‘Forging a successful career requires a certain amount of personal flexibility ’

This is my final column as CIMA president and it has given me the opportunity to reflect on my experiences over the past year. Without doubt, what has impressed me most is the determination and commitment of our members and students across the world to succeed.

I am the first to admit that the CIMA syllabus is tough. Forging a successful career in business also requires a certain amount of personal flexibility and this can take its toll on our nearest and dearest. But, as I come to the end of my presidential year, I’d like to leave you with one message: never give up.

When I started my career I had a burning ambition to join the Indian Air Force. This dream was thwarted because I had no formal education and didn’t have the right qualifications for entry.

But I was determined to improve my circumstances and set out instead to develop a career in business. CIMA was clearly the best qualification for the job, even back in the 1960s.

With all my family commitments, it took me a considerable amount of time to get through the syllabus. But I managed to succeed, mainly by studying during the early morning when the rest of the family were asleep.

But it would have been much tougher had I not had the unstinting support of my wife and extended family.

I know this is true for many CIMA students and I have a deep appreciation not only for those who achieve membership, but also for the people around them who provide that essential moral support.

Some of the most enjoyable events I have attended over the past 12 months were the CIMA convocations. It is always moving to see the pride on the faces of wives and husbands, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles – all those who have provided support because they understand the value of the qualification and how it can change lives for the better.

When I was a child I went to see an Indian film in which a little boy would sit out under a street lamp each evening so that he could continue his studies. The memory of this film has stayed with me because I perceived that I was that little boy who wanted to succeed. I studied hard and grasped opportunities. I didn’t give up, even when I faced setbacks.

As a result, I have been able to enjoy a fulfilling career and some wonderful experiences as president of CIMA.

Another strong memory from my presidential year is of meeting successful members of other institutes who have committed to studying for the CIMA qualification as well.

Through a wide variety of first-class events that CIMA organises around the world, an increasing percentage of the global business community is acknowledging the potential that the CGMA designation has to offer.

I never fulfilled my dream of flying for a living. But, to my enormous pride, one of my sons is now in the UK’s Royal Air Force. Today I am a proud parent and a proud president.

I have been particularly impressed by the strength of the institute’s community and the hard work that CIMA staff are putting into making the institute even bigger and better.

As I step down, I thank all those people who are making the CIMA story such a success and look forward to seeing the institute go from strength to strength. I leave you with my personal motto for success, which I call “the three Ds”: dedication, dedication and dedication.

Illustration: Masao Yamazaki/Dutch Uncle

20/05/2013

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