Breaking Into Wall Street

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Customer Support

Excel & VBA Course

Any modern version of Excel should work. Ideally, you will be using the 365 version, but the 2021, 2019, 2016, or even 2013 versions are also fine.

If you are using an older version, such as Excel 2010 or 2007, you’ll be able to complete most of the course, but some of the more advanced lessons will not be applicable.

We cover the PC and Mac versions of Excel in separate lessons in the course, so you can complete it using Mac Excel. Once again, ideally, you will be using the 365 version, but any modern version should be fine.

If you’re using a much older version, such as Mac Excel 2008 or Mac Excel 2011, we don’t recommend completing the course because the shortcuts and features are quite different.

No. We assume no existing knowledge of or experience with Excel.

There are no prerequisites other than a working installation of a modern version of Excel on your computer.

There are 74 lessons in total, which represents about 23 hours of video training. They cover everything from basic Excel navigation shortcuts through formatting, formulas, data analysis, graphs and charts, and VBA and macros.

There are also 240 pages of detailed written guides, a custom macros package, a custom Quick Access Toolbar (QAT), and separate lessons for PC and Mac Excel to learn the fundamental shortcuts.

For more details, please see the course description page.

In terms of completion time, we have 6-hour, 12-hour, 20-hour, and 30-hour study plans, so it depends on how much you want to get out of the course.

You can learn the most important points in 6 hours, but if you want to master everything, it will take closer to 30 hours (about one hour per day over a month).

The course teaches you how to use Excel and VBA effectively for jobs such as investment banking, private equity, hedge funds, and commercial real estate (and related roles, like corporate development and corporate finance).

Outside of these finance roles, parts of the course may be useful if your job involves using Excel for data analysis. But the course is specifically geared toward finance jobs, so it’s probably not useful if you’re working in marketing or HR.

It is introductory-to-intermediate-level material. If you are already a VBA wizard, you will not learn anything new here.

If you do not know VBA or have not used it much, you will learn a lot and become more efficient at workflow automation.

There are macros for creating input boxes for assumptions, color-coding financial models, setting up models for printing, cycling number formats, changing the number of decimal places, flipping numbers from positive to negative and back, and flash filling right and down (i.e., copying and pasting to a boundary without selecting the area explicitly).

There are additional macros for error-wrapping formulas, toggling absolute vs. relative references in formulas, jumping to the min and max of a range, inserting Tables of Contents, and inserting Price-Volume graphs.

We do not aim to offer “the most” macros, so you can find paid software and subscription services that offer more functionality.

However, our solution is simple to install and use, it covers the most useful types of macros, and it’s FREE with the Excel & VBA course, with no additional support or subscription fees.

Core Financial Modeling Course

You should ideally have solid knowledge of Excel, such as the key navigation and formatting shortcuts, and the ability to enter and modify formulas.

To get the Excel training included with this course, you can sign up for the BIWS Premium package.

There are approximately 40 hours of training, and we provide study plans for 10 hours, 20 hours, and 30 hours, with options for different fields, such as investment banking, private equity, and equity research.

Overall, you should plan to spend around 1 hour per day on the course over 1 month to get good results.

The main differences are that it is far more practical since everything is based on real companies and deals, and we have a global focus, meaning that the examples come from Europe, Asia, and Australia in addition to North America.

Put simply, this course teaches you how to download a company’s financial statements, input them into Excel, determine if the company is overvalued/undervalued, and make an investment recommendation.

You do not get that with the CFA, university classes, or other financial modeling training.

The knowledge you gain will definitely help in interviews, and listing the course on your resume or CV can make some difference, especially if you don’t have much work experience. That said, no, this course is not the same as interning at Goldman Sachs or Blackstone (nor is any course in this market).

To prove your knowledge, you can take and pass the certification quiz and list what you learned on your resume or CV:

We do not offer discounts or coupon codes for individual courses. You can view the available package deals, all of which provide substantial discounts, on the main Courses page.

PowerPoint Pro

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 structure presentations and slides and even how to use VBA and macros.

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.

If you are already an expert in PowerPoint and know VBA like the back of your hand, you will not learn much here.

There are around 25 hours of training, but we offer study plans for 5, 10, and 15 hours as well.

You should ideally be using the 365 version of PowerPoint, but anything from 2013 or beyond (2016, 2019, 2021, etc.) should work. PowerPoint 2003 and 2007 are not supported.

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.

Interview Guide

It covers both levels.

The guide is useful for the following fields:

  • Private Equity
  • Long/Short Equity and “Fundamental” Hedge Funds (e.g., merger arbitrage and special situations, but not quant or global macro)
  • Equity Research
  • Corporate Development

The guide is NOT useful for sales & trading, macro/quant 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.

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. We also cover topics very differently by explaining the fundamentals before presenting the questions and answers, and the Guide features 17 Excel-based case studies for additional practice.

So, we’re confident that it is the most comprehensive Interview Guide around – but if you want something very short for a 15-minute review before your interview, it’s probably not for you.

Networking Toolkit

We created the content by conducting 100+ 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 the instructional videos and templates in the course.

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

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.

No, probably not. There are a few email templates for “on the job” tasks, such as staying in touch with co-workers, but the focus is on winning offers in the first place.

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, it would have to include a monthly subscription fee, and most people would not be willing to pay just to get contact information for bankers.

Also, for most boutiques and local firms it is relatively easy to find names, phone numbers, and email addresses by searching Google and LinkedIn.

Bank & Financial Institution Modeling

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.

There are about 45 hours of training total, but we also have study plans for 10-15 hours and several options in between.

You must have at least an intermediate knowledge of Excel and financial modeling (e.g., accounting, basic 3-statement modeling, valuation/DCF analysis, and some knowledge of merger models and LBO models).

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

There is a short section on insurance, but it is more of an “interview prep” overview than a full course.

We don’t currently feature wealth management, fintech, specialty finance, or other areas, as the focus is commercial banks. We may add some of this in the future, and we hope to expand the insurance training eventually.

Real Estate & REIT Modeling

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.

There are around 40 hours of training, but if you focus on just properties or just REITs, each one is more like 20 hours, and we have study plans for as little as 10-15 hours (if you focus on the simplified case studies).

You must have at least an intermediate knowledge of Excel and financial modeling (e.g., accounting, basic 3-statement modeling, valuation/DCF analysis, and some knowledge of merger models and LBO models).

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

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.

Customer Service & Support

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.

We will answer detailed questions on the course materials for up to 24 months after you have signed up.

After that 24-month period ends, we will still respond to administrative questions and simple queries, but we will no longer answer detailed technical questions.

We respond to emails and questions left on the site within one (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.

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 at 3 AM when you have a 6 AM deadline.

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.

The Excel and PowerPoint files and PDFs are 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.

We normally do not make bulk video downloads available, but if the site shuts down in the future, we will enable this option and post links to all the videos in the courses.

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).

Website & Technical Questions

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

You can download all the Excel/PowerPoint/PDF files and use them on multiple computers or other devices.

You can download the Excel, PowerPoint, and PDF files, but not the videos.

If you have a special requirement and need access to the videos offline due to travel, a slow connection, limited bandwidth, or some other issue, we may make limited exceptions to this policy and allow downloads of the videos.

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 the PC and Mac versions of Excel in separate tutorials (where applicable).

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.

The models work in the 365 version of Excel, as well as all modern desktop versions of Excel: 2013, 2016, 2019, and 2021.

All models work in Mac Excel 2011 and beyond (including in 365 for the Mac).

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

Group Licenses

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.

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.

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.

Once you have submitted payment, send us each user’s name and email address, and we will create all the accounts and send each user his/her login information and instructions to get started.

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 up a trial account.

Coaching & Resume Editing

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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

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


Paying commissions like this requires extra paperwork and tax filings in the U.S., 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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