CIMA Sri Lanka now stronger than ever

By Gayani Perera

The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA) is a professional body in which its members hold leading positions across varied industries. The CIMA qualification is responsible for producing some of the best CEOs across the globe and is currently the only finance qualification with a management focus which has been the main differentiating factor that sets its apart from the rest. The CIMA Sri Lanka division is as always committed towards the betterment of its students and members. and other stakeholders. The Sunday Times spoke to Mr. Bradley Emerson, Regional Director, South Asia and Middle East of CIMA, about the 2008 performances of its Sri Lankan division.

Students studying at the library

"If you look into our past performances for the new decade the highest is recorded in the year 2004 which amounts to a student base of 3330, which is the year in which we introduced the latest examination technique CIMA CBA. Since then our averages have been around 2800 and this year we have touched the 3000 mark. This was full a year in which we implemented a marketing strategy which enabled us to cross the 3000 mark which is quite historic. Even though the last six months of this year has been extremely challenging, we have successfully weathered the storm mainly due to the strength of our brand. Waves may come and go at any time but if your pillar is strong, challenging times will not be a disadvantage. Our members, students, tuition providers and the employers forever remain passionate about our brand; during the past six months the population of our student base has increased to around 2000, despite the fact that this has been a challenging period for the CIMA Sri Lanka division", says Mr. Emerson.

Many factors have contributed towards this increase in the student population out which the strength of the brand has been its main reason which has contributed towards creating awareness among the public of the value of the CIMA qualification, not only among the Sri Lankan corporates but globally as well. This is also a year in which CIMA has had a strategic approach with regards to marketing. Another factor that contributed to the increase in the CIMA student population is due to the brand awareness created with the introduction of the CIMA Spellmaster competition during early 2008. This program helped uncovering the untapped potential that existed in the outstation areas.

CIMA Sri Lanka has now moved away from its Colombo based exclusive qualification norm to become a brand to be more inclusive providing equal opportunities to students who have the desire to acquire the CIMA qualification. Therefore this year the division consciously went out of Colombo in order to reach out to students from areas as far as Anuradhapura, Badulla, Galle , Matara and Dambulla etc. Commenting on the secret behind their success, Mr. Emerson said, "I believe that our success is mainly due to the basic 3D approach that we followed, which refers to Disruption, Differentiation and Delivery. Through differentiation we disrupted our existing business model in order to bring in a new one. After which we differentiated by positioning the Certificate in Business Accounting as a stand alone qualification and finally we delivered. We disrupted our existing business model in order to become more inclusive and to open up more channels and to take the CIMA qualification outside Colombo."

Today CIMA stands out from the rest and the Certificate of Business accounting is now positioned as a stand alone qualification, which no matter what profession that you hold can be a qualification that takes you to the top mainly because at the end of the day only numbers have the ability to do the talking that you will need to achieve maximum results. Therefore irrespective of the fact that you may be an IT or HR professional etc. you should have the ability to present your case in numbers through your proposals. The CIMA qualification gives you the skills and expertise you will require to tell your story in numbers and the CIMA brand has been positioned in a manner in which what ever profession you may choose a CIMA professional will have the ability to tell the story in numbers.

CIMA also currently enjoys the Superbrand status and has proved beyond all doubt that it is a true Superbrand by securing the confidence of the students and the tuition providers through the "storm". CIMA Sri Lanka received this prestigious status in February this year, and in addition to this the division has brought in a differential pricing system for its Sri Lankan students sitting for the CBA level which includes a GBP 5 reduction per subject. The division has also introduced a credit card payment plan from five main banks in Sri Lanka which offers student flexible payment plans for CIMA students.

"We have set the trends for ourselves which we intend to follow. We have delivered exceptional results this year through our over 3000 new students by changing the business model and through a combined efforts with out tuition providers. CIMA Sri Lanka therefore is still standing strong and will continue to reach out to a broader market segment, and we will remain dedicated towards catering to the hopes and aspirations of our students and members delivering a value for money international qualification. Our staff in the division has become more aligned to protect the brand, and despite some of the recent events that have taken place as our numbers in the end have done the talking for us", assured Mr. Emerson.

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