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Louise Alice Thomas

Department for International Development

“My CIMA qualification continues to help me perform well in general management and leadership roles”

Education: Masters in public administration (MPA), University of Warwick

Why did you decide to take on the CIMA qualification in addition to your MPA?
I was interested in pursuing a financial qualification that was relevant to both the public and private sector.

The CIMA qualification is internationally recognised and it demonstrates a commitment to a common and understood standard of ethics and competence in financial management.

It’s an excellent opportunity to build on your skills and gain a well-recognised professional qualification without necessarily having to study for four years!

What additional skills have you gained from studying a CIMA qualification as well as an MPA?
The CIMA qualification built on many aspects of my MPA and working life; going into more depth and using different analytical approaches to what I’d done before.

The syllabus which took me beyond my MPA was the F3 paper on financial strategy. It was really interesting to learn more about cost-benefit analysis and different approaches to discount rates and then apply these to new programmes in my work.

The final exam also pushed me on integrated thinking, logical presentation and time management.

Tell us about your current role and what you most enjoy about it?
The Department for International Development is a UK government department, which leads Britain’s fight against global poverty.

I head a team of ten people who provide support to programme and policy teams on their financial, people and project management.

As well as supporting high profile teams, I enjoy making the links between these different work areas – whether it’s getting country teams with similar issues to join up their thinking, or helping my team make connections between finance, HR, planning, statistics, risk and strategy.

How do you see CIMA contributing to your future career progression?
My CIMA qualification continues to help me perform well in general management and leadership roles.

And if I ever decide to move outside the public sector, CIMA will be something I can point to, to help people understand what skills I can offer.

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