CICP Road Diary: Entry #1

It's been just short of two weeks since my last entry here, and let me freely admit that although I've spent much of that time catching up on my CICP modules, I still remain a tad behind on the program.
In addition to offering a layman's perspective into the nuts and bolts of the CICP program and what it requires of its pupils, this series will also, in all likelihood, give you a glimpse into the production schedule of Business Credit magazine since, when I'm not working through my CICP modules and learning to calculate ratios for the first time in who knows how long, I'll be working on articles for that publication, or for eNews, or working on advocacy initiatives as they come up.

Currently, I've been at work on a feature article for the April 2011 issue, one that has occupied much of my time and will focus on customer relationships between sellers and buyers in countries facing political turmoil. I got the idea from watching the ongoing revolts and uprisings in Libya and Bahrain and the revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and elsewhere in the region. While time spent researching and interviewing isn't exactly time spent going through the class, in a way, even as I worked through the CICP modules, I felt like I was helping my article, since certain class topics (especially those on the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA)) seemed to speak directly to what I was writing about.

Also, in the process of writing the article, I've spoken to other credit professionals, ones with business ties to the Middle East and North Africa, and it's remarkable how similar the things they've said are to the things the CICP course says. It's never been clearer to me that the class was created by people who manage risk, and have managed risk, successfully, everyday, in some of the least hospitable places on the planet. Each has reinforced the other for me; the quotes I've gotten from credit professionals seem stronger when they're nearly identical to things included in the course, and the things in the course seem more applicable when they're echoed by other credit professionals.
In any case, we've reached the break week that comes in the middle of every CICP course, which will allow students like myself to catch up and poke through the discussion boards to see what everyone's been talking about. I've been doing that on and off since I began the course, but I've mainly been focusing on getting through the modules, and getting up to speed. I'm looking forward to seeing all the good conversations I've missed, and hoping not to miss any in the second half of the course, which officially begins next week.

I know I've said a lot about how behind I am, and how my other professional obligations have gotten in the way, but I hope that doesn't fool you into thinking that this is too much for a professional to handle. Firstly, if I may make a suggestion, don't start the CICP program when you're on vacation in Mexico. I can't stress that enough. I know it's lovely down there, but try not to.
However, if you do that, like I did, and end up behind your classmates, the most important thing is not to let that convince you that the course can't be completed. The CICP program seems to have been designed with the knowledge that it's inevitable that some people will fall behind, whether due to a sudden influx of increased work responsibilities or ill-timed vacations or anything else you can think of. Things can seem a little daunting, sure, and it's hard work, but as long as you make the time to go through it, and work out an efficient studying procedure, it'll all work out. I'm going to complete it. I'm sure of it, and I'm sure you can complete it too.
Till next time,
~Jake

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