider range of skills and integrated learning across the syllabus.

Case Study exams reflect a real life business scenario, comprising a series of time bound tasks set for students to complete based on pre-seen material.

  • Pre-seen material released to tutors: 9 weeks prior to the exam window through MY CIMA (Tutor log in details required)
  • Pre-seen material released to students: 6 weeks prior to the exam window through CIMAconnect (Student contact ID and password required)

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