Program Overview:

Certified Management Accountant: Next offering June 2014

The CMA® (Certified Management Accountant) is the advanced professional certification specifically designed to measure the accounting and financial management skills that drive business performance. Achieving the CMA® credential demonstrates your mastery of financial planning, analysis, control and decision support, as well as professional ethics. Successful completion of Northwestern University School of Continuing Studies test preparation program will position you for the next phase of your career by preparing you for the CMA® exam.

Why Pursue the CMA?

The CMA is the advanced professional certification specifically designed to measure the advanced accounting and financial management skills that drive business performance in today’s complex and challenging business environment. The CMA is tailor-made for finance and accounting professionals at all levels, whether you want to enhance your value to your current organization or expand your career potential. Earning the CMA will make you part of a network of nearly 40,000 credentialed peers worldwide.

Leading employers seek to hire and promote CMAs. Companies such as 3M, Alcoa, AT&T, Bank of America, Boeing, Cargill, Caterpillar, ConAgra, Hewlett-Packard, Johnson & Johnson, Microsoft, Procter & Gamble and Verizon have CMAs in key management roles. 

Program Goals

This program will:

  • Prepare individuals for the content tested on the CMA exam.
  • Provide a professional development tool for helping individuals advance their career in accounting, finance or business management.

Please note that this is a test preparation course that is designed to review accounting concepts that students should already be familiar with. This course doesn't teach new material.

Study Materials

Northwestern University offers an instructor-led CMA exam preparation course. The centerpiece of our offering is the Wiley CMA Learning System (CMALS), a comprehensive program that includes textbooks and online practice tests. This approach combines printed materials and online components with the expertise of an instructor and the discipline of a classroom setting. These instructor-led review courses will be delivered in two convenient courses, mirroring the two parts of the CMA exam.

Online and In-Person Learning to Fit Your Schedule

To best meet the needs of working professionals, we will offer the CMA program in a blended format with in-person classes and lectures that are both streamed live and are recorded.  So if you are traveling for work or need to miss a week for other commitments, you can catch up be viewing the lecture online.  You can even view it in real-time and ask questions if you can't make it to the Loop for class.

Exam Structure

Exam Structure:

PART I – Financial Planning, Performance and Controls
(4 hours – 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)

  • Planning, budgeting and forecasting
  • Performance measurement
  • Cost management
  • Internal controls
  • Professional ethics

PART II – Financial Decision Making
(4 hours – 100 multiple choice questions and two 30-minute essay questions)

  • Financial statement analysis
  • Corporate finance
  • Decision analysis and risk management
  • Investment decisions
  • Professional ethics

Please note that candidates for the CMA exam may sit for Parts I and II in any order.  

Obtaining Your CMA from the IMA

The Institute of Certified Management Accountants developed the CMA® in 1972 to provide an objective measure of an individual’s knowledge and competence in the field of management accounting. To achieve CMA certificate, professionals meet the following criteria as of February 2014:

  • Active membership in the Institute of Management Accountants
  • Pay the CMA Entrance Fee
  • Satisfy the Education Qualification
  • Satisfy the Experience Qualification
  • Complete all required examination parts
  • Comply with the IMA Statement of Ethical Professional Practice

To learn details about each criteria, please visit

Certificate Requirements

Northwestern University CMA® courses are scheduled to align with the testing windows during which a candidate can sit for an exam at Prometric Testing Centers.  

Part I: Financial Planning, Performance and Control (30 hours of classroom instruction)  

  • Offered in summer for the September and October cycle 

Part II: Financial Decision Making (36 hours of classroom instruction) 

  • Offered in fall for the January and February cycle


Core Courses:

  • MGMT_ACT 301-0 Financial Plan, Perf & Control
  • MGMT_ACT 302-0 Financial Decision Making