The Financial Modeling & Valuation Analyst is the premiere certification offered by the Corporate Finance Institute. With over 100,000+ student enrolments each year from 170 countries, it is certainly witnessing a surge in popularity. Part of that popularity is certainly attributable to the continued attraction of banking and finance as ideal career choices.
But just how much will it help your career? Is it worth the time commitment and the cost? How does it compare with other popular certifications? These are some of the questions we address here.
FMVA Review – What it offers
1. Desk-ready skills
There is a gap between theoretical concepts that are taught in universities and practical knowledge that companies are so desperately seeking in candidates. Such certifications fill this gap. The FMVA has been designed by industry practitioners with plenty of real-world case studies that help bridge that gap.
In addition to the case studies, the financial models that you have to complete as part of the course are also highly interactive. You also have quizzes and exercises throughout to test what you have picked up and this really goes a long way to really cement your learning.
2. Highly modular course structure
The FMVA is also highly modular. That means you can pick and choose some electives to mould it as per your needs. For example, if you are already a whiz at Excel, you can choose to skip the Advanced Excel elective. Similarly, if you are really into LBOs you can take the Leveraged Buyout (LBO) Modeling instead. Or if you are really into real estate, you can take the Real Estate Financial Modeling elective. There are plenty of such options.
In fact, there are also a bunch of optional prep courses that you can take or skip depending on your existing skill level. This is certainly the most modular certifications out there and you can tailor it to fit your needs.
3. Excellent quality course material
The quality of the FMVA material is really second to none. There are way too many templates available for you to even go through! The videos are very high quality and exceptionally easy to follow. Beginners should find no issues with it at all. The instructors are some of the best I have ever seen and the course material, worksheets etc. are all par excellence.
4. Fully online and on-demand
This might just be a minor convenience for some, but for others it can be a big deal. Either way, it means you can earn this certification from the comfort of your home at your own pace, without having to worry about deadlines. You can take the exams as per your own schedule.
FMVA vs CFA
I don’t really consider the FMVA and CFA as direct competitors because they have different focus areas with marginal overlap. Still, as the CFA is the benchmark for finance certifications, it makes sense to make a quick comparison from the perspective of a finance practitioner.
1. Focus areas
The CFA curriculum is more focused towards portfolio management, security analysis, investments and other market related roles. Whereas the FMVA is more about valuations and financial modelling. This makes the FMVA more suited for investment banking or financial analyst roles while the CFA is preferable for investment management roles like portfolio and asset management.
2. Time to complete
The FMVA can be completed in a few months. Most students require 100-150 hours of prep time depending on skill level. If you are already a finance student, it will be even less. This is also the biggest drawback of the CFA. It will take you years to clear the exams and you will also have to meet the rather lengthy work experience requirements. Which sort of defeats the purpose of such a certification in my opinion. You need the careers boost now. Not when you are already 4-5 years into your career.
The FMVA has the cost advantage here by a fair margin. Not only is the CFA several times more expensive to take, you will probably spend something extra on the prep resources as well. Personally, I still think the CFA is worth if you are targeting an investment role. But for everything else, stick with the FMVA.
The CFA is obviously one of the most recognized certifications since it’s been around for decades. But other certifications like the FRM and FMVA have been growing rapidly. The fact is they are not even in direct competition. CFA is for investments, FRM is for risk management and FMVA is financial analysts.
The FMVA is enrolling over 100,000+ students per year which is likely to increase its recognition as well.
FMVA Salaries and Compensation
How much you make depends on where you work. An FMVA analyst working at a bugle bracket investment bank in New York would probably be making more than others. But if you want a general idea, I pulled the following numbers form the CFI site itself:
Career options for FMVA holders
As stated earlier, the FMVA is a highly modular certification. You can pick and choose electives and prep courses to mould it as per your needs. This really makes it applicable to a wide variety of roles from financial analysis to investment banking and from private equity to Commercial Real Estate.
All you have to do is pick the right electives form the list below (as of writing):
- Advanced Excel Formulas
- Real Estate Financial Modeling
- Startup / e-Commerce Financial Model
- Mining Financial Model & Valuation
- Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) Modeling
- Leveraged Buyout (LBO) Modeling
- Corporate & Business Strategy
- Renewable Energy – Solar Financial Modeling
- Excel VBA for Finance
FMVA Discount Code
Ready to take on the FMVA? Use the following link and the discount code CFIPARTNER10 to get 10% off.