Financial Modeling Courses

Get an edge for your interviews & finance career

The Best (and Most Affordable) Financial Modeling Self-study Courses.

Perfect for self-motivated candidates.

Patrick Curtis

Patrick Curtis
October 1, 2017

Go from novice to financial modeling ninja.

Update: Wall Street Prep now offers 15% off for this course for all WSO members!
*Limited time offer: Expires

I frequently get e-mails from WSO members asking me which financial modeling online course is the best to prepare them for investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, etc...

To be honest, many of you don't need any financial modeling and valuation courses since you will likely get that training once you start full time, along with all the fancy the financial model templates, etc. In fact, you can find plenty of free basic modeling resources online...

"...visitors asking me which financial modeling training program is the best to prepare them..."

However, for candidates that want that extra bit of edge for their investment banking interviews, or people like me that had no excel modeling or finance background from a liberal arts college, it CAN be very valuable.

Personally, I wish I had taken one of these before my analyst stint at Rothschild because in my first year I was in a world of pain. I was expected to model in excel as fast as Wharton finance majors with about 10x as much experience as me...a few weeks of wall street training wasn't going to be enough to close that massive gap in skill.

"...I was in a world of excel modeling pain..."

So I reached out to a really sharp coworker. I took him out to lunch and asked "What's your secret?" He told me something that was both basic and profound: "Take an online self-study financial modeling course :)".

I immediately enrolled in an online course and within a few short months, I had cut my hours in half, was producing twice the results, and quickly became the go-to financial modeling expert on my team.

"...quickly became the go-to excel modeling expert on my team..."

I have done extensive research on what are the best financial modeling courses and I found that Wall Street Prep’s online courses are consistently ranked #1 for financial modeling and valuation training.

See my comparisons to other courses below to learn more and click on any of the green buttons to take advantage of the 15% off discount through Wall Street Oasis (yes, we are an affiliate so you also help WSO by purchasing through us).

Price - The Best Financial Modeling Course

Wall Street Prep
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WSO users can get the Premium Package for $425 with coupon code oasis15, which is 15% off of the regular price of $499. We partnered WSP to get this discount because they have the best program around (read on to see why).

Breaking Into Wall Street
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BIWS Premium is $497, and offers the same topics as WSP’s Premium Package: Financial Statement Modeling, DCF, LBO, Comps and M&A.

Wall Street Training
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They don’t offer a package comparable to WSP’s Premium Package or BIWS Premium. Buying packages 2-6 would give you financial and valuation modeling training for a whopping $1,850.

Conclusion: With the WSO discount, Wall Street Prep's Premium Package gives you the most bang for the buck.

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Investment Banking Modeling - What Firms Use These Programs?

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Wall Street Prep

Wall Street Prep’s live training and online courses are used by more than 150 investment banks, consulting firms, investment funds, Fortune 1000 firms and top business schools. Many of these companies require their analysts and associates to go through the Premium Package.

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Breaking Into Wall Street

Breaking Into Wall Street has virtually no corporate or university clients to my knowledge.

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Wall Street Training

Wall Street Training conducts live and online training at some financial institutions and universities, though they have a smaller presence than WSP in the U.S. It’s my understanding that a significant part of their live training is conducted in Asia and their online courses are not widely used among corporate clients.

Conclusion: Wall Street Prep's online courses are the most widely used among top investment banks.

Excel Modeling Experts - But Who's Behind the Content?

Wall Street Prep
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Wall Street Prep's content development team is a group of investment bankers ranging from Sr. Analysts to MDs. They come from firms such as JPM, Morgan Stanley, BAML, UBS, Barclays, Jefferies and Credit Suisse.

Breaking Into Wall Street
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All BIWS courses are essentially authored by one person, a former UBS investment banker.

Wall Street Training
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WST’s live training is conducted by team of finance professionals from firms such as Goldman Sachs, TIAA-CREF, ThomasLloyd Capital and GE Capital. It appears that all of their self-study courses are authored by one person.

Conclusion: Wall Street Prep's team of online instructors has wide-ranging industry and product experience.

Add-Ins For Financial Modeling in Excel

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Wall Street Prep

The Premium Package comes with free access to Boost (normally $199), an Excel add-in geared towards increasing financial modeling efficiency. Boost also gives you access to Wall Street Prep’s entire library of Excel model templates.

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Breaking Into Wall Street

Courses do not include an Excel add-in.

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Wall Street Training

WST'sprograms utilize their free WST Macros Excel-Add in, designed to further automate Excel. It has much less functionality than Boost.

Conclusion: Wall Street Prep's Boost add-in for Excel is a much more powerful and useful tool.

Certification in Financial Modeling

Wall Street Prep
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The Premium Package includes certification in financial and valuation modeling. Many of their corporate clients use the certification exam as a required part of their analyst training program.

Breaking Into Wall Street
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BIWS Premium includes financial and valuation modeling certification. add-in.

Wall Street Training
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WST offers financial and valuation modeling certification to users who complete all of their individual financial modeling, valuation, M&A and LBO courses. To my knowledge, their corporate clients do not use this certification process for analyst training.

Conclusion: Wall Street Prep's certification is actually used as a training requirement by investment banks

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Wall Street Prep - Ongoing live webinar lessons

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Wall Street Prep

Premium Package users get free access to live webinar “teach-ins” in which WSP instructors cover new and emerging topics in the investment banking industry.

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Breaking Into Wall Street

The BIWS instructor does not offer live webinar teach-ins.

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Wall Street Training
No teach-ins

Conclusion: With the WSO discount, Wall Street Prep's ongiong teach-ins are an incredibly useful addition to their online program.

All three programs do a GREAT job of preparing you for what you'll face as an investment banking analyst, but I think WSP is a step above the rest (and also is conveniently, the most reasonably priced). Whatever you decide, good luck!

Bonus Benefits for Candidates preparing for Investment Banking Interviews

I do think that alongside with WSOs Investment Banking Interview Course, a financial modeling training program can take your understanding of 3 statement modeling, M&A modeling and LBO modeling to another level. Investment banking interviews are much more competitive nowadays (from what I hear) than when I was applying, so it's tough for me to say you "need" a modeling course, but I will just say it would have helped me in my IB interviews. Of course, none of these resources are cheap, so you have to make sure that it makes sense for you to spend the $ and that you will put in the time to actually learn the financial modeling skills to make a difference.

Detailed Financial Modeling & Valuation Course Outline

The amount of lessons and detail you get with this package is pretty incredible. You can really accelerate your learning and go at your own pace with this self-study course. It has online video training and templates, so you get hands-on experience like you would as an analyst building financial models.

Financial Statement Modeling

  • Learn to integrate assumptions and drivers into financial models
  • Excel techniques and shortcuts for financial modeling
  • Learn formatting and structural best practices
  • Learn Implications of new FASB and IFRS regulations on financial models
Project the core financial statements
  • Income statement, Balance sheet and Cash flow statement
  • Supporting schedules: Working Capital, Deferred Taxes, PP&E / Depreciation, Intangible Assets, Retained Earnings and Debt & Interest
  • Financial Ratios Output Sheet
  • Learn best practices for check models for errors, accuracy and integrity
  • Check and fix circular reference and iteration problems (#REF)
  • Insert circularity toggles and learn other tools for formula auditing
  • Customize Excel for effective modeling using macro shortcuts
  • Balancing the model and inserting automated crosschecks
Presentation and Scenarios
  • Perform sensitivity analysis using data tables
  • Perform scenario analysis using data validation
  • Integrating drop down menus and other “bells & whistles”

DCF Modeling Overview

Modeling free cash flows (FCF)
  • Unlevered vs. levered FCF
  • Capitalizing inappropriately classified expenses
  • Handling stub periods and midyear adjustments
  • Handling working capital items, deferred taxes and long-term accruals
  • Integrating synergy assumptions into the DCF model
  • Common pitfalls - enterprise vs. equity value, unlevered vs. levered FCF
Discounting the cash flows
  • Deriving the cost of debt
  • Derive the cost of equity using CAPM
  • Delevering and relvering beta
  • Estimating the weighted average cost of capital (WACC)
  • Determining the optimal WACC
  • Avoiding inconsistency between the FCF and discount rate
Estimating terminal value
  • Perpetuity approach
  • EBITDA multiple approach
  • Common pitfalls
From enterprise value to equity value per share
  • Calculating net debt and treatment of debt equivalents such as preferred stock, convertible securities, capital leases and minority interest
  • Calculating options and convertible securities using both the standard and treasury stock methods
Sensitivity analysis
  • Using data tables to analyze a broad range of scenarios given different assumptions

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LBO Modeling Overview

Build an integrated pro forma LBO projection model
  • Using typical deal structures and current market metrics
  • Build a dynamic Base/Best/Worst Case scenario toggles
Debt modeling
  • Learn to integrate typical LBO debt structures, including
  • secured, unsecured, mezzanine and PIK debt, convertible securities and equity sweeteners
  • Build a revolving credit facility and cash sweep
  • Model LBO Equity Structures
Equity modeling
  • Integrate typical equity structure, including management Incentives and rollover, Preferred Stock, contingencies and earn-outs
  • Build a dynamic Sources and Uses of Funds Schedule
  • Modeling Goodwill, and various transactional adjustments
  • Build a returns analysis capturing all providers of capital using XNPV and XIRR functions
  • Error-proofing and integrity-checking an LBO model.
  • Build sensitivity tables required for correct analysis of an LBO, including the construction of multiples, and IRR tables using both data tables and various sorting functions in Excel, including VLOOKUPS, OFFSET, CHOOSE, and INDEX.

M&A Modeling Overview

Accretion/Dilution Modeling
  • Introduction to M&A and typical buy side and sell side processes
  • Learn to perform both a back-of-the-envelope and extensive accretion-dilution analysis
  • Project consolidated financial statements, and learn to make correct adjusting entries for goodwill and fair market value write ups, advisory fees and financing fees and debt refinancing
  • Learn proper treatment of deferred taxes created in M&A and convertible securities and options
Output Analysis
  • Sales, EBITDA, and ownership contribution analysis
  • Calculating pre-tax synergies to break-even
  • Sensitivity analysis using data tables to determine
  • accretion/dilution to target shareholders in various stock/cash scenarios
  • Error-check a merger model
Topics in M&A
  • A review of common deal structures
  • A review of changes in the accounting for business combinations
  • Understand the asset vs. stock purchase decision
  • Address situations in which amortization may be tax-deductible
  • A discussion of 338(h)(10) election and wholly owned subsidiary acquisitions

Comps Modeling Overview

Selecting and Evaluation Appropriate Multiples
  • Learn to select appropriate comparable companies by evaluating operational, financial, size, and other similarities
  • Select comparable companies
  • Input financial data
  • Calculate and interpret financial and market ratios
  • Common analytical challenges including calendarization, nonrecurring items, dilutive securities, and classification issues are addressed using industry best practices.
Presenting Trading and Transaction Comparable Analysis
  • Structuring an output schedule
  • Selecting key valuation multiples using the VLOOKUP function
  • Building multiple tables

Unlimited E-Mail Based Support
The Premium Package is a self study program but you are not on your own. Wall Street Prep’s Support Team is comprised entirely of experienced former investment bankers. Upon enrollment, students gain 24 month free and unlimited access to Wall Street Prep's Online Support Center, where they receive answers to questions, free downloads, and important updates from the support staff.

Wall Street Prep Certification In Financial & Valuation Modeling
Wall Street Prep issues a Certification of Financial and Valuation Modeling upon successful completion of the Premium Package. To become certified, students must successfully complete an examination administered online by Wall Street Prep upon completion of the Premium Package.
  • The examination consists of 53 multiple-choice questions and focus on topics covered throughout the Self Study Program.
  • The examination is self-paced (no time limit). Allocate approximately 3 hours.
  • The certification can be taken from any computer with an active internet connection.
Use of Certification as a Credential
Students may only use the Wall Street Prep Certification of Financial and Valuation Modeling upon successful completion of the Certification examination.

CFA Institute PD Credits
Wall Street Prep is registered with CFA Institute as an Approved Provider of professional development programs. This program is eligible for 35 PD credit hours as granted by CFA Institute.

Accounting The program assumes a basic introductory knowledge of accounting (e.g. interaction of balance sheet, cash flow, and income statement). Students with no prior background in Accounting should enroll in the Accounting Refresher Supplement in addition to the Self Study Program (option available at check-out).

corporate finance Although general exposure to corporate finance is helpful, it is not required.ExcelBasic introductory Excel knowledge is highly recommended. Students with limited or no experience using Excel should enroll in the Excel Crash Course Supplement in addition to the Self Study Program (option available at check-out).

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