How Winning the Global Top Student Award at CIM Enriched My Life at JKH

I am honoured to have received the ‘Top Student in Sri Lanka’ and ‘Top Student in the World’ medals for the Charted Institute of Marketing (CIM) level 7 – Postgraduate Diploma in Professional Marketing in 2021. This was a notable achievement, as I was successful in completing the final stage within a year and graduating with distinctions in all the module assignments while simultaneously working as a Manager – Planning & Strategy at Ceylon Cold Stores (CCS)– Frozen Confectionery. With English as second language, it was quite a privilege to be on top of the world too, metaphorically!

During the COVID-19 lockdown, I had some spare time while working-from-home, and I decided to continue my professional development. I had taken a break since my MBA two years ago and CIM was suggested to me as a part of the development plan, and I responded positively. I was curious to explore new concepts, and this was the first time I challenged myself to get qualified in a new discipline and futureproof my career. 2021 was not a normal year, with many personal and professional obstacles. We had to rush to recover from the dip and fluctuations seen in the market despite working from home, and I had a role change during early 2021 which I had to familiarize myself with. Amidst the chaos and the supportive work culture at CCS, I found the inspiration for my topic with a unique perspective.

I am now a fully qualified Finance Business Partner with CIMA and ACCA memberships. Usually, finance and marketing do not mix, and business partnering was an emerging role in Sri Lanka, often misunderstood. However, CCS recognized my talents and I was given the opportunity to move into operational areas as well, gaining a strong foundation to become an all-rounder in finance. I am involved in strategy planning, sales and operations planning, budget management, analytics initiatives, and projects coordination. Interestingly, I brought what I learnt about strategy planning at CIM to the workplace, and used my practical business experience for my academic assignments. My presentations became interesting, visually appealing, and thought-provoking.

I would advise my peers to have timelines and a plan, check frequently with the tutor when doing assignments if the work is in line with the learning outcomes, and read, read, read! If you are married and a female, have a discussion with your family about external commitments and identify the ones you can deprioritize. Choose a productive time slot to gather insight, practice calculations, reviewing theory, assess application, and write section by section. If it is a written exam, practice makes perfect. We never know till when these online classes will last, so let’s make the maximum use out of it!