For turnaround professionals, the Certified Turnaround Professional (CTP) and Certified International Turnaround Manager (CITM) certifications are quickly becoming a must-have. In an interview with eFinancialCareers, Jennifer Bethke, director of education for the Turnaround Management Association (TMA), a non-profit industry association and the CTP standards group, describes the process to obtain the CTP as a rather rigorous one, requiring a series of tests, case studies and confidential client references.
The CTP Certification Specifics
Specifically, the CTP process involves an application portfolio, which details experience, as well as a three-part exam covering law, management and accounting/finance. Bethke notes, “You need to have five years [of] real world experience in professional turnaround before you can pursue the CTP.” To retain the certification, there is a requirement to remain active as a turnaround professional and complete at least 50 hours of continuing professional education during each two-year period, including two hours of ethics credits. The TMA also offers the Certified Turnaround Professional-Designate (CTP-D) certification, an interim step to obtaining full certification for professionals who have not yet acquired the necessary experience, but who show proficiency in the legal, managerial and financial aspects of a turnaround.
With a Downturn Comes Opportunities
As turnaround experts grow in the marketplace, especially given the economic downturn, so too has the profile and importance of the related certifications. “The number of applications for the CTP has increased in the past six months, due to the validity of the designation and how it helps demonstrate your experience in your field,” says Bethke. “With the increase in distressed companies, it’s also increasing opportunities for turnaround experts. The CTP gives you a leg up for the job. There are some companies that will only hire CTPs, and there’s an aura that they are the best of the best.”
The Universe of CTPs
The vast majority of turnaround professionals work independently or for small specialized turnaround firms, especially those with the CTP. “Many CFOs ultimately enter the world of turnaround professional, since they have a passion for business. CTPs are about saving companies and not simply selling assets and moving on.” However, Bethke notes that the CTP certification is becoming more prevalent for professionals working at large consultancies, given the nature of their work. Besides turnaround practitioners and consultants, interim CEOs, workout lenders, private equity professionals, corporate attorneys and portfolio managers have also pursued the designation.
Souping Up the Resume
Speaking with eFinancialCareers, turnaround consultant John Collard estimates that about two-thirds of the people with the CTP title are working in the turnaround business. And, of that number, the bulk are working independently from deal to deal. “When you work for yourself, you need the CTP to grow,” Collard adds. Another third of the people holding the CTP, he notes, are MBAs and others with relevant experience looking to soup up their finance skills and resume. He describes the CTP as fairly similar to the CFA and CPA, in that it combines industry expertise and an examination process. Collard holds the CTP and CITM and serves as chairman of Strategic Management Partners, a turnaround management firm. Collard is past chairman of the TMA.
Earning the CITM
Similar to the CTP, the CITM requires testing and real world expertise. However, the CITM has four different levels from A to D, depending on theoretical knowledge and years of practical experience. The Turnaround Management Society (TMS), a Hamburg, Germany-based trade association and standards organization, developed the Certified International Turnaround Manager (CITM) program. Collard acknowledges that professionals working outside of the U.S. hold the CITM at a greater rate, but the designation can also be helpful for U.S.-based turnaround experts, especially as they deal with businesses operating on a global basis. The CITM expires after four years if the qualified person stops working in the industry, does not keep up-to-date with industry developments, and does not participate in any qualification or training from the TMS.