Online Financial Modelling Training

I get numerous requests for online training – specifically on project finance modelling. As I’ve written about before, project finance modelling is one of the most complex forms of financial modelling, with the exception of perhaps markets modelling where one is valuing derivatives and the like. That said, the sheer scope and scale of project finance model is daunting to most, and mastering these beasts means understanding not only the deal in detail, but typically Microsoft Excel as well.

Why Excel?

Many Financial Modelling Podcast listeners are often surprised to hear that I advocate Microsoft Excel as the tool of choice when it comes to project finance models, as opposed to Python, R or MATLAB. The reason I advocate Excel is simple and is broken down into three key elements:

  • Ease of use – Microsoft Excel is really one large calculator, and it can be easily picked up by those with no coding knowledge. The same cannot be said for Python or even R. There is a reason as to why Excel is so widely used in organizations across the world.
  • Ease of visualising cash flows. Without running any code, Excel allows one to quickly and simply assess and see cash flows – typically horizontally in a project finance model – and graph them with a click of the keyboard (see what I did there? Learn your shortcuts!).
  • Everyone has it. If a project sponsor builds a model in Excel, they can send it to any financier or bank in the world. It’s as simple as that.

Ok, but why Online Financial Modelling Training?

I’m a big fan of in-house training. Having been an Excel and Financial Modelling trainer at numerous banks, I have seen the effect of being able to sit next to someone to help them troubleshoot their issues and digest what they have just learnt. Online training does have some pitfalls – but a little discipline overcomes this. The benefits of online training are widely recognized, from the ability to learn a module a day after work or during lunch, to being able to reference back to material when the need arises long after training has occurred, not to mention remote learning. While blended training (a mixture of in-house and online training) is probably the best approach, in a cost-sensitive world it is difficult to beat the breadth of online training courses available. Put on top of that the fact that you can access best of breed training around the world, any time of day or night, it is evident as to why online training has exploded in popularity.

Where Do I Go?

One of the difficulties with online training is knowing who offers the best, most relevant courses. There are typically two main types of online training courses – cheaper courses that are widely available on learning platforms (I offer four courses online believe it or not!) and more expensive, but often more professional and well thought out courses, which usually come with support from the training provider.  In this regard, the Financial Modelling Podcast has partnered with FE Training to offer a 25% discount on their courses, by using the code FMP25.  FE Training is used by investment banks globally to teach their own analysts.  I for one know the value of going on project finance and financial modelling training courses – I was exponentially more productive after going on courses.  FE Training offers a micro-degree on Project Finance ( https://www.fe.training/store/product/online-courses/the-project-financier/ ) and an online financial modelling course (https://www.fe.training/store/product/online-courses/the-modeler-online/). Don’t forget to use FMP25 for a 25% discount on these courses.

Then What?

Online training, and any training for that matter, is only effective in practice. The key is to continuously practise these new skills to make them second nature. When I worked as a financial modeller, every single day I spent honing my craft – sometimes even rebuilding models in templates that I used or built to practice and understand them better. I have no doubt that the financial modelling world will evolve – potentially to one where all models are built-in Python or another tool. That said, the fundamentals will be the same – project finance deals will still be structured in similar manners, perhaps with new, yet to be developed financial instruments. These will be easy to pick up for any modeller that understand the fundamentals well.

So, get going today in learning a skill that will benefit you throughout your deal-making and business career. As Paul Clitheroe succinctly put it, “Invest in yourself. Your career is the engine of your wealth.”  Online financial modelling training is a great way to start that investment!

Matthew Bernath Financial Modeller
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