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 (it's a savings of $632, or 35%, off of everything separately).

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 / 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, we can simply let you swap the courses.

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

07) I have no interest in ever working in finance. Should I sign up for your courses?
These courses are most helpful if you intend to work in the finance industry and see a path to getting there.

You could sign up out of intellectual curiosity, but the focus of the courses is interview prep and success on the job in the finance industry.

08) 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.

Note that we also cover companies and deals in Europe, Asia, and Australia within the Excel & Fundamentals course, so you see specific examples of how all the concepts apply outside of North America.

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.

The other factor is that in some other regions, such as the UK, you can win interviews by applying online and having fantastic grades and work experience - whereas it is generally far more difficult to win interviews solely from online applications in the US (and sometimes Canada), which makes networking more critical in North America.

09) Are these courses applicable to both boutiques and bulge brackets? What about middle-market firms?
Yes. Interviews and models are not much different from bank to bank, and the same strategies apply.

Similarly, the networking strategies contained within the IB Networking Toolkit still apply - the only difference is that cold-calling tends to work better at smaller firms, whereas a longer-term "relationship-oriented" approach to networking works better at bulge bracket banks.