Certified M&A Specialist (CMAS) Program FAQ

Chart your path to professional distinction with the Certified M&A Specialist (CMAS) program. The only certification program of its kind, the CMAS Program is designed especially for officers and company leaders who want to learn and master the fundamentals and best practices within the M&A life cycle from real experts in M&A leadership — experienced practitioners and luminaries in the field. The path to becoming a Certified M&A Specialist combines flexible elective courses that let you focus on the subject areas of most value to you, the submission of your own field experiences, and a foundational exam.

The Basics

What is the cost of the CMAS program?

The enrollment fee for the CMAS program is $1250, which includes the Exam. This fee is more than covered by the FREE attendance at all M&A Leadership Virtual Courses for 2024.


How do I access the study materials?

When you register as a CMAS Candidate, a “Welcome” email will be sent to you requesting confirmation of address details. The Art of M&A, 5th Edition (electronic edition) will be provided once your email address details are confirmed.


How do I access my CMAS dashboard? 

You can access your CMAS dashboard through our website's online login page. To log into the website, use the same email address and password you used to register for your first training session. Contact us if you have trouble logging in, or if you need to change the email address associated with your account. 


How do I track my credits? 

When you sign into your CMAS dashboard, you'll see a complete overview of your credits.  


What are the re-certification requirements? 

At this time, the CMAS credential is a lifetime certification. No re-certification is required. 


Does this M&A certification require continuing education? 

Once you have earned your CMAS credential, you are not required to complete further education. However, we have found that many CMAS recipients choose to continue their M&A training for their own professional development. For example, our newest course The Art of M&A for Divestitures and Carve-Outs has been very popular among CMAS recipients. 


How long do I have to complete the requirements, i.e., do my credits expire? 

Your CMAS credits never expire. But the sooner you finish the program, the sooner you can add the certification to your professional credentials. Earning recognition as a CMAS is an excellent way to differentiate yourself as an outstanding M&A professional. 


Is there a way to indicate that I'm a CMAS on LinkedIn? 

Absolutely! Follow these handy instructions to add the certification. When you finish the certification, we'll also send you these directions via email. 


Training Programs

How many educational events do I need to attend? 

All M&A Leadership Council In-person programs are three-day courses and earn 84 credits each. Our Virtual training programs are offered online and earn 42 credits each. 


Can you provide on-site training at my company? 

Absolutely! We can train you and your team on-site. If you are interested in on-site training, contact us directly at [email protected]


Experience Forms

How much experience do I need to earn my CMAS credential? 

The CMAS program is designed for M&A veterans. Every CMAS candidate must demonstrate a leadership role in at least two completed deals that are now public knowledge. (Some exceptions may apply. Email [email protected] for more details.) The deal sponsor or other key executive leader must be able to verify your role and contribution to the deal. 


How do I submit experience forms? 

Experience forms are submitted via your CMAS dashboard on our website. Many candidates find it helpful to craft their answers elsewhere, for instance in a Microsoft Word document, and then copy-paste them into the online form. Note that you cannot save a partially completed form and come back later. 


What things are important to put on my experience forms? 

Consider your experience forms as an opportunity to showcase your work to some of the top professionals in the M&A industry. Our Board members are all experienced experts with high expectations for our CMAS candidates. They expect your submission to be well-written and sufficiently detailed to quickly give them a complete picture of the deal itself, but more importantly, of your role in the deal. A few pointers: 

  • Treat this like a memo or some other document you would submit to C-level executives at your own organization. Use polished, professional writing (paragraphs, rather than bullet points).
  • Don't worry too much about word count. The Board members would prefer to get all the information they need, communicated in a professional and clear way, instead of receiving incomplete responses. 

For more suggestions, please see Helpful Hints for Acing Your Experience Forms. 


How are experience forms evaluated? 

Every experience form is reviewed by two members of the Board of M&A Standards and awarded 25 to 100 credits. These are awarded based on factors like depth of demonstrated experience; deal complexity; and the candidate's role in the acquisition. Be sure to communicate as effectively as possible, so that your evaluators get a clear picture of your experience. 


Who is on the Board of M&A Standards? 

The Board of M&A Standards is the governing body of the M&A Leadership Council. The Board is made up of highly experienced M&A experts from a variety of sectors. Current and past Board members have come from organizations like American Express and Cisco. Board members guide the Council's activities and evaluate each CMAS candidate's experience forms. 


How long does the grading process take? 

Once you submit your experience form(s) online, the grading process will take 3-4 weeks. Once the scores are complete by the Board, the Manager of CMAS will reach out via email giving you an update on your score, including your current total credits. 


Where are experience forms published? 

Some experience forms get published in our online library, available only to CMAS certificants. Your evaluator will determine whether your submission meets the standards for publication. Writing should be clear, concise and free of errors, and you should be sure to focus on completed deals that are verifiable in the public domain. And finally, completely anonymize the deal to ensure that you don't reveal any sensitive or proprietary information. 


How much experience do I need? 

The CMAS credential was developed to recognize M&A professionals with deep deal experience. Thus we encourage every CMAS candidate to earn at least 100 credits through experience. That usually means submitting at least two experience forms. 


The CMAS Exam

How long do I have to take the exam? 

Once you have registered for the exam, you may take it at any time. However, once you start the exam, you have 72 hours to complete it. During that time, you may sign in and out as often as you like. You are welcome to use the anthology of M&A textbook(s) provided as a reference during the exam. 


What is on the exam? 

The CMAS exam has 60 questions and focuses on the fundamentals of mergers and acquisitions. This information is based on the book(s) you received when you registered for the program, rather than the candidate's experience. A set of sample exam questions is available to help you prepare. Starting January 1, 2020, candidates receive our newest book, The Art of M&A, 5th Edition, which replaced the previous four books provided.


How much time will it take to complete the test? 

Most candidates report that the test does not take more than a few hours. Once you begin the test, you have 72 hours to finish it, During that time, you may sign in and out as often as you'd like. You may also use your anthology of M&A books as a reference. 


If you have further questions about the CMAS program, please contact us