Best Finance Programs for High School Students (2024)

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

Finance is a key skill not just in business but in general life as well. Thankfully, governments, teachers and parents have been taking note and we have a major focus on financial literacy across schools today.

However, if you want to go beyond that, there are specialized courses that teach you not just the bare minimum financial literacy but prepare you for a career in business or finance. These courses dive deeper, but while steeling adhering to the right math/ skill level to teach financial concepts. If you want to succeed in business or corporate life, these courses will go a long way to get you there.

Some of these courses are what I like to call at the “elite” level. What that means is that they are best suited for those planning a career in investment banking, investment management, consulting, building a unicorn or being a high-performing business leader. I am seeing people reach Managing Director before they hit 30 so I guess its smart to start early.

1. Young Finance Scholar (YFS) Program from NYIF

NYIF has been training finance professionals for almost a century. They have the expertise and a reputation for delivering quality content to would be bankers, regulators, traders and business leaders from across the globe. The Young Finance Scholar (YFS) program has been purpose built for high school students to help them prepare for the finance and business world. The focus is on building fundamentals like financial and business acumen, how capital markets work and other skills like communication and team work.

You dive into topics like micro and macro economy which means understanding how supply and demand works, how GDP works at the national level, monetary and fiscal policy and their impact on the economy, and plenty of case studies. You will learn company analysis by looking at their financials, assets, liabilities, equity, debt, cost structure, cash flows etc.

If you are keen on a banking career, then the module on wall street history, players, securities brokers and dealers, investment banking etc. will really whet your appetite. I wish we had something like this when I was a high school student! Corporate Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), Initial Public Offerings (IPOs), the global stock markets – its all in here.

But that’s not all. Recognizing the changing landscape, there is plenty of focus on fintech and sustainable finance. Blockchain, cryptocurrencies, sustainable development and everything else that needs to be part of your toolkit is discussed.

The focus on real world skill is highlighted through the use of group research projects, presentations and daily sessions. These are full scale exercises that will help you not just with finance and learning, but with general collaborative and business skills. This is stuff that matters in the real world and what will help you in your career. The faculty of course is world class with names from some of the world’s top universities and investment banks.

All in all, I think this course is the best opportunity to get these skills early and get that extra edge that you need in a hyper competitive world. It is bound to make things easier down the road.

2. Young Equity Analyst Program

Interested in the equity stock market? Look no further. This detailed, yet intuitive offering from NYIF has you covered. Equity analysis is as much an art as it is science and the art part of it is honed over years or even decades of experience. Which is why it is best to start early and this is the program to do it.

The course curriculum is not much different from what an actual equity analyst might learn on the job with the main difference being that the material is kept at a level that would make sense to high school students. Expectedly, you start by learning about the various players in the stock market like the indices (S&P 500, Dow Jones etc.),  investors, asset managers, regulators and so on. There are various modules on economics, financial statement analysis, stock value analysis, time value of money, cash flow method, options and derivatives, diversification, technical analysis etc. Additionally, there are also modules on sustainability and ESG investing as well as fintech to prepare you for the future.

My favourite part though are definitely the case studies. There are so many of them and on real companies like Chipotle, Disney, Staples, Google, Facebook, Starbucks, Tesla, Amazon, Activision, Netflix etc. and they all have something different to teach us. Case studies were straight up my favourite thing in business school and I still read long business case studies as a hobby. So maybe I am just biased but I think they are essential for real world understanding which simply cannot be captured by just reading theory.

You can learn more about this program by clicking the link below but this is essentially the best course for students who have an interested in the stock markets. Whether your interest is from a career perspective or whether stock investing is just something you want to do on the side, this course will have you covered either way.

3. Young Sustainability Scholar Certification Program

Sustainability has been the top theme for the last couple of years now. Its something that I have personally been a super supporter of all my life, and its good to see it finally getting mainstream popularity. There is a lot you can do from a sustainability perspective, but for the purpose of this article, we are focusing on sustainable finance and investing. After all, money speaks and if investors demand change, companies have to comply.

This program focuses on certain sustainability themes which collectively drive the overall discussion:

  • Sustainability and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – How governments, corporations and other stakeholders ensure that development is sustainable and not destructive.
  • Climate Change and Decarbonization – The challenge posed by carbon emissions and how climate policy can help mitigate that.
  • Green Economy, Low Carbon Transition and Cleantech – Transitioning away from carbon emissions and moving towards renewable energy, e-mobility and other alternatives.
  • Natural Capital, Blue and Circular Economies – Proper use of ocean resources, waste management, recycling etc.
  • Global Social Issues of Importance – Tackling issues affecting millions of people both in the developed and developing world.

Together, these themes combine to create a holistic picture of what sustainable development and investing can achieve and our role in it. There are also research projects and competitions which will you pit you against other students and give you a taste of what its like to compete in the real world.

I recommend this program not just for future business and finance students but for every student as all of us have a collective responsibility to preserve our planet and its climate and atmosphere. The science of climate change is clear but the solutions are complex and we need to be armed with the knowledge to make the right calls. Its good that programs like this give us the opportunity to start early.

About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav (LinkedIn) started his finance career as an intern in Citi’s Institutional Clients Group in 2009, eventually ending up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Corporate & Institutional Banking division a few years later. By 2016, he was an independent consultant helping FinTech start-ups in London with product development and launch. Gaurav also helps banks with their digital banking initiatives and advises PE & VC firms with investments in the financial services and FinTech sectors. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from EU banking regulations and tradional finance to Blockchain startups and the future of banking itself! He has an Engineering degree in Computer Science and an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.