Best ways for honing financial modeling skills

BVWireIssue #114-1
March 7, 2012

“I want to enhance my financial modeling skills and want to take some online course or tutorial,” says Roy Leon, a senior compliance officer at the British Columbia Securities Commission. “Does anyone have one to share?” he asks BVR’s forum on LinkedIn (membership required). Several good suggestions arrived:

  • Both Dhawal Chotai (Mind Tree) and Sean Callow, a CFO in community banking, recommended Financial Modeling, by Simon Benninga.
  • “If you find Benninga a little too advanced, another decent book is Chanda Sengupta's, Financial Analysis and Modeling Using Excel and VBA (2d Ed. 2010),” says Rimas Liktorius (ValuationMetrix). “Sengupta starts out with the basics of Excel and VBA before delving into the building of models.”
  • "Wall Street Training ( has a selection of very good programs,” according to David Mazzerella, a Denver investment banker, and Michael Mclaughlin (EisnerAmper).
  • “Take a look at Breaking into Wall Street,” says Wissam Otaky, a financial entrepreneur: “Some of it may be a little basic [but it’s] more focused on valuations.”
  • “You can also use Excel to do simulations, but that is the long and difficult way around the barn,” offers Mike Hanrahan, an analyst from Alaska. “Roger Myerson has a good discussion of how to do Excel simulations in his book, Probability Models for Economic Decisions (with CD-ROM).” In addition, Decision Making with Insight, by Prof. Sam Savage, “has some software and a good beginning [overview],” he says.

BVR also has a workshop tomorrow! BVR’s Advanced Workshop on Monte-Carlo Simulations, featuring David Dufendach and Jason Andrews (both Grant Thornton) takes place on Thursday, March 8. This intensive, four-hour workshop will demystify this particular financial modeling technique with hands-on examples and case studies generated in Oracle Crystal Ball (a co-sponsor), but presented in PowerPoint. The Excel data will be available as a handout, so that attendees can duplicate the results. Importantly: no purchase of Crystal Ball (or any other software) is required. The presenters will focus on the methodology and application of Monte-Carlo simulations outside of any specific program.

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