Thursday, 14 August 2014

August 2014 CMA Case Exam

For all of those who just wrote the August 2014 CMA case exam, please share your thoughts and comments below. Best of luck to all! 

110 comments:

  1. Holy crap. The August exam was harder than the May exam.

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  2. I took a look at the backgrounder and said... wow that looks intense

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  3. I studied a lot more for the Aug one so I feel like I did better, fingers crossed I pass! I felt like the goals and constraints were very clear in the case, regardless of the correctness of the quants, I think the most important part is to show that you reach the goal and constraints with available financing.

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  4. I think my response was strong overall both quantitatively and qualitatively except for the proforma, which was quite poor. I failed to show that one of the constraints and one of the goals were met. I showed that financing is available and that the net income target was met but didn't get a chance to show ROI or debt-to-equity ratio requirement. Am I likely to pass if most other things are done well?

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  5. 4 sets of KSFs, half year statements...lots of little nuances I hadn't seen in prior cases. That said, I did the 3rd alt first (Capital investment in equipment), NPV came out pretty high, tested the target and was able to hit it. From that point on I said screw the other two and threw my weight behind the third alt. The first alt to divest made no sense to me....why divest your most profitable division when you have a net income growth target? Maybe I'm missing something but I felt good with what I put forward.

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  6. It was a challenging case, and yes the half-year statements without a comprehensive income statement made it unique compared to the five previous case exams I simulated. As a result, I spent too much time on the current financial assessment and then was rushed through the rest of the case. Based on the identified threats (lawsuits, losing under 18 demographic, increased competition) and weaknesses associated with the tanning business, I sold the tanning business and used the proceeds to purchase F.I. I had a negative NPV on SnowX as a high-risk project, and so didn't recommend it. I was able to reach the target of net income after tax increase of 5% and did not need to access additional financing, but kept the debt/equity under 1.0. I ended up not finishing the executive summary or "polishing" up the report, but it was the best I could do in the four hours.

    This is one exam where my focus is simply on getting over that 60% hurdle in order to get to that Board Report finish line.

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  7. This was hard case compared to past exams, with so much information in different industries, it was challenging with the linking/integration. Even the financial information provided some were in millions and some were in thousands. I think everyone who made it this far could do a case analysis, but with the time constraint it was hard, CMA should have went easy on us since its like the last set of SLP students. It's hard to believe the pass rate is so high, went in the exam prepared and studied pretty hard and did practise cases. But with so much information and twists on the AI, it was overwhelming, I focussed on finishing the exam, showing my thought process and hitting each section for part marks just to show I could put together a case report even with weak quants but identifying the constraints/targets and making sure theirs sufficient funds for financing.

    I agree with everyone, this was a challenging case, where I was focussing on just passing that hurdle 60% to do the board report and reach the finish line. Hopefully the markers go easy on us, and we all pass.

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  8. Does anyone know when the marks will be released? I wrote for the second time - dying to find out. Really hard to even think about M4A1 without knowing how I did :S

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  9. two words... bell curve

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  10. I must have misread something because I didn't think it was possible to exceed debt to equity of 1 no matter what was recommended. You start off with around 72m of debt and 425m of equity ...the gap is gigantic and the two projects only cost around 120m or so? Losing the tanning business wouldn't have dropped the equity by enough either right?

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  11. Hi everyone, I passed the May exam without doing quants for the third alternative and , at best, a very basic to poor implementation plan.. However, other components were fairly complete ..You can pass!!

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    1. Do you mind telling us what mark that gave you? I'm just trying to figure out what the 60% threshold is for a paper. Obviously it depends on how you do each section but my paper was very similar to what you stated for your May exam.

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    2. I got 66%.. and I forgot to mention that I also did not have time to do Pro forma financials!

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    3. This eases my conscience a little bit - I ran out of time while I was setting up the Pro forma financials and did not complete them. I had a decent, but not outstanding, implementation plan and was able to complete the rest of the report however. So you're experience leaves me feeling encouraged - thank you!

      ....now if they could just hurry up and give us the results already! ;)

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    4. I got a 67...thought I did much better, but at the end of the day, I'm happy that I passed. I completed, formatted, linked, referenced, and spell checked, but did not bother with detailed quants for the 3rd alternative either...didn't need to in order to meet the goals and constraints (which I was sure to calculate and reference). I thought it would be better to focus on finishing. I personally think there was a lot of variance with the markers...heard of some who passed in the high 80's missing some key areas, and others failing who completed with similar quants as I had and had received ME+ in their practice exams. With the record amount of students in the last year, I'm sure there were a lot of newbie markers out to prove a point. But, I agree that with the level of difficulty the August exam presented, they should ease up a bit on their marking - it sounded much more difficult than the May exam. Good luck everyone! The wait is the hardest, as you'll start to second guess everything you did. Save your energy for Mod 4, and assume you've passed. If you learn otherwise, then give it your best in October.

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  12. anybody have n e updates on when the results are going to be published.. dying to hear something here..hha

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    1. I think it will be 6-7 weeks to give ppl adequate time to study again if they haven't already done so. Rumour is that the rewrite is Oct 29. The May exam results took 8 weeks.

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  13. well four weeks done... we enter the 5th.. not much more anxious time left.. reality check time...lol

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  14. My baby is due next week. so if i have to study during the first weeks its gonna suck...

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  15. Aug 2013 case exam results were released Sep 30 which was roughly 6 weeks after the exam date

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  16. Just got emailed my year 2 group...would however be nice to know if I passed the August case exam!?!?! Ahhhh...this wait is so brutal.

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    1. What province are you in?

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    2. For those in Ontario, the discussion board says we'll find out in October.

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    3. Alberta has their groups.

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    4. It seems Saskatchewan will have completed the 1st group assignment (M4A3) and into M4A4 by the time we get our results. :(

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  17. I find that a bit odd that the results for the whole country are not in sync... or does it just meanthat their respective groups are being prepared more then anything and that the results will come out at the same time

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  18. The wait is killing me too, fifth week is almost done...just a nervous wreck in wait!!!!!!!!!!!

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  19. I know the wait is very difficult for all of us and I know im not the only one who is losing sleep over not knowing whether they passed or will have to rewrite. In any case, I wish everyone good luck with their results, and if you do not pass, mourn for 24 hours, and move on. You will pass in Oct :)

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  20. CMA Ontario is saying the re-write is on or near October 29. That's 6 weeks tomorrow. Would they give less than 6 weeks notice? May results were out 6 weeks before the August exam although it did take 8 weeks to provide them.

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    1. Last year they gave roughly four weeks notice for the final EE rewrite so ya I can see less than six. We've always been told that it is going to be in October anyway which means we knew the min to max amount of time the rewrite could take place in.

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  21. Last I heard the results were going to be released at the end of September. And the next rewrite is October 29. It is my understanding that you are to go on the assumption that you passed and continue with Module 4, once the results are released they will assign the groups for the year including the Board Report.

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  22. CMA result out today received email!!!

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  23. Anybody in SK received their mark yet?

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  24. CMA results are out already!! email came at 15.30.

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  25. Casemaster, can you reset the pole?

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  26. Can you guys please post the link? Has anyone in Alberta recieved their mark?

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  27. There's no link, they just send you an email with your mark. Passed with 80%, thought I did terrible on the exam.

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    1. Thanks really appreciate your reply...I'm so scared. I hope I find out soon.

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  28. Passed. It was long wait, but it's over now. It's time to party.

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  29. Passed with a 66. I was high fiving people in the office.

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  30. Congrats - well deserved! You guys are so lucky...come on CMA Alberta anytime now.

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  31. Passed with an 81%, thought I did much worse.

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  32. send the link for alberta

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  33. AB does not find out until Monday...

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  34. Wow...this was posted on the RedFlagDeals forum..."From Henry at CMA AB - The August Case Exam results were released today to all Provincial Offices; we are currently preparing the unsuccessful letters. Unsuccessful Candidates will be contacted via email on Monday, September 22. All Candidates that do not receive an email from CMA Alberta by end of day Monday, passed the August Case Exam."

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  35. Why are we being punished here in Alberta?
    This is so pointless

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  36. Well you can't expect someone to work well past into home time in order to get results out right?

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    1. How so...CMA Ontario probably has more students. The Ontario office was kind enough to inform those candidates. I doubt the Ontario office worked past "home time." Further the release of results should be standardized across the country.

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    2. Yes exactly, and AB is a few hours behind Ontario so they actually have more time to release. 'Home time' is not even the issue since they won’t even be out tomorrow, it is just their process.

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  37. Passed, 84% in B.C.

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  38. Seriously...even B.C. knows. Thanks Henry.

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  39. Passed with 89%, BC

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  40. Passed with 78% here. Not an 80+ but a pass is a pass! Here I come SLP2! :D

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  41. Anyone try calling the office and see if they can get the AB results? I mean if everyone pays the same fees they should send the results out at the same time

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  42. Passed 81% Wowo!!!! 3rd time lucky!!! Someone said think "think of the audience when writing the paper rather than looking at it as an academic exam" Thank you!!! Looking forward to SLP Year 2!!

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    1. Congrats! Can't imagine the relief you're feeling =)

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  43. also passed with 77%.. ironically the same mark i got on the entrance exam.. to All those in AB all the best, hopefully the patience will be rewarded with good news.. the email i got was from CMA ontario, since All official results will be on the CMA canada webste (CPA).. maybe it was at the discretion of each provincial body... having said that if i was in AB i wouldnt really be happy about the situation.. does seem a bit unfair ....

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  44. We haven't received anything here in SK either :(

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    1. I'm DYING to know what my mark is....c'mon SK! :(

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  45. When will we find out in sask

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    1. I called the office and they said we will find out next week....UGH WHY MAKE US WAIT OVER THE WEEKEND....

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    2. it is cruel that we got to wait over the weekend... :(

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  46. Update for Albertans: As per Henry..."All unsuccessful Candidates will be contacted via email today with official marks. All successful Candidates will be contacted via email on Monday, September 22 with unofficial marks." Goodluck to everyone. I hope NOBODY gets an email from CMA Alberta today!

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  47. I am fairly disappointed...I got 91%. CMA Ontario.

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    1. Yeah that's horrible what happended to the other 9%. Just joking...nicely done.

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  48. Does anyone know what time the AB office closes? 4/5 pm local?

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  49. http://www.cma-alberta.com/About-Us/Contact-Us

    8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday - Thursday
    8:30 a.m. to noon. Friday

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  50. All emails have been sent out! Hopefully there were none missed!!

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  51. From Henry : I can confirm that all unsuccessful letters have been emailed. In AB

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  52. When will we find out in Saskatchewan?

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  53. Anybody in QC get their mark?

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  54. PASSED! 70% in Saskatchewan!

    I ran out of time and didn't complete the financial forecast, but the rest of my report must have made up for it! :)

    OMG THE RELIEF FEELS SO GOOD

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  55. Where did you see the mark? Is it under "My program" in CMA-CPP website?

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  56. Passed 78% in SK - It was under Case Examination - Solare Consulting in My Progress. I confirmed with the office that that is where they put the marks.

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    1. Congratulation!! Thank you.

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  57. I think the Alberta and Quebec coordinators are in a competition to see who can be the slowest in releasing the marks.

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  58. AB anyone got the email of their marks yet??

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  59. Passed - BC...Thank you guys for the tips...Good Luck to those still waiting!!!

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  60. Yes, I've got my mark. Passed

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  61. AB - got my email and passed! :D

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  62. I got an unofficial mark of 64%. I passed!!

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    1. Do you mind mentioning what sections you completed and didn't complete and/or where you felt you were strong or weak?

      I'm curious to see what a near 60% paper looks like.

      Still haven't received my mark...

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    2. Well from a 51% to 81% - its definitely how well you can sell your paper. how organised you are.

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  63. Passed 88% After a miserable failed attempt in May. Live to fight another day!

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  64. 75% YAY!!!!! in AB

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  65. Congrats all!! Year 2 is fun, but a lot of work. You're almost there. :)

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  66. I can't believe the difference between the May poll and the August poll. It makes it look like they marked the May exam with extreme prejudice (or perhaps people who failed the August exam just don't feel like voting?)

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  67. Still no marks from CMA Quebec?

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  68. Grats to all who passed the August CMA exam! I got 75% from MONTREAL!

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  69. Good Luck to those who need to do the rewrite in October. You all could pass! Stay positive! Practice the past exams and make sure you write something for each section for part marks. CMA is looking for the format and linkages to the SWOT, not necessarily accurate quants (reasonable ), just make sure you have sufficient funds to finance your alternatives and link everything. I honestly thought I failed the August exam because of my weak quants and started studying for the rewrite but passed with 75%! I stuck to the format, linkages, reasonable quants and sufficient financing for my alternatives. Time yourself and practice. You could all pass! Good Luck!

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement as I'm rewriting next week. As soon as I wrote the August Exam, after I got feedback from my friends I thought I'll fail and I did fail. My quants too was weak though I spent the majority of the time on quants which led to incomplete Financial Forecast and Implementation Plan. I have a question, if your quants were weak, how did you make the recommendations and conclusion with out the correct figures? Thanks in advance for any response.

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  70. October candidates: you can do this! Some tips: Mission copy as is, I went a step further saying something about it.
    - Vision
    - KSF industry - these you get from BG
    - KSF Co- this you get from the SWOT
    - SH preferences: you can identify some from BG
    - Ratios - believe me not, I did this almost at the end. I memorized what each ratio was and I only did those that related to the case. I did 4 but again only those related to the case.
    These may change with the AI provided so once you read the AI you will know what ratios are relevant.
    Identification of alternatives:
    - Identify, REFERENCE is critical
    - 4 pros and cons
    - Minor alternatives
    - same as above
    I used tables - practice them so you dont waste time - more organised and looks presentable

    - Operational issues Aim for 10 from BG to AI. I had almost 12. make your marks here and in recommendation
    Dont forget to solve the weaknesses of the alternative recommended
    - They say decision matrix has no marks but Do It! I did it!


    So, let me also tell you something that will motivate you: This was my 3rd attempt. I did the 1st and failed with 51%, second attempt 51% then the last attempt I had 81% so hang tight and think professionally. You know it all, but how are you selling your paper - thats all it is. Presentation, recommendation and implementation.
    For the quants: Show you are calculating the target ad constraint in all alternatives.
    If I could make it, anyone can! Hope this helps...
    Good Luck!

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    1. Thank you for your valuable tips. I cannot rewrite a third time. Oct 29th will be the last attempt for all. I have a couple of questions: What did you mean by "REFERENCE". And, when you said "4 pros and cons" do you mean 2 pros and 2 cons? And did you link all of them? Thank you in advance.

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  71. I did not ratios at all (no time) and I have passed!

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    1. So, what do you think made you pass. I am going to write the October case exam, even with some practice its taking about half an hour to complete the Ratio Analysis.

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    2. Ratios screwed me on the October exam. I spent 30 minutes on template + ratios. TOTAL WASTE! I was squeezed on time to finish. In my practice exams I spent 16 mins max on this. I did not analyze minor alternative of Conveyor belt option at all. I IDD it though.

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  72. 87%, first attempt! In my opinion is important to give them what they ask for in all categories, not what you think you need to do (such as perfect quants). Study the marking rubric and ensure you are answering every point in its entirety and prove your statements with valid arguments. Study up on some boiler plate responses to operating issues like forming a committee to solve employee morale issues. By the way this example was taken from one of the answer key to a successful write. Study them!

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  73. I passed with 81%. I hope this helps, please don’t spend too much time on making the ratio analysis accurate, it does not have to be. Calculate 4 ratios for 3 years and analyse the result. Touch on 3 points: 1. What does this ratio signal for the company (good or Bad) 2. If the current trend continues, what will happen(become efficient or bankrupt) 3. What should be done to correct the situation ( don’t change because already favorable or make changes to correct inefficiency )

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    1. Thank you for the advise. But for me it will definitely take a good half an hour. With a one liner for analyzing each ratio, I could reduce to twenty minutes, but its still more than the fifteen minutes recommended time. I think I will do the ratios in the end. Thanks again.

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    2. Typically, there should be two ratios that are relevant from the BG. and two from the AI depending on what the issue is. You should practice over and over again the two ratios and what you might suspect could be the other ratios. keep doing it until it is muscle memory and almost have the numbers, how to calculate it, and implications memorized.

      write and rewrite a generic intro (purpose, scope), generic conclusion, and practice till you no longer need to think about it. This will save alot of time sitting there thinking about what to write and I dont think there are huge marks to be gained here.

      Keep practicing till your time becomes less and less to hit those parts. If you do this, you can have the intro, ratios-analysis, conclusion, the outline, some of the other situation analysis components all done in less than 30 mins and be ready for the alternatives by 40-45min mark.

      Every op weakness identified in the AI, should be written down in the SWOT AND in the operational issue section, you can either finish the op issues right there and then or do it later on. For me, I put them down in the op issues and addressed it, moved on and never looked at it again for the duration of the test. This way, by the time i finished my alternatives, the op issues were mostly completed and saveed me alot of time having to go back look for the issue again and think about how I would solve it. Look on all previous exams on how they treat certain op issues, you can also find it on google for the most common ones like employee morale, unethical behaviours, internal control issues and how to solve them. Know them, so when you come cross that op issue, you can put down an answer(you already learnt) without thinking too much about it

      This strategy should leave you with 2.5 ish hours to hit your major components.







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    3. Thank you so much for sharing your experience and giving very valuable tips.

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  74. For those who wrote the OCtober Case, can you post what calculations you used for each alternative? I do not think I did well and just want to establish a baseline to get an idea of how badly I performed.

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  75. Casemaster,

    I analysed 1 main alternative well and completed quants for the other 2 alternatives in a superficial way and completed all other areas of the exam inclding addressing constraints and targets, did I most likely fail?

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  76. For the October exam, I panicked so much on this exam. I basically could not tie things through even though I had a clear idea of the main issues. Don't think I will make it to CMA year 2. Had everything down pat from quality management to ERP but just froze on the exam.
    I did good executive summary that highlighted strategic issues, and operational issues with recommendation and goal. Good situational analysis except 'threats' on SWOT. I got all the major and minor alternatives down. Did not link the alternatives to mission and vision but linked it to stakeholder preference, goals and targets and some swot. Did valuation for first quant. Calculated outsourcing with savings and using PV and payback since it was less than $1 million; came to conclusion that in 70 days the company will get the $200,000 in savings. Tested my goals and constraints properly for all alternatives with audit trails. For the third alternative, I had major issue of not using CM by assembly hours, I ran out of time and quickly used direct labor hours.

    Got a solid recommendation that stated to:
    1. Invest in ACS
    2. Outsource the wood shop
    3. Drop product lines with low CM

    Then I drew decision matrix to support these recommendations.

    For implementation plan,
    I used
    Strategic Management issue of decentralized work place and aligning corporate policies with ACS workforce.
    Another con addressed here was of financing the alternatives.

    Then I focused on AI operational issues:
    Basically in all of the issues listed here, I stated the issue, the consequence of that issue and recommendation for the issue.
    I could only get 3-4 issues down here as I was running out of time.

    Then I talked about performance management and dividing the company performance structure in following format:
    Cost Centers
    Profit Centers
    Investment Center

    Employees in cost center will be rewarded on meeting budgeted costs
    Employees in profit center will be rewarded on meeting operating profit target and controlling costs
    Investment center will be used for managers as they will be rewarded based on ROI of investments.

    Finally I talked a little bit about quality and total quality management (TQM), I described what TQM is, and I also stated how it is used in other industries.

    Then I drew an action plan, which was weak as I only had 6-7 points and it should have had at least 10 based on my recommendations.

    Then I concluded.

    I WAS SO NERVOUS that I continuously stopped writing and I had to focus in. Overall, I think this won't get me a pass.

    Thoughts??

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    1. You seem to have written excellent. If you don't pass who else can?!

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  77. I think the Oct case exam marks are released. Can you please let me know the pass rate?

    Thanks

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