I have recently seen a flyer promoting a course called “Financial Modelling Masterclass” which looks like a pretty good financial modelling course. I might say that its quite broad but if you are new to modelling this looks like a very comprehensive introduction to the subject matter. Having said that it is over a brain busting 5 days and fairly expensive at a whopping $8,200 (inc GST)…ouch!
Didn’t a meteor wipe out List Boxes?!
I was surprised to see that there are concepts still covered such as list boxes. I thought these went out with the dinosaurs when data validation was introduced?!…and controlling printing with vba..oh man?!
Do your homework on what financial modelling courses are out there.
Investing in training in this market has never been more important, you probably only get one chance to choose the right course so don’t rely on an out of date quote – find someone that has recently been on the course and drill them on how good it was and if it made their modelling tasks, faster and more accurate compared to the time invested in the course. Here are a few things to consider when choosing your next financial modelling course regardless of supplier, trainer, price, location. Also question learning efficiency, you are investing your valuable time as well as your own or your companies money. IMPORTANT If you are paying for this yourself – ask for a 50% discount and if they don’t give it – go somewhere else!
The course itself
- Ask your course provider if there are more than 10 people in the class – any more is too many for a great financial modelling course
- How many days can you effectively learn for – 2 days is about right
- Is it 100% hands-on? That is the best way to learn these skills
- Consider if you need to learn a little about everything in one go or can you spread it out?
- Ask how much screening is applied to the participants to ensure that particular course has the right mix of people or is it that maybe as long as you pay you will be thrown in?
- If you miss this course or have to cancel at the last minute when is the next course by the same instructor in the same location. A month or a year later?!
- How much time will actually be spent solving your individual questions…
- Ask for a big discount or to package some courses up! If you are self-employed or between jobs ask for a 50% discount.
The instructor and course material
- Ask when the instructor actually built the last world-class financial model! If they spent all their time teaching you their approaches which were great 10 years ago but haven’t evolved.
- How much time is spent on real efficiency boosters such as keyboard shortcuts, automatic formatting, scenario management etc?
- Is the course material evolving in line with improvements in global standards and approaches?
- How much detail will be covered on each subject, its easy to dazzle a prospective student with fancy names such as bayesian analysis and efficient frontiers but how much will you actually cover.
- Ask if there is any free pre-learning that can be done such as tutorials to maximise your experience on the day
- Is there ongoing support, learning material and access to trainers of the course after the course ends such as a forum, webpage downlods, blogs ?
Here are things you definitely do not want or need to master !
- The use of nested functions (this equates to how-to-build-a-model-nobody-else-will-understand) – but keeps the model audit business alive!
- The hundreds of in0built functions in Excel – this makes you lazy and often results in long winded solutions
- Using a spreadsheet to create an animation (no wonder some of these courses go for so long!)
- Using the Consolidate Command Interface -using a sledgehammer to crack a nut!
- Watching long powerpoint presentations – wheres my blackberry!
- Using macros to control printing – what a nightmare approach!!!
Don’t be fooled by..
- A trainer having had 25+ years experience….translating this means they were doing it before computers were commercially available – recent experience is much more important!
- Cheap give-aways such as plethora of pre-built financial models on CD’s or even a book! Say no thanks and just ask for a bigger discount!
- Long notes because these probably equates to lengthy powerpoint sleeping sessions….
- Pre-course assessments – ask how it will actually be used and if any exclusions are made.