M&A

Best M&A Courses/ Certifications ranked by Bankers (2021)

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

M&AMergers & Acquisitions are  inseparable components of corporate growth strategy. From SMEs to international conglomerates, mergers  drive growth, produce synergy and create additional value out of thin air.

But these M&A transactions can be very costly and tricky to get right. Which is companies pay millions of dollars to investment bankers to help advise on such transitions. Bankers perform activities ranging from due diligence and valuation to documentation and negotiations.

What to look for in an M&A Course/ Certification?

  1. Unmatched Brand Value for CV Building – Given the high stakes involved, M&A teams are very hard to break into. Even when compared with other Investment Banking roles like Capital Markets, Lev Fin etc. Which is why you need an edge just to get a CV shortlist. Academics are #1 here, but certifications do help.
  2. M&A Focus – None of the general courses focus on M&A specifics. I have taken several of the most well known certifications and they focus on markets or risk or corporate finance in general. These are the courses that focus on M&A. This topic is distinct enough to be taught on it’s own.
  3. Prepares you for the Selection Process – Academic theory is all well and good, but you need practical knowledge that will help you clear the highly competitive selection process and interviews for M&A roles. M&A is probably one of the hardest IB roles to break into, and you need all the help you can get.

These are the Best Courses and Certifications to break into M&A.


1. Mergers & Acquisitions Professional Certificate from NYIF

Why take this course?

  1. This is the best overall M&A package available anywhere. The New York Institute of Finance is a well-respected name with a long and storied lineage of training professionals in the financial services industry. This certificate will add a tonne of value to your CV. And with the obscene amount of competition for these roles, you need every little bit of advantage that you can get.
  2. Given the M&A focus, expect to learn about M&A rationale and decision making, sourcing and pitching deals, pricing transactions, valuations, projections, legal aspects, documentation, taxation, structuring, implementation and dozens of such topics. This is as good as you get and you won’t find a more comprehensive course on M&A anywhere. I looked.
  3. The course is perfect for analysts, associates or interns looking to break into M&A. Whether you want to prepare for the selection process or impress the MD during you’re your internship/ rotation, this is the course you need.
  4. They have designed this course with a laser focus on M&A, so you won’t have to worry about wasting time on unrelated fluff either. This laser focus is what you need to succeed in ac competitive field like M&A. There are plenty of other generic finance courses out there, but if you have deciding on M&A, then this is it.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Around 40 hours.
  • Available fully online and on-demand. Complete at your own pace.
  • The Best M&A Certification out there with unmatched brand value.

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2. Mergers and Acquisitions from Stanford Executive Education

Why take this course?

  1. This is an executive level course which means it is better suited to mid-level professionals looking to upgrade their M&A knowledge base. In that capacity though, this course excels.
  2. A number of case studies, lectures from experience bankers and discussions with other senior M&A professionals (in various capacities) make this is a rather interesting option. You tackle real world issues like negotiations, deal designing, pricing, taxation, structuring, Financing etc.
  3. The course does not teach basic M&A and for that you need to look at the top course recommended in this list. But if feel the profile of a mid-career executive with some M&A experience already and looking to punch above your weight, take this course.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: One week.
  • Course availability: In-person at Stanford.

3. Mergers and Acquisitions – The Relentless Pursuit of Synergy

Why take this course?

  1. This is a short and sweet course to give beginners a basic understanding of M&A. The course is best suited for finance students who need a crash course in M&A or looking at an entry level role (internship/ analyst). For a broader and more comprehensive look at M&A, definitely check the top course on this list. This is an excellent course for beginners though.
  2. The course covers topics M&A financing, LBOs, valuation, strategies, legal, regulatory and tax aspects, stakeholder management, and the entire M&A deal process. Almost every relevant topic is covered in some detail here and should give you enough of and ideas to do well in interviews and tests.
  3. Best suited for students or your professionals who are interviewing or preparing for an M&A role. It gives you a solid foundational understating of all aspects of M&A and you definitely are better off having this knowledge before you walk into an interview.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Around 20 hours.
  • Available fully online and on-demand via Coursera – a trusted eLearning platform.

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4. Advanced Valuation and Strategy – M&A, Private Equity, and Venture Capital from Erasmus University Rotterdam

Why take this course?

  1. Another short course better suited for a general audience – finance, economics and business students, corporate executives and corporate finance professionals, general management, CXOs and so on. That does imply its an easy course though. Going for the honors certificate that they offer can prove rather interesting even for investment bankers.
  2. The course covers all topics like NPV, Discounted Cash Flow modeling, real options, game theory etc. In addition to these basics, it touches upon some interesting topics like like how do value a leveraged buyout, how to value a high-tech venture with negative cash flows, how to incorporate rival bidders int he analysis and so on. Its an interesting, strategic take on things.
  3. I highly recommend taking the honors certificate for some additional learning and extra brand value. They have managed to keep things interesting with a unique angle to some common M&A problems and everyone from IB hopefuls to experienced bankers and even senior managers should find something useful here.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Around 16 hours.
  • Available fully online and on-demand via Coursera – a trusted eLearning platform.

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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 an MBA with a double major in Finance and Marketing. He is also a Certified Financial Risk Manager.