The CIMA qualification is not essential to success in most areas of consulting. It is also a reasonably significant time commitment (depending on how you study and how much study leave your firm allows).
However, I would recomend the qualification to any consulting graduate for a number of reasons.
- Differentiation on the job market. For the reasons given above, most people do not choose to study CIMA. In a growing pool of generalists, the qualification will differentiate you when applying for new roles outside your firm and also open up other opportunities.
- Differentiation internally. Particularly the financial accounts modules. Understanding performance ratios and interpreting balance sheets is a real technical skill that most consultants don't have. This may not differentiate you day to day, but you will be more confident in this area when it arises. It could also protect you in a downturn.
- On the job performance. Obviously it's aimed at a wide range of students so you may find some of the earlier modules quite basic. However, it's excellent problem solving practice and aside from the 'accounts' modules, other content is very relevant to most day to day consulting roles. It will be particularly useful if your degree is not specifically business/economics.
- Job satisfaction. Consulting grads more than most will find themselves worrying about where they're heading. In my experience, studying CIMA provided some direction and satisfied me that, coupled with my project experience, I will be respected in business after finishing the grad scheme.
Obviously, it's not guaranteed that you will experience all or any of these benefits. Just remember that CIMA is more likely to have an indirect impact on your career (you're not an accountant afterall), but you might just enjoy learning something again.