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 registration fee for the CMAS program is $500, and the exam is $250. These costs are more than covered by the 30% discount that all CMAS candidates receive on our M&A training programs. 

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 workshop. 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. You'll also receive a monthly email update summarizing your progress toward certification and outlining next steps. 

What are the re-certification requirements? 

At this time, the CMAS credential is a lifetime certification. No recertification 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. 

Workshops

How many workshops do I need to go to? 

That depends on which programs you attend and how many credits you plan to earn through experience. Three-day workshops are worth 72 credits, while two-day workshops are worth 45. 

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 submit at least two experience forms. To qualify, each experience must be on a completed deal that is now public knowledge. 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 from 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. That means polished, professional writing. 
  • 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. 

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 textbooks provided as a reference during the exam. 

What is on the exam? 

The CMAS exam has 75 questions and focuses on the fundamentals of mergers and acquisitions. When you register for the program, you'll receive an anthology of M&A books in either electronic or hard copy. These books are your best study guide for the exam. A set of sample exam questions is available to help you prepare. 

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