Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Which Course Is Right For Me?

01) Are these courses more focused on Analyst-level or Associate-level interviews / recruiting?

Both levels are addressed in the Investment Banking Interview Guide and Investment Banking Networking Toolkit.

The financial modeling work you do is the same, so we do not treat these two levels separately within the modeling courses.

02) What if I'm above the Associate level? Should I still sign up for your courses?

The Interview Guide and Networking Toolkit will be less relevant if you’re at the Vice President / Director / Managing Director level, or if you’re making a career change into finance at a senior level (e.g., you were a Partner at a law firm and now you are moving into private equity or investment banking).

You may still find some useful bits in those courses, but the focus is on junior-level roles within the industry.

The financial modeling courses, however, may be useful regardless of your level. MD-level and other senior bankers have signed up for the courses before and gotten something out of them.

For example, perhaps you are working on a deal in an industry sector you’re unfamiliar with and you need to get up to speed rapidly – or you need to review work submitted by a junior employee and see if his analysis is correct.

03) I don't know what to sign up for. Do I need all of your courses right away?

First, please note that you do get the best deal we offer – the BIWS Platinum package – if you sign up for all the courses on the site at once.

So if you’ll be using the courses for a long time into the future, that sign-up option represents the best long-term value for you.

With that said, you do not necessarily need every single course at once. Here is an overview of when each course will be useful for you:

  • Investment Banking Networking Toolkit: If you’re having trouble getting interviews in the first place, you don’t know how to network, or you’re from a non-traditional background and you’re having trouble getting banks to talk to you.
  • Investment Banking Interview Guide: If you have summer internship, full-time, or lateral interviews lined up and now you’re preparing for those interviews.
  • Excel & Financial Modeling Fundamentals: If you want to learn the modeling skills you need for IB/PE interviews in more depth than what is covered in the interview guide, or if you want to learn accounting, valuation, and modeling from the ground up by building your own Excel models.
  • Advanced Financial Modeling: If you have an offer lined up and you want to learn how bankers model companies “in the real world” or if you already know basic modeling and want to enhance your skills by mastering more complex topics.
  • Industry-Specific Courses (Real Estate, Oil & Gas, and Banks): If you’re interviewing for one of these groups or you’re about to start working in one.
  • PowerPoint Pro: If you are about to start working, especially in a PowerPoint-heavy group such as equity capital markets, or if you want to learn PowerPoint for any other reason.

04) Are these courses helpful for fields outside of investment banking?

The most broadly applicable courses are the Investment Banking Networking Toolkit and the PowerPoint Pro course.

You can use the same networking strategies in all fields of finance, and you’ll end up using PowerPoint not only in investment banking, but also in fields like consulting and corporate finance.

The IB Interview Guide and financial modeling courses are helpful primarily for investment banking, private equity, hedge fund, equity research, and corporate development roles.

Note that some of this also depends on the focus of the firm you’re interviewing at.

For example, if you’re interviewing at a global macro hedge fund, our courses will not be as applicable because we do not cover FX or commodities.

The courses would be more applicable for long/short equity, merger arbitrage, and value-oriented funds because you use the same valuation and financial modeling skills in all of those.

05) What are the prerequisites for your courses?

There are no prerequisites for the IB Interview Guide, Networking Toolkit, PowerPoint Pro, or Excel & Fundamentals courses because we teach you everything from the ground up in those.

For the Advanced Financial Modeling course and industry-specific courses (Real Estate & REITs, Oil & Gas, Banks & Financial Institutions), you must have already completed the Excel & Fundamentals course or you must have equivalent knowledge gained via work experience or other training.

We move very quickly in all those courses. We also assume that you already know how to use Excel and that you understand accounting, valuation, and transaction modeling. So please do NOT sign up unless you are already comfortable with all those concepts.

06) What if I sign up for one of your courses and I realize that I need to know more before completing the lessons? Can I switch courses?

Yes. If the course you want to swap out is the same price as the one you want to enroll in, you can swap the courses.

Otherwise, if there is a price difference you can swap courses by paying the difference.

Note that you can only switch courses once. So you cannot simply pay once and then “rotate” between different courses as you need them.

07) I'm outside of North America - do your courses still apply to me?

The financial modeling courses and the IB Interview Guide are still 99% applicable. The main difference in other regions is that models use local currencies instead of US Dollars, and interviewers may ask you about local stock market indices as opposed to the NASDAQ or the Dow Jones.

We cover companies and deals worldwide (Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and South America) in the financial modeling courses as well.

The networking strategies taught in the IB Networking Toolkit still “work” in other regions – despite rumors to the contrary – but sometimes you’ll have to go to greater lengths to find local / boutique firms in other countries because the finance industry is smaller in other countries.

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What is in the Courses?

01) I'm confused about what I get when I sign up. Are all these courses separate products?

Yes. Each course on the site is a separate product:

Each one is separate, and you sign up for each one separately.

We also offer combo package and bundles for some of the courses, which you can read more about by clicking here.

02) Can you please tell me the exact lessons, Excel files, and PDFs in each course?

Please refer to the detailed course outlines on each course page listed above.

03) Can I see samples of what's included in each course?

Please refer to the course pages listed above – each one includes sample lessons.

04) What is the delivery method and the format of the content? How long does shipping take?

Once you sign up for a course, you’ll create a username and password and you’ll be able to log in and access all the materials.

It is very similar to how you use Netflix or Hulu, only everything is downloadable in our courses.

The content consists of videos along with quick reference guides, transcripts, and written templates for some courses.

Click here to view a quick reference guide that shows you what everything looks like inside the site once you become a member.

There are no physical products, and there is no shipping because everything is delivered online instantly.

05) Why do you not offer physical products? I want a book / CD-ROM / DVD / Blu-Ray / printed manuals.

Three reasons:

  1. You would have to wait for the package to arrive and you would not have instant access – which is problematic when you find out about an interview 16 hours before it takes place.
  2. Updates and additions are much more difficult to deliver with physical products.
  3. There’s no way to offer support and Q&A linked to specific lessons with a physical product.

06) How much overlap is there between the courses?

The Investment Banking Networking Toolkit, Advanced Financial Modeling, PowerPoint Pro, Real Estate & REIT Modeling, Oil & Gas Modeling, and Bank & Financial Institution Modeling courses have no overlap with anything else and are completely independent.

There is some overlap between the Excel & Modeling Fundamentals course and the IB Interview Guide, because similar technical questions are covered in both places.

The difference is that the modeling course teaches you how to build the models in Excel, whereas the interview guide is more conceptual.

If you have the time and you’re focused on technical interview questions, you should probably sign up for the Excel & Modeling Fundamentals course.

If you need to prepare for very quickly, or you also want help with telling your “story,” discussing deals, and answering other fit questions, then the IB Interview Guide is a better bet.

07) Given that there's some overlap, can I get a discount?

To account for this overlap we provide package deals and discounts once you sign up for one of the courses.

Click here to view the available package deals, including our package for the Interview Guide and the Excel & Financial Modeling Fundamentals course.

08) I only need certain modules rather than an entire course - can I just sign up for those modules instead?

We don’t allow you to sign up for individual modules (e.g., only the LBO modeling module in the Excel & Fundamentals course) to keep the pricing policies completely transparent and reduce administrative costs.

09) What is the expiration date of the material once I sign up? How long do I have access to the courses?

You receive lifetime access.

There is no expiration date and you can come back to the courses whenever you want to in the future.

10) I learn best by reading. Do you have transcripts of the videos?

Yes.

Each lesson on the site includes a full, word-for-word transcript. There are also detailed written guides, quick references, and other written documents for all the courses on the site.

11) I learn better face-to-face, do you offer in-person training?

No, we do not offer in-person training.

Please contact the New York School of Investment Banking if you are interested in in-person training.

12) I learn best by doing. Will I do the modeling myself in your courses?

Yes. Each lesson in each course has a “Before” and “After” Excel file, so you can practice by following along with the video and then check your work against the completed file.

13) You mentioned that there are free updates once I sign up. How are these updates delivered? Are they really free?

Once you sign up for the course(s) you will be subscribed to an email notification list, and you’ll receive notices of updates and new additions via announcements sent to that list.

You will also be able to view updates within the members’ area on the site.

Updates within a specific course are free once you sign up for that course. But if we introduce a completely new course, you would have to sign up for that separately.

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BIWS Premium (Excel & Fundamentals and Advanced Courses)

01) What exactly is included in the BIWS Premium package?

The Premium package consists of 2 separate courses bundled together: the Excel & Fundamentals course, which teaches you how to use Microsoft Excel in finance and how to build the key financial models you need for interviews and the job itself, plus the Advanced Modeling course, which focuses on the more complex nuances of financial modeling that you only use on-the-job.

The Excel & Fundamentals course is based on global case studies of companies and deals in countries such as the UK (EasyJet) and France (Vivendi), China (7 Days Inn), Japan (Suntory), Korea (Kakao / Daum), Australia (Atlassian), and yes, also the US (Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Beam, Men’s Wearhouse / Jos. A. Bank, and Netflix).

The time required to complete the course depends on your goals and how much time you have available. Yes, there are hundreds of lessons altogether. No, you do NOT have to complete everything.

At the minimum, you need 8 hours to get something out of the course. Ideally, you will have more like 3-4 weeks to absorb the concepts at a deeper level. And to get the maximum benefit out of the course, you’ll have 2-3 months for it (at approximately 1-2 hours per day).

Each lesson contains “Before” and “After” Excel files so you can practice and then check your work against the completed file. Full transcripts for all the lessons are also included and are downloadable within the site.

We provide key documents such as SEC filings, industry reports, and equity research for the deals and companies analyzed, as well as quick reference guides on key topics.

You also get free Bonus Case Studies of real deals and companies when you sign up. Please see the section of our FAQ dedicated to those for more information.

02) What are the prerequisites for this package?

If you sign up for the entire BIWS Premium package or the Excel & Fundamentals course, there are no prerequisites because we teach you everything from the ground up.

If you sign up for only the Advanced Modeling course you must have already completed the Excel & Fundamentals course, or you must have equivalent knowledge gained from work experience or other training because we move quickly and we assume that you are already proficient with Excel and the fundamental concepts.

03) How long does it take to complete the course?

At the minimum, you need 8 hours to get something out of the course. Ideally, you will have more like 3-4 weeks to absorb the concepts at a deeper level. And to get the maximum benefit out of the course, you’ll have 2-3 months for it (at approximately 1-2 hours per day).

04) Do I need to go through everything? There's so much here!

No, not at all. At the minimum, you need 8 hours to get something out of the course. Ideally, you will have more like 3-4 weeks to absorb the concepts at a deeper level. And to get the maximum benefit out of the course, you’ll have 2-3 months for it (at approximately 1-2 hours per day).

We provide study plans inside the courses that are tailored to the amount of time you have available.

05) How is this different from what I already learned in school?

Everything here is based on what you actually do at investment banks and other finance firms, as opposed to academic theory.

The Microsoft-Yahoo! case study in the Advanced Modeling course also presents you with a real and historically significant transaction, and shows you how bankers would analyze it and make a client recommendation in real life.

Similarly, the investment and deal case studies in the Excel & Fundamentals course represent how you would actually evaluate transactions in different regions and across different industries, whether you’re working at a bank, a growth equity firm, a private equity firm, a hedge fund, or anything else.

Even in the Excel portion of the package, we use case studies: there’s a 3-statement model and valuation of Wal-Mart, an analysis of customer due diligence data, and an exercise based on a REIT’s portfolio of properties.

06) Are these real models actually used at banks? How did you create the content?

The models here were inspired by real models actually used at banks, but they are not literally real models for obvious legal reasons.

We created the content by gathering models used at banks and using the features, formatting, and layout as inspiration, and then modifying them as appropriate.

07) Are the tutorials step-by-step?

They are as step-by-step as they possibly can be, and we do walk you through all the most important calculations in Excel.

For each lesson, you receive “Before” and “After” Excel files and you can check your work against the “After” file to verify that it’s correct.

There are some boring parts that we skip over – for example, it’s a waste of time to show you how to input historical data from the financial statements in a video because it consists of pressing “Copy” and “Paste” repeatedly (as you stare at the screen and want to punch the video for being so boring).

Similarly, we skip over showing you how to enter text and labels in the worksheets because it would be as exciting as watching paint dry.

We focus on the analysis, the calculations, and the conclusions you can draw from the numbers.

08) How are these courses different from what I'll learn by studying for the CFA?

The CFA covers a broader set of topics, but it does not go in-depth into the financial modeling, valuation, and accounting skills you actually use in investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, and related fields.

BIWS is focused on what you do in the real world, while the CFA is more theoretical and doesn’t teach you what bankers actually do in real-life.

Also, our curriculum does not 750+ hours of study – the courses do take time, but you can complete the most important parts in weeks rather than months or years. Even if you want to finish everything in-depth, you might only spend 6 months doing so.

The CFA and the courses here are actually complementary, if anything: the CFA gives you the theory, and these courses give you the real-world practice.

09) How do your courses differ from other financial modeling courses?

The main difference is that our courses were designed specifically for online, self-paced learning and are NOT rehashed or re-purposed recordings of classroom training.

Most other companies selling “online courses” or “self-study courses” actually want you to sign up for their more expensive classroom training.

But we think that classroom training will go the way of the dinosaur, so we do NOT offer any in-person classes, nor do we hold anything back from the online courses.

Instead, we focus 100% of our time and resources on creating the best possible online experience.

You can read through the “Why BIWS?” page for more detail, and to see the top 10 factors that set us apart from other training companies.

10) How do your courses differ from those offered by Training the Street / Wall Street Prep / Wall Street Training?

The core difference is exactly what is stated above: the other companies are all, ultimately, trying to sell their in-person training classes.

We don’t think classroom training will even be around in 50 years, so we focus 100% of our time and energy on the online experience and the community, in order to create the best online training experience around.

If you want a point-by-point list, here’s a summary of the differences between the BIWS modeling courses and those offered by the other companies:

  • Online Video-Based, from the Ground Up: These courses were designed specifically to be completed in a self-paced, online environment where you can track your progress, take notes, take quizzes, and test yourself along the way. Other companies’ “online courses” are simply rehashed versions of classroom training and do not offer the same experience.
  • Case Study-Based: BIWS has more content than courses offered by any of the other companies, and the Premium package is based on 10+ separate, global case studies: Wal-Mart (Excel course); Atlassian, EasyJet, Vivendi, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Men’s Wearhouse / Jos. A. Bank, Suntory / Beam, 7 Days Inn, Chuck E. Cheese’s, Kakao / Daum, and Netflix (Fundamentals course); and Microsoft / Yahoo (Advanced course). In the modeling case studies, you also create written documents such as case study presentations, investment recommendations, equity research reports, and pitch books.
  • Global Coverage of Non-US-Based Companies: Most other training providers act like it’s still 1950 and the US is the center of the world, ignoring how quickly other countries have caught up – this is why we made the course global, by including case studies based on companies in Europe, Asia, and Australia (and yes, several US-based companies as well).
  • Teaching Method: We use analogies to explain key finance concepts – and we start with relatively blank Excel sheets and show you exactly what to do line-by-line. No other course provides step-by-step instruction in the same way. They gloss over steps or do NOT provide “Before” and “after” Excel files for each individual lesson as we do.
  • Quizzes and Certifications: Unlike other companies, we are completely transparent in this process and show you the exact questions in each quiz before you even sign up for the courses. You can also take the quizzes and automatically get your results and certifications without paying anything extra or waiting on someone to grade your exam.
  • Lifetime Access & Support: There is no expiration date once you sign up because we want you to keep using the site for decades to come. Other programs limit your access in some way (TTS Online – 6 months, WSP – 24 month, WST – 6 months).
  • Bonus Case Studies: No other provider offers bonus case studies based on real deals. With 20+ hours of additional free video tutorials, stock pitch and investment recommendation templates, and more, these bonuses alone contain more content than entire training programs from other companies.
  • Price: Our Premium package is the same price, or a lower price, than everything else out there – it’s $497 vs. $499 for a less comprehensive course from Wall Street Prep, $600 for the Training the Street version, and $3,050 for the Wall Street Training version. And these other courses do not offer the quantity or quality of content we do.
  • Money-Back Guarantee: We offer a 90-day money-back guarantee on all the courses, which no other company in the market provides. There is no risk to you at all because you can simply return the course(s) and ask for a refund if you’re not satisfied.

11) Once I complete these courses, how can I add them to my resume?

We have a detailed guide that addresses this very question. You can get it right here:

12) How can I use this course to prove to employers that I know how to model?

You can print out the models, or parts of the models, and bring them with you to interviews. If you can explain everything and show the interviewer exactly what you did, he or she will be impressed.

You can also take the many case study documents, presentations, and other reports you’ll create in the courses, and re-use them or tweak them to create your own versions based on companies you’ve analyzed.

You can also point to the certifications you’ve received from the courses and show potential employers exactly what you had to learn to answer the questions.

Also, please see the guide on how to list the courses on your resume for additional ideas and sample language:

13) Do you offer discounts or coupon codes on the Premium package? How can I get the best deal? Is there a bundle package available?

We do not offer discounts or coupon codes for individual courses.

For available package deals, please see our BIWS Discounts and Coupons page.

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Interview Guide

01) Is this more focused on Analyst or Associate-level interviews?

It covers both levels.

02) Can I use this guide for private equity / equity research / hedge funds / corporate development as well?

The guide is useful for the following fields:

  • Private Equity
  • Long/Short Equity and Merger Arbitrage-Type Hedge Funds (and any other value-oriented ones)
  • Equity Research
  • Corporate Development

The guide is NOT useful for sales & trading, macro-oriented hedge funds, and anything that’s less about specific companies and more about “the big picture.”

It is useful for any roles that involve accounting, valuation/DCF analysis, and analysis of transactions such as M&A deals and leveraged buyouts.

03) I've read many other interview guides - how do I know that your content will teach me something new?

The best way to assess this is to go to the course description page and look at the sample chapters and lessons there.

While no guide is 100% original, this one contains material on topics such as Private Companies, ECM/DCM/Leveraged Finance, and Deal/Market Discussions that you won’t find anywhere else.

Plus, we take a very different approach to the core topics by teaching you the fundamentals first and then delving into the questions and answers. You wouldn’t even be able to answer the questions on basic topics like Equity Value and Enterprise Value in our guide if you relied on material from other companies.

Finally, we have 17 Excel-based case studies/modeling tests, similar to the ones given at assessment centers in EMEA. No other guide out there has the depth and breadth of case studies we cover, and most guides have no case studies at all.

Put simply, this is the most comprehensive interview guide in the world – and if you don’t believe us, check out the samples provided on the description page.

04) How can you charge more than other interview guides?

You cannot compare this guide to anything else on the market.

It’s almost a financial modeling course, given the 578+ pages of instruction on the technical topics, the 18+ Excel files, the video tutorials, the interactive quizzes, and the 17 practice case studies.

But since you asked, here’s why this interview guide is a premium product and what makes it different:

  • Methodology: Rather than giving you endless lists of questions and answers, we teach the concepts first for both the “fit” and technical topics.
  • Content: Altogether, there are over 1,000 pages of tutorials in the guide, with a special focus on “telling your story” in interviews (walking through your resume or CV) and the technical questions.
  • Efficient Preparation: Yes, our guide is comprehensive, but you can also get something out of it in only a few hours. We provide study plans for 4-hour, 2-day, and week-long prep. And if you have more time than that, great! You can complete every last section of the guide.
  • Topics Covered: We cover topics that no other guide teaches – Private Companies, ECM/DCM/Leveraged Finance, Real Estate, Banks and Insurance, Oil & Gas, and more. Plus, we go into far more depth on the core topics – accounting, equity value and enterprise value, and valuation/DCF analysis – than any other guide or textbook.
  • Interactive Quizzes: You can test your understanding of the technical topics with 218+ quiz questions and answers on everything from accounting through LBO models – it’s like being in a real interview, but you don’t need to wear a suit.
  • Resume Walk-Through Templates: Telling your “story” effectively is the most important part of any interview, but most guides skip this part completely. By contrast, we provide you with 18 templates and executed examples that show you how to pitch yourself effectively. There are also written guides and video tutorials for this topic.
  • 17 Practice Case Studies: You’ll get practice completing 3-statement modeling, valuation/DCF, M&A, and LBO case studies – and there’s even a debt/equity case study as well. The allotted time ranges from 30 minutes to 2 hours to simulate the time-pressured environment at an assessment center or in an interview. You also get the full solutions and video walk-through tutorials for all these cases.
  • Support: You can also ask any questions you have directly on the site or via email – whether you want feedback on your “story,” answers to specific technical questions, or answers to general career-related questions. There are some limitations to this service – we can’t complete homework assignments or modeling tests for you – but specific questions are covered.
  • Lifetime Access and Free Updates: No other guide offers these because most other providers don’t have a long-term vision and commitment to the market. We’ve been working on this Interview Guide for over 10 years – most other companies haven’t even been around for that long!

We could go on, but the best way to understand everything above is to go to the page for the guide itself and look at the sample chapters and lessons there.

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Networking Toolkit

01) How did you develop this content? How do you know that it actually works?

We created the content by conducting 50+ interviews with customers who successfully broke into investment banking coming from a variety of different backgrounds, at both the Analyst and Associate levels.

Then, we compiled all the strategies they used, aggregated the actual emails they sent and the conversations they had, and synthesized them into concise instructional videos and templates in the course.

We know it works because it’s based on what has already worked – and because existing customers have sent us hundreds of emails indicating how well it has worked for them.

Click here to review all the success stories that came from this course to learn more.

02) If everyone uses these email and calling templates, will they still work?

Yes, because over 100,000 people apply for investment banking jobs each year in the US alone, and the customers on this site represent a tiny fraction of that number.

Also, every single script and template within the course has parts that you must fill out on your own – so bankers will never receive the same exact email from multiple applicants.

If you are concerned over this, there’s a simple solution: take a few minutes to modify the templates we provide, and put your own spin on them.

03) I'm already working or I already have an offer lined up. Will this course still be helpful for me?

There is some material on what to do once you start working, but the focus is on networking to get interviews and offers in the first place.

If you have significant work experience (e.g., 5+ years) and you are past the Analyst or Associate level, we do not recommend signing up because the lessons will be less relevant.

04) I'm not working in finance - can I still sign up if I want to learn more about networking?

You could, but the focus is on networking in the context of the finance industry. Many of the terms used within and the strategies discussed are specific to finance.

05) Why do you not provide contact information for every single banker at the firms listed in this course?

Because this information would go out-of-date very quickly due to the high turnover in the finance industry. It’s not feasible to constantly update contact information for 50,000+ bankers.

If we added a service like this, we would also have to significantly increase the price of the course because it’s expensive to find and update this type of contact information.

Also, for most boutiques and local firms it is relatively easy to find names, phone numbers, and email addresses by doing a simple Google search of the firm you’re interested in.

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Bank & Financial Institution Modeling

01) For whom is this course intended?

This course is for you if you have a solid background in Excel, accounting, valuation, and M&A/LBO modeling, and you want to learn how to analyze and value commercial banks and insurance companies. Most of the lessons are related to commercial banks.

For example, if you’ve worked as a generalist or in another industry group in investment banking and you’re now moving into the financial institutions group, this course would be an excellent way to get a crash course on the material.

If you already have advanced knowledge of commercial banks and insurance firms (e.g., you’ve advised them on deals for 20+ years), this course is NOT for you unless you need to review the fundamentals.

02) Can you tell me exactly what is included in the course?

Please see the Bank & Financial Institution Modeling course page for detailed and condensed outlines.

In total, there are 103 lessons (45 hours of video) with extensive written notes, several quick reference PDF guides, 150+ practice quiz questions, and a 32-page hedge fund/asset management stock pitch, a 13-page equity research report, and a 48-slide investment banking pitch book. The course is based on 4 global case studies: An operating model and valuation for Shawbrook (U.K.), KeyCorp’s $4.1 billion acquisition of First Niagara (U.S.), a growth equity investment in ANZ (Australia/New Zealand), and a buyout of the Philippine Bank of Communications.

On the commercial banking side, we cover the 3 financial statements for a bank, regulatory capital (Common Equity Tier 1, Tier 1, Total Capital, the LCR and NSFR requirements, etc.), the provision for credit losses and loan loss reserves, and how to project the 3 financial statements for a bank, starting with its loan portfolio, charge-offs, and recoveries.

We then teach key valuation multiples for public comps and precedent transactions, as well as the regression analysis, the dividend discount model and the residual income (excess returns) model.

Finally, we show you how to build a merger model for commercial banks, including loan marks, deposit divestitures, restructuring charges and cost synergies, core deposit intangibles, and adjustments to regulatory capital and federal funds purchased and sold. The last two modules cover private equity investing in banks, including both minority-stake and control deals.

We cover insurance in a set of Overview lessons, starting with accounting for premiums, losses and other costs, and revenue and expense recognition; we then cover how to project the financial statements for a P&C insurance company and the key valuation methodologies for both P&C and life insurance firms (including embedded value).

03) How long does it take to complete this course?

If you go through every single lesson and complete all the Excel file exercises, we estimate a completion time of 70-75 hours.

However, if you just need interview prep you can focus on the “Overview” lessons and learn the most important material for interviews in 10-15 hours.

And if you have almost no time, the first lesson of the course provides a crash course on all the topics in 45 minutes.

We suggest several different approaches to completing the course in a quick start guide PDF that you will receive after you sign up and confirm your email address.

04) What are the prerequisites for this course?

You must have already completed the Excel & Fundamentals course, or you must have equivalent knowledge from work experience and/or other classes.

We move very quickly and assume that you are already proficient with Excel and that you already know the fundamentals of accounting, valuation, and financial modeling.

The Advanced Modeling course is NOT necessary to complete this one.

05) How is this different from other courses about bank, insurance, and financial institution modeling?

The BIWS Bank Modeling course is the only one in the world that teaches you how to use bank modeling and valuation to create stock pitches, equity research reports, and investment banking pitch books. We cover far more material than other courses, and we built the course from the ground up to be an online, video-based course as opposed to one re-purposed from a classroom seminar.

Other courses do not provide examples of stock pitches, equity research reports, or IB pitch books, let alone all the detail on multi-stage dividend discount models, excess or deficit capital adjustments, and projecting a bank’s loan portfolio via GDP growth and market share estimates. They also include nothing on M&A and merger models, growth equity, or buyout models – and some do not even cover a topic as basic as valuation.

06) Do you teach Basel III and CRD IV in the course?

Yes, we cover both of these topics extensively in both the Overview lessons and the Shawbrook case study.

There are several hours of coverage on these topics, along with Excel examples, detailed slides, and outside reading.

The Shawbrook operating model and valuation case study also incorporates these requirements in-depth, including how to calculate regulatory capital differently and how to estimate figures like the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) and the Net Stable Funding Ratio (NSFR).

07) Do you teach how to model other types of financial institutions, such as wealth management firms, investment banks, and brokerage firms?

No, because financial institutions other than commercial banks and insurance firms are much more similar to “normal” companies and you do not use (nearly as many) different metrics, multiples, and methodologies.

For example, it’s perfectly acceptable to value a wealth management or brokerage firm with EV / EBITDA multiples; you might also look at AUM-based metrics such as EV / AUM for wealth management firms, but they are still not much different from standard companies.

We may add case studies on these other sectors in the future, but we will not create a dedicated course because there aren’t enough differences to justify it.

08) Do you have a more in-depth course on insurance or life insurance? I need more than the Overview lessons you offer.

We do not have any other official course materials at this time. We do hope to add more material on insurance / life insurance in the future, but we do not yet have a time frame for those additions.

If you have specific questions on these sectors, feel free to ask us and we will attempt to answer what we can. However, if you ask about material not covered in the courses, we may or may not be able to answer your queries.

09) Is this course still applicable outside of the U.S. / outside of North America?

Yes. The introductory module of the course explains how banks’ financial statements differ on all six inhabited continents and in both developed markets and emerging markets, using examples from different countries (e.g., Brazil, South Africa, China, the Philippines, the UK, Germany, Australia, New Zealand, and the US).

And then the primary case study in the course is based on a U.K.-based bank (Shawbrook); the other case studies feature ANZ in Australia/New Zealand and the Philippine Bank of Communications.

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Oil & Gas Modeling

01) For whom is this course intended?

This course is for you if you have a solid background in Excel, accounting, valuation, and M&A/LBO modeling, and you want to learn how to analyze and value companies, deals, and potential investments in the oil & gas industry.

For example, if you’ve worked as a generalist or in another industry group in investment banking and you’re now moving into the oil & gas group, this course is an excellent way to get a crash course on the material.

If you already have advanced knowledge of the technical side of oil & gas, this course is NOT for you unless you need to review the fundamentals.

02) Can you tell me exactly what is included in the course?

Please see the Oil & Gas Modeling course page for detailed and condensed outlines.

In total, there are 95 lessons (36 hours of video) with 15 quick reference guide PDFs on key topics (including a detailed 20-page example stock pitch).

Topics covered include oil & gas accounting, how oil & gas financial statements differ, how to measure reserves and production, how to project the financial statements, how to value oil & gas companies and create Net Asset Value (NAV) models, and how merger models and LBO models differ in the oil & gas sector.

We also provide a 41-lesson case study on a complex Net Asset Value (NAV) model, based on Ultra Petroleum, and show you how to use granular assumptions for variables like wells drilled each year in each region, D&C costs and OpEx per well, and so on, to build your own investment thesis around a company and make a recommendation.

03) How long does it take to complete this course?

If you go through every single lesson and complete all the Excel file exercises, we estimate a completion time of 45-55 hours.

However, if you just need to prepare for interviews, you can focus on the “Overview” and NAV-related lessons and learn the most important material for interviews in 10-15 hours.

We suggest several different approaches to completing the course in a quick start guide PDF that you will receive after you sign up and confirm your email address.

04) What are the prerequisites for this course?

You must have already completed the Excel & Fundamentals course, or you must have equivalent knowledge from work experience and/or other classes.

We move very quickly and assume that you are already proficient with Excel and that you already know the fundamentals of accounting, valuation, and financial modeling.

The Advanced Modeling course is NOT necessary to complete this one, but it may be helpful in enhancing your overall understanding.

05) How is this different from the Wall Street Prep Oil & Gas Modeling course?

It is based on a bigger and more significant deal, it has more in-depth material, and it was built from the ground up to be an online, video-based course as opposed to a course re-purposed from a classroom seminar.

And it goes into far more depth on the NAV model than the WSP version – take a look at the models and sample videos yourself to see that for yourself.

Here are the specifics of how it’s different:

  • It’s based on a more historically significant deal (Exxon-Mobil’s $41 billion acquisition of XTO Energy).
  • As a result of that, we also cover 2 models in the main course: one for XTO, a dedicated E&P company, and one for Exxon-Mobil, a diversified company, and we show you the key differences on the financial statements for both types of companies.
  • It goes into more depth on topics like the NAV model and how the DCF translates to a NAV model, as well as on industry-specific metrics and multiples such as EBITDAX and EV / EBITDAX.
  • There are more details on how and why merger and LBO models differ; by contrast, the other course presents the models but does not highlight the differences.
  • We include Overview lessons in the beginning that explain how to move from Production and Reserves to the financial statements; these lessons introduce you to the concepts and serve as a “crash course” for interview prep.
  • Our course is video-based, with written quick reference guides on all the key topics. This is more effective than following along with Excel screen shots pasted into presentation slides because it’s faster and easier to look up information in the concise guides.
  • Finally, our course includes advanced material (on a complex NAV model) that goes beyond any other oil & gas training program on the market.

06) Do you teach how to model individual assets, such as a single well, rather than entire companies?

Not exactly, but the more complex NAV model for Ultra Petroleum goes into a lot of detail on how you approximate the production decline curve for a single “average” well in each region the company operates in, and how to estimate revenue and expenses from it.

So we don’t have an entire dedicated course on how to model single wells / fields, but the concepts are included within the second case study on the complex NAV model.

07) This course seems very upstream / E&P-focused. What about other sectors, such as midstream (pipelines) and downstream (refining & marketing)?

We cover elements of those sectors in the Overview lessons, and also in the alternate operating model we build for Exxon Mobil (XOM), but the course definitely focuses on E&P.

That is because the other sectors within oil & gas are less different from “normal companies” and there is less to say about accounting and valuation in those sectors.

If you want more information, we do have additional resources on other types of oil & gas companies that we can share with you once you sign up for the course.

08) What about metals and mining? I'm in Canada or Australia or another region where mining is very important. Does the course cover it?

The course is more focused on energy companies, but the majority of the concepts we teach (NAV, hedging, resource price cases, etc.) also apply to mining, so you can still use what you learn in the course to value and model mining companies.

Also, we do have extra resources, models, and reports on how modeling and valuation for mining companies differ, and we’re happy to share those once you sign up.

09) Is this course still applicable outside of the U.S. / outside of North America?

The case studies use U.S.-based companies, but we do analyze several Canadian public companies in the valuation lessons, so the concepts also apply there.

There are some differences in accounting and the financial statements outside of North America (which we note in the course), but the fundamental concepts still apply to companies everywhere. For example, valuation multiples based on Reserves and Production are used for E&P companies in any region, as is the NAV model.

But if you’re looking for material specifically focused on energy companies or deals in Russia, Africa, or the Middle East, this is probably not the course for you.

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Real Estate & REIT Modeling

01) For whom is this course intended?

This course is for you if you have a solid background in Excel, accounting, valuation, and M&A and LBO modeling, and you want to learn how to model real estate developments, acquisitions, and real estate investment trusts (REITs) and then make investment recommendations based on these analyses.

 

For example, if you’ve worked as a generalist or in another industry group in investment banking and you’re now moving into the real estate group, this course is an excellent way to get a crash course on the material. It is also useful for commercial real estate (CRE) firms, CRE lending, real estate private equity, and related fields.

 

If you already have advanced knowledge of the technical side of real estate, this course is unlikely to be helpful for you unless you want to review the concepts quickly.

 

02) Can you tell me exactly what is included in the course?

Please see the Real Estate & REIT Modeling course page for detailed and condensed outlines.

 

In total, there are 114 lessons (44 hours of video) with 300+ written pages on the key topics, along with full transcripts for everything.

 

There are 8 short case studies (30, 60, or 90 minutes) based on real estate development, acquisition, and renovation deals and REIT valuations.

 

Then, there are 9 longer, more in-depth case studies (2 to 4 hours) based on similar topics but with more complex models and case questions. There’s also coverage of REIT Debt vs. Equity deals, M&A deals, and leveraged buyout deals.

 

These lessons and case studies cover all the most important topics: NOI, Cap Rates, TIs, LCs, rent rolls, waterfall returns schedules, debt and equity draws and modeling, NAV models for REITs, DCF and cash flow projections for REITs, and more.

 

If you have limited time to prepare, you can also complete Module 1 of the course (the short case studies) in a weekend and get up to speed quickly.

 

03) How long does it take to complete this course?

If you have limited time, we designed Module 1 of the course specifically for you because it features short and simple case studies that get you up to speed on real estate quickly. You can finish these exercises in a weekend (10-15 hours of time).

 

If you want to go beyond this and finish everything in the course, we estimate a total completion time of 60-70 hours, or about 2 months if you spend 1 hour per day on the course.

 

If you want to focus on *just* properties or *just* REITs, you can finish the relevant lessons for either of those in about 30-35 hours, or about 1 month if you spend 1 hour per day on the course.

 

04) What are the prerequisites for this course?

You must have already completed the Excel & Fundamentals course, or you must have equivalent knowledge from work experience and/or other classes.

 

Here’s a simple test: Do you know what PV, NPV, and IRR mean? And could you write an INDEX/MATCH function to retrieve data in Excel? If not, start with the Excel & Fundamentals course.

 

The Advanced Modeling course is not necessary to complete this one.

 

05) How does this course differ from other real estate courses or training?

The short answer is that we offer the only course on the market that teaches you to complete case studies and modeling tests given in interviews quickly and efficiently, and which also gets you up to speed quickly if you’re preparing for the job itself.

 

Most other courses offer examples and models that are convoluted and difficult to use in real life, or they are not based on the tasks you have to complete in real interviews and on the job. Also, they do not help you at all if you have limited time to prepare.

 

Finally, just regarding the depth and breadth of material, nothing else compares to our course – we have investment recommendation presentations, dozens of Excel file examples, and coverage of topics such as REIT M&A and REIT leveraged buyouts that you will not find in books, textbooks, or other sources.

 

06) Do you teach ARGUS in the course?

No. We don’t teach it because it is fairly complicated and expensive software that not everyone has access to, and teaching it would require a whole separate course.

 

We focus on Excel-based financial modeling, so we teach you how to replicate much of the functionality of ARGUS in Excel and VBA – such as tenant lease modeling and different assumptions for rent, rental escalations, absorption & turnover vacancy, concessions and free rent, tenant improvements, leasing commissions, expense reimbursements, and more.

 

07) What type of real estate valuation do you teach?

In all the case studies based on individual properties, we use Cap Rates to establish the purchase and exit prices, and in one of the case studies, we also complete a DCF for the property and value it with comparable sales and a Replacement Cost analysis.

 

With REIT valuation, we show you how to screen for comparable companies and transactions, gather data, and use multiples such as P / FFO, P / AFFO, and P / EPRA Earnings to value the subject company.

 

We also walk you through examples of DCF analyses, NAV models, and the Dividend Discount Model (DDM) for REITs.

 

08) I'm using this course to analyze specific real estate deals. How can I find information on these deals, or similar recent deals in the market?

The two best services are Real Capital Analytics and Property & Portfolio Research (PPR).

 

Neither one is “cheap,” but both are comprehensive and will give you information about relevant property sales and developments in your region.

 

Also, you can find a lot of free information and reports from real estate brokerage firms with simple Google searches for major cities. We found almost all the data in the case studies here via Google searches.

 

09) Is this course still applicable outside of the U.S. / outside of North America?

Yes. The course includes examples of properties and companies from the U.S., Canada, U.K., UAE, Brazil, Singapore, Australia, France and Spain, Hong Kong, and more.

 

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PowerPoint Pro

01) For whom is this course intended?

This course is for you if you want to gain a solid understanding of how to use PowerPoint to create presentations and pitch books for use in the finance industry. We cover not just the keyboard shortcuts, but also how to *think* about presentations and the most useful structures for presentations and individual slides.

The core lessons focus on how to create a sell-side M&A / valuation pitch book for Jazz Pharmaceuticals, but they are generally applicable to presentations in private equity, hedge fund, and other finance roles.

If you’re about to start an investment banking internship, for example, and you don’t know much about PowerPoint or how to turn your Excel files into actionable recommendations, this course would be a good fit for you.

Even if you’re a PowerPoint veteran and you’ve used the program for years, you are guaranteed to learn something new here, as we teach material not found in books and other online sources – and we provide a study plan for getting the most out of the course if you already have more advanced knowledge.

02) Can you tell me exactly what is included in the course?

Please see the PowerPoint Pro course page for detailed and condensed outlines.

In total, there are 49 lessons (20 hours of video) with a quick reference guide PDF on the most important keyboard shortcuts, along with full transcripts for everything and written notes for all the core lessons. There are also 100+ examples of real presentations used by banks, practice exercises, sample company and deal profile templates, and more.

In the course itself, we teach you how to create a sell-side M&A / valuation pitch book for Jazz Pharmaceuticals, based on materials from the Financial Modeling Fundamentals course. You’ll learn how to create each slide in the presentation from the ground up, including the company profiles, process diagrams, corporate hierarchy slides, and more.

The lessons teach you how to set up PowerPoint correctly and use the Quick Access Toolbar (QAT) to maximize your speed, how to use shapes, slides, alignment and distribution, and how to use the Slide Master and Sections, Excel and Word data, images, and more. You’ll also learn how to apply “finishing touches” to your presentation, and you’ll get practice exercises and examples of how to create deal and company profiles.

You can get a lot out of the course regardless of whether you’re brand new to PowerPoint or you’ve used it for years – we guarantee you will pick up at least a few tricks here that you have not seen before.

03) How long does it take to complete this course?

If you go through every single lesson and complete all the PowerPoint file exercises, we estimate a completion time of 25-30 hours.

However, we have four different “study plans” in the course, and you can complete the most important parts in as little as 5 hours if that’s all you have. We also provide additional study plans for 10-15 hours of time.

04) Which version of PowerPoint do I need? Does this work on the Mac version of PowerPoint?

You should ideally be using PowerPoint 2013, 2016, 2019, or beyond, but PowerPoint 2010 will also work. PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 are not supported, though you can access an older version of the course that was created for those versions once you sign up.

The Mac versions of PowerPoint are not supported. We strongly recommend installing Parallels or another program that lets you use the PC/Windows versions of programs, because the Mac versions of Office are more limited and do not support all the keyboard shortcuts you need.

Also, as a practical matter, pretty much all finance firms use the PC version of Office – so you are putting yourself at a significant disadvantage if you attempt to learn financial modeling and presentation creation on a Mac, as you’ll have to re-learn it on the PC anyway.

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Package Deals & Discounts

01) Can you give me a discount?

In the interest of fairness to all customers, we do not offer discounts on individual courses.

However, there are package deals available and once you sign up for one course you will receive access to any members-only specials we are running at the moment.

The other package deals listed on our Discounts & Coupons page reflect the best rates available.

02) Why do you not offer discounts?

It’s not fair to the 41,053+ customers who have already signed up at the published rates.

Again, package deals are available but we have to be strict on prices for standalone, individual courses.

For more, please see our BIWS Discounts & Coupons page to review the different options.

03) What package deals are available?

Please see the BIWS Discounts & Coupons page to review the different options.

04) How can I access the discounted rates for other courses if I'm already a member of one course?

Once you log into the site, scroll down on the main page and you’ll see instructions on how to take advantage of any specials or promotions we are running for members.

05) I saw that you offered a discount when one of your courses first launched - can you extend that discount to me?

No, for the same reasons mentioned above: it would not be fair to existing customers who signed up at the current rates.

06) Do you offer volume discounts for group licenses or educational institutions?

Yes. For specific details, please email us with the details of your institution and how many students or employees will be using the program.

You can also check the “Group Licenses” section of our FAQ, or go to the BIWS Firm Portal or BIWS Educational Institution Portal to review the details there.

07) Can my friends and I purchase one of the courses and share it with each other? We can't afford to purchase it separately.

We do not allow this because your progress in each course, your quiz results, your notes, your certifications, and all your comments and questions are linked to your individual account.

So if you shared the account with your friend, you would receive a certification with your friend’s name on it instead, and you would not be able to track your own progress through the lessons.

If you’re interested in signing up with friends, we may be able to offer you a discounted group rate depending on how big your group is (see the question above).

08) I saw someone who promotes your courses and who claims to offer a free bonus, such as a free course or free guide. Is his/her offer legitimate? Or is it a scam?

It may be legitimate – we do have a few partners who offer their own bonuses when you sign up for one of our courses through them.

Note, however, that we do NOT grant free access to any of the BIWS courses on this site regardless of whether you sign up through us or through another site.

So if you see someone who claims to offer free access to a BIWS course, as opposed to his/her own custom bonus, he/she is NOT legitimate and you should ignore the offer.

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Customer Service & Support

01) I have questions about your courses / I enrolled in the courses and have questions on the course material. How can I get answers to my questions?

You can ask questions and receive answers by doing one of the following:

  1. Go directly to the lesson you have questions on and ask your questions there. We will then respond to your question and you can track our responses over time.
  2. Go to the Contact Form and email us with your questions.

02) For how long will you continue to answer my questions after I've signed up for a course?

We provide lifetime support, so you can ask questions for however long you want – whether it’s 6 months from now or 15 years from now.

Believe it or not, many customers who signed up when we first launched (in 2009) are still using the site and asking questions.

03) How quickly will you respond to my questions? I need an answer right now because I have an interview in 30 minutes.

We respond to emails and questions left on the site within 1 business day, and often more quickly than that.

We cannot offer instantaneous responses to all questions because doing so would substantially increase the course prices, given the additional employees required to support those response times.

On balance, we have found that most customers prefer to pay less and accept responses within 1 business day rather than paying additional fees for quicker responses.

04) How much help can I ask for / how many questions can I ask once I sign up?

We can answer questions related to the course content as well as general career-related questions.

For example, if you have a question about how to present your story in an interview, or you’re confused about a calculation in one of the models on the site, we can answer those questions.

We cannot complete homework assignments or case studies for you, nor can we respond to last-minute requests to fix Excel problems.

This is because tracking down specific Excel problems often takes hours, and it is not feasible for us to look at a file we have never seen before and instantly figure out what is going wrong in 5 minutes.

We cannot complete entire case studies, modeling tests, or work projects for you because it’s far beyond the scope of these services, and it’s unethical for us to do the actual work for you.

05) Do you offer phone support?

At this time, all technical support (e.g., if you have a question on valuation or LBO models) is provided via email or via the question & answer system within the site itself.

If you have a billing or administrative question, you will receive a phone number to call once you sign up for a course and join the site.

06) Why do you not offer phone support for everything?

We actually do offer phone support for billing and administrative questions, and you’ll receive a number to call once you sign up.

We do not offer phone support for technical questions because doing so would significantly increase the course prices (the same issue described above in question #3).

Asking your questions within the site also benefits you directly because:

  1. You can also view all previous questions and answers before even asking your question.
  2. You can get more helpful responses where we reference specific models, videos, and documents on the site.
  3. You can also track your questions and our responses, and go to a page within the site where you can print out a collated summary of everything.

If you have an urgent account or billing problem, you will receive a phone number to call once you sign up for a course on the site.

07) What is the contingency plan if your company is sold or if you shut down this site at some point? Will I still have access to all the courses?

All the content is downloadable within the site itself, so you will still be able to access everything even if the ownership of the site changes in the future.

Should this happen, we would post an announcement well in advance of any changes and everything would be available for download over an extended period.

08) Can you tell me exactly what your refund policy is?

All the modeling courses and guides come with a 90-day 100% money-back guarantee. If you’re unsatisfied with anything, you can simply email us and ask for your money back within 90 days of signing up.

Note that this refund policy does NOT apply to the resume editing and coaching services, because they are intensive, 1-on-1 services where we work with you in-depth over several weeks (or more).

As a result, we do not offer refunds on resume editing and coaching (whether purchased individually or as part of a package).

09) That sounds too good to be true - I don't believe you. What's the catch? Where's the fine print? What are the exceptions?

There is no catch. It is standard to offer money-back guarantees for online courses, though we are more generous than most companies since we provide a 90-day guarantee.

The only exception is for resume editing and coaching, which are not courses offered directly on this site – they are actually a part of Mergers & Inquisitions, our sister site.

10) Can I see what existing customers have said about your courses? Can you share success stories?

Sure – you can read hundreds of success stories by clicking here.

For more about what makes us different and our core values, please review the Why Choose BIWS? page.

Finally, feel free to ask around online or in forums and see what users have to say about our courses.

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Website & Technical Questions

01) Are there any restrictions on the printing of PDFs or the copying / downloading of files?

No. Everything is a normal file and we do not use any DRM technology within the site.

You can download everything and use the files on multiple computers or other devices.

02) Can I download everything within the site?

Yes. Each lesson contains “Download” links in various formats – MP4, iPad, iPhone, and iPod for video files, MP3 for audio files, and PDF and Word for documents.

In addition, there is a “My Resource Center” area within the site where you can download everything at once.

03) My internet connection is very slow. How can I access all the video content if it takes forever to download it?

One option is to queue up all the video downloads, and then leave your computer on overnight while the download process finishes.

You can access all the video files and follow the instructions on the “My Resource Center” page within the site.

04) Will everything work on Macs as well?

You will be able to watch the videos, listen to the audio files, read the documents, and edit and complete all the Excel files on the Mac.

Additionally, the Excel course includes a quick reference guide for Mac Excel shortcuts, and we cover Mac shortcuts in all the Excel tutorials.

Note that the PowerPoint course is NOT designed for the Mac version of PowerPoint, and we do not cover Mac-specific shortcuts there. Parts of the course will still be relevant, but we cannot guarantee that everything will work properly, particularly in older versions of PowerPoint.

05) What about Linux / other operating systems?

You should be able to watch the videos, listen to the audio files, and read the documents with no problem.

However, you’ll need to use a Windows emulator or virtual machine if you want to follow along in Excel and use all the Excel files within the course.

06) Does your site work on mobile devices, such as smartphones and tablets?

Yes. We use responsive design, which means that the site automatically adapts and shows up differently depending on your screen size.

The interface will not be as feature-rich on a small smartphone screen, but the site will be functional and you can still watch videos, take quizzes, take notes, leave comments, and so on.

07) Do these models work in all versions of Excel?

The models work in Excel 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019, which are the versions that 99.9% of firms and individuals are currently using.

Microsoft goes to great lengths to ensure backward compatibility, so it is unlikely that future versions of Excel will break anything – but in case they do, we will update the Excel files so they work correctly in new versions.

Excel 2007, 2010, 2013, 2016, and 2019 are all very similar; there are interface differences and new features in each version, but the core Excel functions and keyboard shortcuts remain the same.

Anything designated as “2007” or “2007+” in the course will work in all those versions. All files should also work in the Mac versions of Excel.

08) Can I view everything in all web browsers?

Yes, all major browsers are supported. We recommend Chrome, Firefox, or Safari for the optimal browsing experience.

09) Can I use your site on multiple computers, like my work laptop and home laptop?

Yes. Once you have a username and password, you can log in from anywhere you want.

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Quizzes & Certifications

01) For which courses can I receive certifications?

Currently, we offer certifications for the Excel course, the Fundamentals course, the Advanced Modeling course, the Bank & Financial Institution Modeling course, the Oil & Gas Modeling course, and the Real Estate & REIT Modeling course.

Each course has a SEPARATE quiz and certification.

In other words, if you sign up for the BIWS Premium package you would NOT take a quiz and then receive a certification for the entire Premium package.

Instead, you would complete the quizzes for the Excel course, Fundamentals course, and Advanced course separately, and then you would receive a certification for each of those courses once you achieve a score of 90% on each quiz.

02) How do quizzes and certifications work exactly?

Each quiz includes anywhere from 50 to 200 multiple choice questions, some with 1 correct answer and some with multiple correct answers.

You enter your answers for all the questions, and if you earn a score of AT LEAST 90% – based on points, not the percentage of correct questions – you receive the certification and can save it or print it out.

Example: You’re taking a quiz with 100 questions and 150 available points (since some of the questions have multiple correct answers).

You get 90 out of 100 questions correct, which is a score of 90%.

However, you only earn 133 points because you answer incorrectly several questions with multiple correct answers.

In this case, you would NOT receive the certification because 133 / 150 = 88.7%, which is less than 90%.

If, however, you earned at least 135 points out of the 150 available points, you would receive the certificate since 135 / 150 = 90%.

Once you complete the quiz, you can view your INCORRECT answers by going to the “My Quizzes” section of the site.

You can use these results to determine the topics you need to study in more depth for your next quiz attempt.

You can also view and print all your certifications in the “My Quizzes” section of the site.

03) Does it cost extra to receive a certification?

No. You can take all the quizzes, review your results, and view and print the certifications for free as part of your course enrollment fee.

In the future, we may allow you to order a higher-quality printed copy of the certificate for a separate fee.

04) Will these certifications actually help me get a job?

A certification is not a “magic bullet” that will instantly get you job offers; instead, it is one of many factors that will improve your odds of winning job offers at investment banks and other finance firms.

Certifications are especially helpful if you’re coming from a non-finance background because you can show employers the certificates and then say, “Here are the questions and Excel exercises I had to complete to receive this certificate. You can see the exact material I had to learn in this course by following this link.” (We display a link to all the quiz questions directly on the certificate)

Unlike other training companies, we make the process as transparent as possible by publishing the exact questions you have to answer in order to receive the certification.

Certifications are also helpful in emerging and frontier markets because modeling and valuation are less standardized and employers value 3rd-party verification of your skills.

05) How many times can I take the quizzes, and can I come back and take them later on if I partially complete one or several quizzes?

You can take the quizzes an unlimited number of times until you pass and receive the certification.

Your progress is automatically saved as you enter answer choices, and you can always come back to the quiz and resume your progress on it.

You can also save the quiz yourself and return later on when you’re ready to finish it.

06) How difficult are the quizzes?

They are intended to be challenging. Even if you’ve completed the courses and you’ve finished all the Excel exercises, it is unlikely that you’ll pass any quiz on your first attempt.

The Advanced Modeling quiz and industry-specific course quizzes are especially challenging, and will likely require many attempts to pass.

The questions and concepts covered in the quizzes require critical thinking, plus an ability to analyze unfamiliar scenarios and apply your skills to new topics.

You can click here to view PDFs of all the quizzes and get a sense of the difficulty level.

There are easier and more straightforward questions in some of the quizzes, but they are still intended to be challenging even if you are proficient in financial modeling.

07) Can you share with me the answer keys to your quizzes?

No. We do not publish answer keys for the quizzes because doing so would defeat the purpose of awarding certifications in the first place.

If you had the answer key, you could simply go into the quiz and enter all the correct answers from that document without understanding anything yourself.

We do have practice quizzes available in several courses, and we offer answer keys and explanations of the questions on those quizzes.

More practice quizzes will be added to the site in the future (see question #9).

08) OK, but what if I really can't figure out one of the questions or why my answer was incorrect?

Feel free to contact us with the specific question(s) you’re unsure of and we can give an explanation or offer hints on the correct answer.

Again, we do NOT distribute full answer keys because doing so would defeat the purpose of the certifications – but we are happy to offer hints if you get stuck on certain questions.

09) Are there other practice quizzes in the courses so I can test myself before taking a full certification quiz?

Yes, there are practice quizzes in most of the courses on the site now (with a few exceptions, such as the Advanced course, and some of the older case studies in the others).

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Group Licenses

01) What type of discount or package deal can we receive as an organization or company interested in signing up for your courses?

It’s based on two things: 1) The number of students or professionals in your organization who sign up, and 2) The specific course(s) you purchase.

We offer two methods of signing up for group licenses:

  1. Let us know in advance how many members will sign up for and use the courses, and we will send you a single invoice that reflects a volume discount. Then, we’ll distribute account login information and instructions to everyone in your organization once you have submitted payment.
  2. If you cannot pay for the courses as an organization or you do not know the exact number of users in advance, we can create a coupon code for your organization that reflects a lower discount than the option above and which allows your members to sign up individually.

Option #1 gives you the best deal because we can offer a better rate when we know in advance how many users will sign up, but we’re open to either possibility.

02) What are the specific discounted group license rates you offer?

Please see our pricing page here.

We offer a 10% discount for group licenses with 3 to 9 users, a 25% discount for 10 to 14 users, and 35%+ discounts for more than 15 users.

Contact us with the course(s) you are interested in and how many users you have and we’ll provide an exact quote.

03) What is the method of payment?

We accept wire transfers, credit card payment, or PayPal.

We do NOT accept checks or money orders sent in the mail due to the higher administrative costs of processing these payments.

04) Once we submit payment, what is the next step in the process and how will our students or professionals receive their accounts?

Simply send us each user’s name and email address, and then we will create all the accounts and send each user his/her login information and instructions to get started.

05) Can I speak with your existing group license / institutional clients to see what they say about your courses?

We’re happy to set up reference calls, but we need to know something about your group or organization and how you’re planning to use the courses first.

For example, you might let us know the name of your institution, the numbers of users that want to sign up, and the courses you’re interested in, as well as any specific questions you have.

If you let us know that information, we can set up reference calls with similar existing clients.

06) We do not have the budget to purchase your courses for an entire group of students or professionals. What options are there?

One option is to purchase course access for a smaller group of students or professionals for now, and then add more users later based on the feedback from that first group and how your budget changes over time.

Another option is to start out with one of the more basic courses, such as the Excel course or the Financial Modeling Fundamentals course, and then see what your users need next after completing that material.

Finally, organizations can pass the cost of the courses along to their members while still getting a discounted rate through Option #2 above (See Question #1 in this section for details).

07) Once we sign up, can you tell us how active our users are, what lessons and quizzes they have completed, and what certifications they have received?

Yes. You can check this yourself as the group administrator – just tell us which students are in your group, and we can set up your account such that you can see students’ completed lessons, quiz scores, and more.

After this is set up, you will be able to log into the site and check your students’ progress whenever you want.

08) Can we preview your courses by signing up for a free trial account, or by viewing sample lessons?

Sure – please email us and tell us something about your group, your requirements, the number of users you have, and the courses you’re interested in and we can set this up.

We have Firm and School Demo Portals with sample lessons from the courses, and we can also create a time-limited trial account for any of the courses if you want a full preview.

09) We already have another training provider. Why should we sign up for your courses?

Because in all likelihood, our courses are complementary rather than competitive with what your other provider already offers.

While in-person training can work for some students and professionals, one disadvantage is that once it ends the training is over and it’s difficult to get your questions answered or to practice building the models and reviewing the concepts.

Our courses, by contrast, are available on-demand 24/7 – just like Netflix or Hulu.

That means that your users can always get practice, look up concepts quickly, and get their questions answered day or night. They also receive instant access to new material, bonus case studies, and new modules we release.

Finally, we offer lifetime access to all the materials – it’s not time-limited and there’s no expiration date, unlike almost all other online courses.

As a result of these factors, many of our clients sign up for group licenses with us even if they have an existing in-person training provider already.

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Coaching & Resume Editing

01) Can you explain how your resume/CV editing and coaching services work?

We work with a limited number of clients each month to improve their resumes/CVs and cover letters, and we provide 1-on-1 assistance with the entire recruiting, networking, and interview process.

To qualify, you must be: 1) A student with significant internship experience (e.g., at least 2 solid finance-related internships); 2) A current investment banker or other finance professional who’s seeking to move to another company or field in finance; or 3) A career changer at the MBA-level or above who wants to get into the finance industry.

We do NOT work with university students who do not yet have real work experience because our services would not be helpful for them.

After you sign up you will receive further instructions on how to proceed, including the documents and information we need from you. We will also schedule a time for our initial diagnostic call.

02) What are the available sign-up options and package deals?

03) These services are more expensive than other resume editing or coaching services I've seen. How can you justify that?

It is because they are significantly more comprehensive than other services, and because we focus on working with a smaller number of clients and doing more substantive work for them.

We take the time to understand your needs, and we ask you in-depth questions to make sure we have all the information we need to present your case in the best possible light.

You may or may not know that you possess certain strengths/advantages/experiences that are useful to interviewers, which is why we strongly favor a diagnostic call in the beginning of the process that allows us to get all the information we need from you.

And then you can leave the rest to us: We will help you present the most impressive points and achievements on your resume, in your cover letter, and in your pitch.

In addition to that, we also revamp your “story” so that it is more coherent and effective, and we help to point out any self-doubt or self-sabotaging beliefs that may be working against you – and then show you how to overcome these beliefs to achieve the results you desire.

We also suggest the best direction and role for your career – if, for example, we think you fit in better with trading than investment banking, or that you’d fit in better at a boutique rather than a bulge bracket bank, we will let you know.

In contrast to all the points above, most other services tend to use a “one size fits all” method where they aim for as many clients as possible and do not take the time to understand each one or provide in-depth feedback.

We take the opposite approach and choose to work with a smaller number of clients and offer more comprehensive services.

The other difference is that we provide more services within each package we offer: for example, a diagnostic phone call, a coaching call, or/and a customized Action Plan depending on the package you sign up for. These services are one-of-a-kind because they are tailored directly to your needs.

04) Why do you not offer refunds on these services?

Because we work with you intensively 1-on-1 and spend a significant amount of time personally editing your documents and guiding you in the recruiting process.

If you sign up and we mutually decide that you would not benefit from the services, we will refund your money immediately before we begin to work with you.

Once we have accepted payment and we have decided to proceed with the work, however, there will be no refunds granted.

05) Who delivers these services? Do I get to work with Brian personally?

Nicole Lee leads our efforts and delivers these resume editing and coaching services.

She has worked in equity research, investment banking, institutional sales, and capital markets at bulge bracket banks.

Brian oversees the process and reviews documents as well to ensure consistency.

He generally does not offer 1-on-1 consulting due to time constraints. When he does offer consulting, he only makes it available for buy-side recruiting (e.g., investment banking to private equity and hedge funds) and/or advanced technical interviews.

06) Do you have examples of client success stories or testimonials from these services?

Yes – feel free to review our investment banking resume editing page and/or investment banking coaching page to see comments from previous and current clients.

07) How much help can I ask for / how many questions can I ask once I sign up?

You’re free to ask any questions you want within the service period (click here to see the details for each package). It takes us 1-2 business days to respond, depending on the package you signed up for.

We do not strictly define exactly what you can or can’t ask for help with, but here are a few examples to illustrate what is included with the services, and what is not included with the services:

We Can Help With:

  • Tips on how to tweak your “story” and position yourself in interviews.
  • Tips on how to find names and contact information and execute your networking strategy.
  • Feedback on responses to specific interview questions and/or networking strategies.
  • Questions on how best to present experience on your resume/CV.
  • How to handle tricky situations such as *not* receiving a return offer, being fired or let go, handling multiple offers, reneging on an offer, not getting along with your colleagues, or applying to multiple roles within the same bank.

We Cannot Help With:

  • Entire case studies, modeling tests, or work projects. It’s beyond the scope of these services, and it is unethical for us to do the actual work for you.
  • Additional drafts or versions of your resume/CV, or help for family members and friends and their resumes/CVs. We provide one draft of your resume/CV with multiple rounds of edits on that one draft, but no more than that.
  • Meeting up in-person and/or flying to meet you to give you advice.
  • Additional coaching or diagnostic calls beyond what is included in the package you sign up for.
  • Providing information from other candidates or from the interviews they have been through. You are protected by confidentiality once you sign up for these services, and we never share other clients’ information.
  • Last-minute requests, such as asking us to edit a new draft of your resume on a Friday night and return it to you on Saturday morning, or asking to speak on the phone immediately whenever a question comes up.

These requests are impossible for us to handle because our team works in different time zones around the world, and it is not possible to provide thoughtful responses on an extremely short time frame.

08) Where can I get more information on these services?

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Affiliates

01) Do you offer referral fees or do you have an affiliate program?

We do have an affiliate program, but it is currently closed to new sign-ups.

When it re-opens, we will post a notice about it here and describe the terms (commission rates, payment period, and so on).

02) Why is your referral program closed to new sign-ups? I really want to promote your courses!

We appreciate the sentiment, but we are currently re-tooling the program and we do not want to give you inconsistent information while it’s “under renovation.”

03) What if I just promote your courses informally and get a few friends to sign up? Can you pay me a commission?

No.

Paying commissions like this requires extra paperwork and tax filings in the US, and it is not economically viable unless you sell a significant volume of courses on an ongoing basis each month.

We are not currently hiring for dedicated sales rep roles, but we will post a notice here if anything changes.

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