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CIMA Student of the Year Nominee

CIMA Student of the Year Nominee


Did you know that 87% of employers would pay a premium to have a CGMA join their workforce and CIMA graduates earn over 60% more than their non-CGMA counterparts?

With stats like these in your favour, it’s easy to see why so many experienced professionals around the world are turning to CIMA’s professional qualification to upskill themselves and improve their future career prospects. But is taking on the commitment of studying while working viable? How do some people manage to juggle work, their studies, raising kids, and so many other aspects of life all together while still getting time to sleep at night? 

We sat down with IBTC Student and 2020 CIMA Student of the Year nominee, Serisha Pillay, to find out how she was able to achieve such high results in the Strategic Level Case Study exam, all while maintaining demanding work schedule and personal life. 
Join us as she shares her secrets to CIMA exam success and provides some insight as to how her CIMA qualification has aided her in her career thus far. 

What is your current role? 

I work in consulting with focus on finance. I provide advisory services to clients in the financial services and insurance industry. 


Why did you decide on the CIMA qualification? 

The CIMA qualification compliments my work and equips me with an education to thrive and get ahead in my careerThe CIMA approach is practical and holistic, providing skills and insights which help me on a daily basis.   


What was the most challenging aspect of your studies? 

Finding the right work/life balancing was challenging.  


One (or more) ways the CIMA qualification and its learnings have made a tangible difference to your daily work life. 

The CIMA syllabus aided in improving my strategic thinking, as well as my problem-solving abilities.  


Being nominated for the CIMA Student of the Year Awards is no small feat. Take us through your exam prep & exam day routine. 

I prepared for the exams with a combination of reading the study text thoroughly and watching the video lectures provided.  

And then question practice, question practice, question practice! How you do in the mock exam will be a good indication of your readiness for the real thing.  

For the case study exam, your focus becomes question practice and getting comfortable with the pre-seen.  The questions are practical and will often find that your work experience can aid you in answering these questions.  

Try to stay calm and relaxed on exam day. Be sure to get enough sleep the night before. This is something that I always struggled withRelax, your preparation should be enough to get you through it. 


Do you have any tips for students writing exams on how to achieve the kind of results that you did? 

Just book that exam, do not put it offYou have a lot of flexibility to reschedule objective tests if need beIt is good to have a set target to work towards. 

Time management is key as you are likely to run out of time in an objective test. Try to answer everything you know first. Remember to not leave any blanks when submitting. If you are unsure of a question, flag it, and return once you have completed everything you are able to.  

For case studies, type out the key points of your answer and expand on them thereafter. Type directly in the solution block so that your planning/points are captured in case you run out of time to elaborate as you would have liked. These may seem like small things to remember but they make a big difference, especially when you are pressed for time in the exam. 

We know that it can be difficult to stay on track with your studies, especially while trying to find time between work as well as your personal life. We hope that Serisha’s experience has helped to motivate you and serve as a reminder that it is possibleand so worth it in the end!  
Put your best foot forward and sign up for our CIMA Case Study Classes. These comprehensive sessions will get you exam ready in just 4 days. Learn how to manage your time effectively, identify what is being asked, and know how best to provide the answer that CIMA is looking for. Join us as we show you how to gain the easy marks and pass first time.