IB-Courses

Best Investment Banking Courses (2020) ranked by Bankers

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

The reason companies spend billions on branding each year is because it makes the buyer more confident about purchasing their product. The product has to be good, obviously, but it also has to stand out.

Research suggests that recruiters spend on average just 7 seconds to glance at your CV and that is all the time you have to make an impression. You can do this in three ways:

  1. Stand-out academics
  2. Related work experience and internships
  3. Relevant Certifications from reputable institutes

Ideally, you will need some combination of the three. The career-specific guides cover things in greater detail, so here we focus on #3. The most relevant and brand enhancing courses and certifications for would-be Investment Bankers!

Courses for Analysts and Interns

Advanced professional certifications like the CFA, CAIA, FRM etc. take several years to complete and also require relevant work experience. So it’s not something that finance aspirants can fully benefit from when they are just starting out.

This section lists courses that you can complete right away and these will help you get your foot in the door as beginner. They are also helpful if you are moving laterally into banking/ finance from any other field.


1. Investment Banking Certification

Why take this course?

  1. This is a self-paced, fully online program offered by the New York Institute of Finance that offers the most comprehensive look at Investment Banking for interns, analysts and associates alike.
  2. The course covers all relevant topics ranging form modeling and analysis to derivatives, valuations, structuring and deal making. Which makes this well suited for professionals looking to get into M&A, capital markets, fund management, coverage, valuation, research and other related fields.
  3. The next best thing to having real on the job deal experience. Having relevant work experience for finance roles is a chicken and egg problem. Courses like these that utilize detailed case studies are your best shot at solving that dilemma.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Around 70 hours and fully online.
  • Ideal for analysts, associates and interns.
  • This course is my top recommendation for would-be Investment Bankers.

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2. Professional Certificate in Corporate Finance

Why take this course?

  1. Columbia University is a great brand to have on your Resume. This is the same course that is taught in the first year for Columbia’s core MBA program so you know you are learning what the pros are learning. I wish we had online learning opportunities like this back in our day!
  2. The course itself is of excellent quality but it is better suited as an introduction to corporate finance for beginners or non-finance professionals. As mentioned earlier, this is MBA year 1 finance.
  3. The introduction focuses on basic corp fin concepts like time value of money, capital budgeting, NPC and IRR etc. Then you get a good look at how bonds, stocks and companies are valued using free cash flows, ratios and multiples. Lastly, there is a section on risk, return, cost of capital and a case study. This course covers the basics but it does that really well.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Around 35-40 hours. Fully online.
  • The best introductory course for corporate finance. It is not focused on IB, but corporate finance in general.

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3. Capital Markets Professional Certificate

Why take this course?

  1. This course, also offered by the New York Institute of Finance, focuses more on capital markets (debt and equity). This certification is better suited for DCM/ ECM professionals as well those in trading or research roles related to debt, equity and their derivatives
  2. Most finance courses go broad which means you spend a lot of time learning things that might not be relevant to you. By being laser focused on just capital markets, this course offers unsurpassed value to those who are also laser focused on capital market career options form the get-go.
  3. I couldn’t find any other course that covers all relevant capital market topics with this much detail and with such quality. This is not just another generic finance course. This is what DCM/ ECM guys should be studying.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Around 35 hours. Fully online.
  • The best course for capital markets. If you are interested in DCM, ECM, debt markets & derivatives etc., it doesn’t get any better than this.
  • This course is my top recommendation for Capital Market careers.

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Advanced Professional Certifications

These are advanced professional certifications that require  a much longer time commitment lasting years (except #2 which takes about one month).

1. Chartered Financial Analyst

Why take the CFA?

  1. The CFA is most relevant for markets-related role. Things like trading, selling securities, portfolio/ asset/ wealth management, equity/ fixed income/ market research and things of that nature.
  2. However, the CFA has built such a reputation that it can add value for non-market-related roles as well.
  3. The trick with the CFA is to start early so that you have already cleared a level or two before recruitment season. The CFA certification takes quite a while to earn, mostly because of the work experience requirements which means it is more of a mid-level career booster for most.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Several years, also requires relevant work experience.
  • Global recognition in the securities community.

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2. Chartered Investment Banking Analyst

Why take this course?

  1. As the name suggests, this certification offered by the New York Institute of Finance has been custom-built for Investment Bankers. If you just know in your heart that it is core Investment Banking that you are interested in, then this should be your pick.
  2. It covers all the bases from financial and management accounting to credit, forecasting, documentation, structuring, advanced excel and everything in between. Everything you need to know as an entry level IB professional or even as a mid-level professional looking to make a career transition, is in here.
  3. This is more of an advanced course and you should know that before committing. It will get you desk-ready.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Around 25 days. Available online in a virtual classroom format or in-person.
  • The most comprehensive IB focused certification in the market.

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3. Financial Risk Manager

Why take the FRM?

  1. Risk Management has gained importance since the last crisis and continuities do to so as capital protection is now more important to stakeholders than capital appreciation.
  2. FRM is the gold standard for Risk Management courses and you can learn more about it in the linked articles here and here.
  3. FRM is a bit more quant-heavy than the CFA and you should know that before going in. but if you are interested in Risk management, you should already be ready for that.

Highlights:

  • Time to Complete: Several years, also requires relevant work experience.
  • Ideal for Risk Management or Corporate Banking roles.

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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 a Masters in Business Administration. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.