Q&A with Daniel Michener, CFE

Daniel Michener of Minnesota received his CFE credential this past fall after attending a CFE Exam Review Course.. Daniel feels that the CFE credential has opened his eyes to other areas of fraud he wouldn’t normally investigate and that it will help his credibility as an investigator. When Daniel is not working, he trains judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu because he enjoys the challenge of the workout. Daniel also enjoys playing the guitar and traveling.

Coach: When did you receive your CFE credential?

Michener: I received my CFE credential in August of 2018.

Coach: After attending the CFE Exam Review Course, you sat for the CFE Exam on-site. Please describe your experience of participating in the four-day course and sitting for the exam immediately afterward.

Michener: The four-day course and exam are incredibly quick and thorough. The instructors were fantastic at presenting the material and keeping the class moving along. I really enjoyed the training. I think the high-speed atmosphere forced me to focus on the material as I was more engaged. Taking the exams each day puts pressure on you to stay on task and follow along; it’s difficult to daydream!

Coach: What did you like most about the CFE Exam Review Course?

Michener: I thought the material was relevant and encompassed the spectrum of fraud topics. There was some material I was already comfortable with from my work, but I found most of the topics to be new concepts. So I enjoyed the challenge of learning new material.

Coach: In what ways do you feel that your new CFE credential will be beneficial to you in your current profession?

Michener: As a police officer, I am called to testify on cases. I believe the CFE credential will help in my credibility as an investigator and when I am called to present evidence in court. Second, the CFE credential has opened my eyes to other areas of fraud I don’t normally investigate. It has also given me the opportunity to connect with people in the private sector. Building partnerships between law enforcement and private enterprises is so important to serving the public overall. Law enforcement can’t do it alone, so those connections are needed.

Coach: How did you prepare yourself to sit for the exam on-site? Did you spend any additional time studying after class each day?

Michener: I had to take advantage of the breaks. I have never been a person who can simply read a chapter and then take a test on it; I need to take my notes and the readings and rewrite them. This type of drill was important in retaining and understanding key terms and concepts. I found that studying after each class was difficult. The days are long and you cram in so much material, so you need a break. That’s why I spent several months studying prior to taking the exam. My goals were to walk into the course feeling comfortable with the material and to tighten up any areas I was weak in.

Coach: Would you recommend this course to your colleagues?

Michener: I would recommend the Review Course because it will enhance your skills and reenergize you to approach your work when you get back home. It will open your eyes to a large field of study and the potential to become an expert in certain areas.

Coach: How did you become passionate about fighting fraud?

Michener: I actually became interested in money laundering several years ago. I never thought I would take this career path, but my interest in financial crimes pushed me into fraud investigations. I enjoy the challenge and learning new skills and techniques for my career. It is a tough subject and requires constant attention to details, but it is rewarding when you see the results and understand the nature of the case.

Coach: Now that we know what you do professionally, what do you like to do for fun and what do you find enjoyable about it?

Michener: I train judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Besides the intense workouts, it is always a challenge. No matter how good you get, there is always someone better. The pressure teaches you to relax during stressful moments and think your way through a problem. I also play some guitar, and I love to travel. I’ve been to Brazil, Morocco, Spain, Iceland, and England. I enjoy all of these activities because they force me to get out of my comfort zone and try new things.

Coach: Do you have any study tips or suggestions for aspiring CFEs?

Michener: Start early! Sign up for the Review Course as soon as you can and take the exams on the CFE Exam Prep Course. I knocked out the larger review sessions first, and then I did the practice exams. Because you can take the practice exams as many times as you want, I constantly drilled those—even after getting a passing grade. Also, seek out people who’ve taken the exam before and listen to their advice. I was fortunate that my supervisor and coworker had taken the exam before me. Their advice and tips were important, and they helped motivate me to take the exam seriously.