Wednesday, 16 April 2014

CMA Case Exam Pass Rate

The CMA Case Exam is almost here and I know that some students are letting their nerves get the best of them. I want to share the cma case exam pass rate that my group experienced to help ease your mind a bit:

I wrote the CMA Case Exam in May 2009 and in our group of about 23 students, 17 passed on the first attempt. The remainder of the students passed on their second attempt (they re-wrote in August). Once we started year 2 of the SLP, our entire group was still there. So our group's pass rate after the August re-write was 100%.

Good Luck - you will be in convocation in no time!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Please send me your email...

Someone whose name begins with 'J' sent an amazon.ca gift card today but did not iclude their email address.... Please email me so that I can send you the template.

Thanks,
CM

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

CMA Board Report Presentation - Slides

During the CMA Board Report Presentation there are so many variables (you cannot control what your team members will say and how they will say it, you cannot predict the type of questions that will be asked nor can you anticipate the type of board panel personalities and their likes and dislikes, and you never know just how nervous you will get). But, you CAN  control one thing, and it is the power point presentation that you prepare for the CMA Board Report Presentation. You have a lot of time to work on it so it better be perfect.
Unless the rules changed from when I presented, we had to give copies of our entire presentation to the whole Board Panel and this ensured that they will not forget or miss anything in it that they liked or disliked. I believe that the slides are VERY important to your final mark in the presentation and to the overall impression that you make on the panel so do not rush through it and make sure that the slides are as good as you can get them. There is no excuse for errors because you have a lot of time to prepare and perfect them. Below are the principles that we applied to putting our slides together for our CMA Board Report Presentation.

Some Notes on Slides:
Slides are not a transcript for what you are going to say, rather they should be a visual representation/point form summary of what you are going to say during the time the slide will be up. You do not want the audience to be busy reading your slides while you are talking. You want them to glance at the slide, and get an idea of what you are about to discuss.


Do:
  • Use visual components such as images, graphs, charts, colours, directional arrows, etc. to draw the viewers and keep their attention and interest. Be creative but also professional. 
  • Make sure the images add impact/value and that the image message corresponds to the slide content. 
  • Make sure that the font is big enough to see across the room.
  • Include the group logo/name on each slide as well as the name of the person presenting
  • Keep a consistent style theme among slides, as well as the same title fonts, sizes and colors.
  • Include a cover page - on the cover include such things as the group logo/name, the company name and date of the presentation.
  • Apply an engaging yet professional background in line with the overall style theme. If relevant and possible try to relate the theme and style to the case if possible (for example, a case on lawns and gardens can have a green color theme).
  • Include a slide with the company's mission/vision - especially when the case does not have a stated mission/vision but rather an implied one. This should be among the first few slides. 
  • Include a slide that discusses the current situation and what you will be helping the company achieve. 
  • Include an agenda of what you will discuss, in what order and who on your team will discuss each of these. One thing our moderators liked was to have the name of the speaker in the corner of each slide that he/she was presenting so that the audience always knew who is speaking. 
  • Include the summary /key numbers only for financials (a chart/graph or other visual representation of the financials would be good), not the entire NPV calculations or pro-forma. See note on back up slides - that is where the details will be.
  • Remember that the key to the presentation is to convince the board that your recommendations will help the company achieve their goal
  • Keep the bullet points short - you will provide the details when you speak
  • Prepare back up slides with the details to everything in your report in case it comes up in the Q&A so that you can show the details. That way when the question comes up about say 'what were your assumptiosn when calculating NPV' you can flip to one of your back-up slides and show it to the audience. I will do a post specifically on this sometime soon because our moderators showed us a very effective way of setting up the back up slides to make them easier to navigate, especially since we had almost 100 back-up slides. 
  • Have a slide at the end of your presentation with something like 'Q&A' on it so that you can keep this slide on during the Q&A portion.
  • Focus your presentation on the alternatives that you are recommending while briefly touching on those that you are not recommending and why.
  • Use a visual way to show the action plan instead of providing slide after slide with names and what they should do. A visual task and time lines chart will show the overall action plan for the company and give a sense of the time lines and resource commitments.
  • Check the spelling and grammar
  • Ensure that you are referring to the company management properly (use Mr. Green or John Green instead of 'Green' or 'John' or 'CEO').

Do Not:
  • Use smiley faces and cartoon characters (yes, I have seen some groups do that!)
  • Go over board on icons, images, photos or colors.
  • Show up with a slide presentation consisting of regular black font on white background bullet points, page after page.
  • Use the slides as a transcript of your speech
  • Do not over crowd the slides 
  • Spend more than 90 seconds per slide
  • Include every single detail from your report in the slides 
  • Include entire financials in the slides
  • Spend a lot of slide space discussing the pros of alternatives that you are not recommending.
  • Use negative terms when talking about the company (instead of saying 'operational issues' which suggest the company has 'issues', you may prefer to say 'operational recommendations' - this is a more positive way to present the same information)
  • Spend too much time discussing the pros of alternatives that you are not recommending.
  • Use slang or Internet jargon 

Remember, the key is 'engaging yet professional'

Image courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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