Startups

Best Business/ Startup Valuation Courses ranked by Bankers (2020)

In Finance Courses & Certifications by Gaurav SharmaUpdated On:

Startups

Valuation is perhaps one of the most important skills in investment banking and corporate finance. So much of the finance world revolves around investing in debt or equities, acquiring other businesses or divisions or lending to these businesses. All of this requires an accurate valuation of a business based on current and future business prospects.

Because of this predictive component of estimating future performance, valuation is as much an art form as it is a science. You need a lot of real-world experience and you need to make a lot of assumptions. The more practice you get, the more accurate your assumptions shall be and the better you get at your job. It’s a virtuous cycle and here are some courses to help you along that process.

What to look for in Valuation Certification/ Course?

  1. Brand Value for CV building. Valuation is an advanced science and there is usually a lot of money riding on it, so the jobs tend to be very competitive. You need to stand out to get shortlisted at the screening stage.
  2. Mastering the Science. Because of the infinite complexity in valuation of any assets class, it is a discipline where you benefit from continuous learning. The more you learn, the better you get at it.
  3. Real world case studies. Valuation of assets and businesses is as much an art form as it is a science. The numbers can only take you so far and you need to have a fundamental understanding of what makes a business tick. Real world case studies go a long way to get this across.

Based on these criteria, I have shortlisted the following courses form the dozens that are offered online. I have listed the strengths of each courses and its suitability for specific use cases. Pick the one that matches your goals best, and kick start your finance career!


1. Online Professional Certificate in Valuation from the New York Institute of Finance (Best Overall)

Why take this course?

  1. This course has been custom built for teaching valuation to investment and corporate bankers at tier 1 firms. The New York Institute of Finance has been around for almost a century, training wall street veterans. The quality of this course reflects that, as it is delivered by experts in the field. It’s a great opportunity to get some solid branding on your CV.
  2. The course is made up of several modules that covers each type of valuation in gratifying detail. You start off with the basic principles of corporate finance and accounting principles that are foundation to valuation. That is when you start getting to the good stuff. First up is business valuation which covers topics such as free cash flow analysis. WACC, DCF valuation and its limitations and uses, terminal value and so on.
  3. Next up you get into valuation from an M&A perspective. Everything from risk considerations for M&A to financing, valuation and post-merger integration is discussed. Equities, fixed income and derivatives are next. Each of these are their own best when it comes to valuation nuance and Nobel prizes have been awarded to those who have attempted to attempt to grapple with them. Lastly, we have corporate credit analysis which is something corporate bankers and credit analysts would be keenly interested in.
  4. This course is suitable for almost anyone in investment and corporate banking, traders and even PE/ VC hopefuls as it touches upon valuation topics that all of them need to know. There are some case studies to get you some real-world experience and the curriculum is more industry-focused rather than academic which is always welcome.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 45 hours to complete depending on your skill level.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand. Complete at your own pace.
  • Recommended for investment & corporate bankers, debt/ equity/ derivatives trades, equity analysts, credit analysts, PE/ VC analysts.

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2. Valuation and Financial Analysis for Startups from Yonsei University (Best for Startups)

Why take this course?

  1. Startup Valuation is a whole different ball game because of how inherently volatile and risky they tend to be. Historical data makes little sense because you are growing by triple digits. Future projections are hard to make because there is no baseline. Comparables are tough to get because everyone has a totally different business model. Startups take the art-form component of valuation to a whole different level. And this is the course that will help you learn that art.
  2. The topic coverage is as you would expect. You started with the tried and tested DCF model but adjust for start-ups. Next, you look at the multiples approach. Several ratios and multiples are looked at especially those relevant for start-ups like PER, PBR, PSD etc. Calculation of enterprise value and pre-IPO valuations are also addressed. You need to be able estimate the earnings of the business and this is also explored.
  3. The second half of the course focuses on financial analysis but from a start-up perspective. The core principles are the same, but the nuances of applying these to a new business are explored. Topics like capital budgeting and investment decisions for statups are further explored.
  4. At the end of the course, you have to complete a Capstone project where you take everything you have learned and use that to value a business. This gives you the opportunity to get as close to a real life situation as you desire and provides the perfect opportunity to build up your confidence level for any finance interviews or other tests.
  5. Course is offered by Yonsei University which is one of Korea’s best.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 40 hours to complete for most people.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand on Coursera’s excellent platform.
  • Best startup  valuation course available online.

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3. Advanced Valuation and Strategy from Erasmus University, Rotterdam

Why take this course?

  1. This course is offered at three levels. The executive summary provides key insights to a general audience or time pressed management executives who need to brush up on valuation topics as part of their duties. The second level is for finance students where you look at topics in greater detail with topics like time valuer of money, capital structure, risk and return and financial statement analysis being covered. The last level is the honours level which is the most challenging and engaging and is meant for an advanced audience.
  2. This makes this course suitable for leaners at almost any level. The course specifically focuses on valuation strategies for M&A, Private Equity and Venture Capital so if that is what you are targeting, then this offering should give you insights that you need. Although the coverage is not as comprehensive as the other courses on this list.

Summary

  • Time to Complete: Should take around 16 hours to complete for most people.
  • Offered fully online and on-demand on Coursera’s excellent platform.
  • A short overview of valuation for non-finance professionals who are pressed for time.

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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.