Steve Christos Case Study

How a busy father of 3 passed the CMA exams the first try within 10 months


“Having a CMA would give me credibility”

Steve Christos works full time as a Strategic Account Manager at InsightSoftware. He’s also a busy dad with three kids, 14, 12, and 9.

In early 2016, he decided to take the CMA exam. Even though he’s in sales, not accounting, he knew it would give him more credibility when talking to clients.

“For my current role, I’m constantly in boardrooms doing presentations in front of comptrollers and VPs of Finance. Having a CMA would give me credibility that I know what I’m talking about.”

Since he wanted to pass both parts of the exam within a year, he knew he’d need help. Self-study wouldn’t do it, he needed and immersive course that would walk him step-by-step through everything he needed to know to pass the first time.

After looking at courses offered by big companies, he ultimately decided he wanted coaching that was more personal and intimate. So he joined the CMA Exam Academy.

“I liked the small town feel of CMA Exam Academy. And Nathan seemed like an honest guy.”

“Those videos are priceless in helping you understand the material”

When he joined the course, he immediately got access to a text book, weekly training modules, video lectures, questions banks, and a whole lot more.

While he found material like the textbook and video modules helpful, he learned that going through training material alone was challenging.

“In my mind, there’s a gap between the reading material and the questions they ask you on a mock exam. Books are good at teaching you concepts and theories but they don’t help you apply it to real life. It can be daunting to go from textbook to mock questions.”

That’s why for Steve, the most valuable piece of the course wasn’t just the books and training. It was the personal support and mini-explanation videos custom made by the CMA Exam Academy staff to answer specific questions from students.

“I remember I had a question on Inventory Evaluation. Someone else had already asked the same one and Nathan had made a video explaining it. I watched the 3 minute video where he went through the answer and it all made perfect sense after that.”

“Those videos, where he’s reviewing people’s questions and concerns, are priceless in helping you understand the material.

“You’re going to be unstoppable now”

Keep in mind, Steve had not spent anytime preparing for the CMA exam before 2016. And yet, following along the course, he passed part 2 in May, then part 1 in October.

Within 10 months of joining the program, he was a Certified Management Accountant.

“I doubt I would have passed the CMA exam if it wasn’t for this course.”

With that certification, Steve immediately got the respect and credibility he’d been hoping for.

“A lot of my customers are some of the biggest firms globally, like Blackstone Investments, Chipotle, and Coors. They all recognize what the CMA is what it takes to get it.

For example, I remember talking to the CFO of KindBars about the CMA. When I told him I’d passed the exam he told me ‘You’re going to be unstoppable now.”

Even though Steve likes his job and has no plans to leave, once he got his CMA, he got a flood of unexpected job offers.

“There’s been more offers from some of my clients to work internally for them. They’ve offered me roles like Director of Financial Planning and Analysis.”

Having that CMA certification has opened plenty of doors in case he ever decides to move on.

How’d he find the time?

How does someone working full-time, with three kids, find time to prepare and pass both exams on his first try?

When we asked him, here’s what he said:

“I put in about 10-15 hours/week. I’d wake up early and get an hour in before making the kids breakfast. I travel a bit so got a lot done on airplanes.

I’ve done the Ironman before and it’s the same concept. If you want to do it, you’ll find the time to do it.”

Even though it was no small investment in time or money,, it proved to be well worth it.  

“Anything you want to do in life that’s going to be beneficial is going to cost money. But you got to invest in yourself, in this day and age no one else is gonna do it for you.”

Study smarter, not harder, and pass the CMA on your first try

If you want more respect at work, higher pay, and more opportunity to advance and make an impact, then the CMA certification is your ticket.

To learn more about the course Steven used to pass both exams on his first try, click here.