Financial-Analyst-Courses

Best Financial Modeling Courses ranked by Bankers (2020)

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

Financial-Analyst-Courses

Financial Modeling is an integral part of what you do in finance in general and banking in particular. In fact, it might be all you do for the first few years of your career.

Setting yourself apart during the recruitment or internship process is crucial given the severe disparity between available roles and candidate volume. As always, a good academic pedigree will go a long way, but there are other ways to boost your chances.

All the courses in this list will help you learn financial modeling, but they each offer something extra as well. That extra something might be brand value or having a classroom experience or perhaps real-world case studies. Hopefully, this article can help you  pick the one that you need to make it in finance.

Here is a quick list for you, followed by detailed reviews down below:

Best Financial Modeling Courses/ CertificationsLearn More
1. Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) from CFIPreview/ Enroll Now
2. Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton OnlinePreview/ Enroll Now
3. Financial Modeling Professional Certificate from NYIFPreview/ Enroll Now
4. Excel and VBA Programming for Finance from NYIFPreview/ Enroll Now
5. Finance & Quantitative Modeling for Analysts from Wharton OnlinePreview/ Enroll Now

What should you look for in a course/ certification?

  • Brand Value for CV Building – These Certifications have been hand-picked to provide you with the maximum CV boosting potential. Its a competitive job market and you need every edge you can get. HR and hiring managers have to sift through thousands of CVs and they are looking for things that pop. Big brands, stellar grades etc. do that and you need to make best use of any such opportunities that may be presented to you.
  • Real-world Learning – Companies expect you to hit the ground running on Day 1. Which is why I look for plenty of real world case studies and practical assignments when picking courses for these lists. This will also give you the confidence you need to do well in interviews and the rest of the selection process which always revolves around practical applications of theoretical concepts.
  • Niche specific – Not every course is suitable for everyone. Some courses here might be better suited for corporate finance analysts while others are better for investment bankers. I will highlight these differences where possible to allow you to pick the one that you need for the career path that you have chosen. There are also some beginner courses that are suitable for everyone and should serve as a solid stepping stone for anyone interested in a career in banking or finance.

The courses have been ranked based on the above criteria. The aim is to allow finance professionals better prepare for the hiring process including CV building with strong brands, interview preparation and hitting the ground running on Day 1 of your internship/ job.


1. Certified Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst (FMVA) from CFI

Why become a Certified FMVA?

  1. Banking and Finance are by no means easy-to-get roles. You need something to stand out and the FMVA offers the best brand recognition and CV value, in my opinion, when it comes to Financial Modeling. Its offered by the Corporate Finance Institute which has built a name for itself with this popular certification programme.
  2. The curriculum is divided into a series of optional, required and elective courses. This modular structure is something that I really like as it means you can pick and choose the courses you want based on your skill level and experience. Need an intro to Corporate Finance? Take the optional Corporate Finance  prep course. Already know Excel? Skip that elective. Such options are always nice.
  3. The bulk of the electives are related to financial modeling and Excel. You learn everything you need to learn to prepare for a modeling interview. You start with the foundational courses which includes business valuation modeling, budgeting and forecasting, scenario and sensitivity analysis, power point and pitchbooks etc.
  4. Then you move on to advanced topics like sector specific modeling like mining financial modeling, LBO modelling, M&A modeling, renewable energy modeling etc. You don’t have to take all of these – just pick the ones you actually need!
  5. There are plenty of case studies to sink your teeth into and the focus on real world practical skills instead of just academic understanding is really welcome. That should be expected as the course has been made by our fellow bankers with plenty of experience in the field.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 120-200 hours depending on your skill level and experience.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand. Complete at your own pace.
  • By far the most reputable Financial Modeling certification available in the industry.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


2. Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton Online

Why take this course?

  1. This course will get you desk ready for any Financial Modeling role. The course is suitable for beginners as it lays the foundations before getting into the thick of things. It provides a smooth learning slope and takes it time to get the concepts across.
  2. Wharton has brought out the big guns with this course and it carries some serious brand value. You get a completion certificate that it will add some serious pop to both your CV and LinkedIn profile. Yes, that is important enough to be mentioned right at the top of this list.
  3. The course quality itself is excellent and the modules are delivered by top Wharton faculty. There is indeed a focus on finance, and it covers everything from spreadsheet modeling, investment analysis and company valuation to forecasting, decision making and scenario analysis.
  4. Concepts covered include spreadsheets functionalities, building models, scenario testing, modeling risk, forecasting, decision making using these models and a capstone project to top it all off.
  5. The course is excellent value because you are getting quite a lot at a really competitive price.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 48 hours.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand via Coursera. Complete at your own pace
  • I recommended this to all finance interns and first year analysts.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


3. Financial Modeling Professional Certificate from NYIF

Why take this course?

  1. A more advanced course that is meant for investment banking analysts, private equity or hedge funds professionals.
  2. This is one of the best and most comprehensive courses you will find on financial modeling. The New York Institute of Finance produces very high-quality courses for finance professionals, and this one really belongs at the top of the pile.
  3. You get hands-on guidance from industry experts in a virtual/ physical classroom environment. This really adds to the overall learning experience in my opinion. Probably because having other students around you (even if via a video link) makes learners more competitive and committed.
  4. You start off an advanced excel course followed by modeling and then three full days spent on valuations. Its pretty comprehensive and should be more than enough for any analyst looking to get into finance or making a lateral move.
  5. Perhaps that is the best part about this course – its focus on desk ready skills so that you can hit the ground running. Everything taught has a practical urgency to it. Which is not surprising considering NYIF has been teaching bankers and traders for almost a century now.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: About 5 days.
  • Offered fully online or in-person.
  • NYIF is a solid brand to have on your resume.
  • This the most advanced course on this list and recommend for those applying to Tier 1 Banking roles.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


4. Excel and VBA Programming for Finance from NYIF

Why take this course?

  1. You can’t be a good financial modeler if your Excel and VBA programming game is not on point. This is equally important in Sales & Trading as well as investment banking roles. As an analyst, you’ll be doing a lot of modeling.
  2. This is an intermediate level course meant for more advanced learners or those applying to more quantitative roles within finance. You learn more advanced functions as well as new tricks to help you get your modeling done faster.
  3. This course teaches you everything from advanced excel functions and VBA programming to data analysis and using the Bloomberg terminal. There is significant focus on finance specific applications like bond yield calculations or creating a Black Scholes option price calculating program. like  It’s a meaty 3 day course and it will get you desk ready.
  4. Perhaps that is the best part about this course – its focus on desk ready skills so that you can hit the ground running. Everything taught has a practical urgency to it. Which is not surprising considering NYIF has been teaching bankers and traders for almost a century now.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: About 3 days..
  • Offered fully online or in-person.
  • NYIF is a solid brand to have on your resume.
  • This course is recommended if you are applying for more quant heavy roles that require advanced Excel and VBA programming skills.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


5. Finance & Quantitative Modeling for Analysts from Wharton Online

Why take this course?

  1. This course shares some material from the other Wharton Course on this list but this one is targeted towards business analysts in general who have to perform financial modeling as part of their day-to-day.
  2. In addition to working with spreadsheets, students are also taught basic financial terminology and the fundamentals of corporate finance by Wharton faculty. Quality wise, this is top-notch.
  3. The course starts off by laying the foundation of quantitative modeling and spreadsheets. In the second half of the course, you focus on financial concepts like cash reporting, income statements, forecasting, time value of money, the risk-return tradeoff, cost of capital, interest rates, retirement savings, mortgage financing, capital budgeting, asset valuation, discounted cash flow (DCF) analysis, net present value, internal rate of return, hurdle rate, payback period and so on.
  4. Wharton is a solid brand to have yon your Resume. Think of this course as something you are taught in the first year of a MBA degree as the course and difficulty level is very similar to that.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 32 hours.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand via Coursera. Complete at your own pace.

Preview Course/ Enroll Now


6. Short/ Quick Courses

Time to Complete: 1-15 hours. Fully online.

If you are just looking to learn the basics of financial modelling and don’t really need any CV enhancing certifications, then the following short courses might be right up your alley:

Beginner to Pro in Excel: Financial Modeling and Valuation – A short introductory course that covers both Excel and the fundamentals of financial modding. The course covers most of the fundamentals rather well and there are several resources available like videos, charts, downloadable guides etc.

At the end of the course, you should be able to have a firm grasp on how to get almost anything related to finance done in Excel. Well suited for beginners.

Financial Modeling: Build a Complete DCF Valuation Model – Goes into a bit more depth about the Discounted Cash Flow model. Use this to supplement your understanding of DCF models or get a bit of practice. DCF valuation is an important skill for corporate finance or investment banking interviews and this gives you a bit of extra hands-on practice with it. I feel its worth the time investment.

Financial Modeling for Startups & Small Businesses – Startup valuation is a whole different ball game. You need to know this stuff as this is what things are trending towards. The differences between the valuation methodology of mature businesses vs startups is a popular theme in finance interviews. Learning this could give you a key advantage as this topic is still not taught well in most business or finance programs.

About the Author

Gaurav Sharma

Gaurav started his career as a Corporate and Investment Banking intern at Citi in 2009 and eventually ended up as an Associate Director at Standard Chartered Bank’s Wholesale Banking division a few years later. By 2016, Gaurav was consulting FinTech start-ups in London with product development in the institutional banking space. He also advises mid-market Private Equity/ Asset Management firms and Banks in North America and Europe with investments in the financial services and FinTech sector. Gaurav writes on topics ranging from European Union banking regulations and FinTech to Blockchain startups and the inevitable rise of our AI overlords! 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.