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What Are The Best Courses For Investment Banking? An Honest Review


Note: This article is a raw, radically honest reality check on the utility of investment banking courses. If you’re considering enrolling in an online course to improve your IB skills, we strongly recommend you to read this article before purchasing any courses.  

If you’re looking for a job in investment banking, you’ve probably noticed that there are a lot of courses online that promise to teach you important skills for IB, including valuation and financial modeling.

A lot of these course providers will try to make you believe that if you complete their “Advanced Course In Financial Modeling”, the golden gates of investment banking will suddenly open to you and you’ll land your dream M&A job at Goldman Sachs. 

Since candidates want to maximize their odds of success, many of them think: “Ok, I’m going to complete this advanced valuation course to make IBD recruiters willing to hire me”.

Sensible thinking right?

In theory, yes. In practice: no.

Having worked in the investment banking industry for 4 years, including at Lazard and GS, here is the blunt truth that I can tell you:

Investment banking courses are nearly useless to help you GET a job in investment banking. They are only useful if you want to expand your knowledge and become better at DOING the job. 

And every industry insider who’s worked in IBD for more than 2 years will tell you the exact same thing. 

Nobody cares about your “Certificate of Achievement in IBD Financial Modeling”, except you. These course certificates have little to zero intrinsic value on the job market, because any random candidate can complete them.  

That’s why you see legions of candidates who have completed 12 different online courses on investment banking, and who still can’t get any interviews at notable investment banks like GS or JPM… 

Sure, they can proudly display their “Certificates of Achievement” on their CV. Sure, they can feel good about themselves for building up their finance skills proactively. But unfortunately, recruiters don’t seem to care… (for simple reasons that I expose below)

In this article, I’ll explain why most investment banking courses are nearly useless to help you GET a job in investment banking. 

I’ll also explain in which circumstances you may indeed want to pursue these investment banking courses, which can nonetheless be very useful if your goal is to learn new knowledge.

Finally, I’ll present a selection of handpicked, high-quality investment banking courses that I personally recommend if you’re interested in a career in IBD. 

This selection of courses include courses designed to improve your skill set, AND courses that will actually help you land a job in investment banking (yes, there are some)

The truth that students don’t want to hear: why most investment banking courses will NOT help you get a job in the IB industry

candidate rejected

When I tell ambitious students that most investment banking courses are useless to get an offer in IB, I usually get two main types of reactions:

Anger. And confusion.

Unsurprisingly, students who are angry are usually the ones who have spent dozens of hours and hundreds of dollars completing online courses on investment banking.

Their CV is filled with the word “Certificate”. Since they spent so much time working on these courses, they’re trying to rationalize their time (and sometimes monetary) investment by being highly defensive.

The students who are not angry at me for saying this are generally confused. They think:

“What?! I thought that doing these courses was a great way to add value to my CV, and to show recruiters that I was genuinely interested in IBD?? 

“If these courses are useless, why do so many people enroll in them??”

“How can I stand out among thousands of candidates if I don’t build up my SKILLS in investment banking??”

“I am just a student and I have no experience…”

All these reactions are perfectly normal, and I don’t blame these students at all. 

Those that are to blame (and I won’t give any name here), are these cool-sounding organizations selling you heavily-marketed “Online Certificates”, by making you believe that completing their courses will bring you an abundance of elite investment banking offers at bulge-bracket investment banks.

Their marketing is centered around the promise that gaining knowledge about investment banking will enable you to get A JOB in investment banking

Unfortunately, this is not true, even if it sounds good and appealing to students who would kill an entire family of baby kittens to get a job at Goldman Sachs.  

And let me tell you why:
  •  Online course certificates have little to no intrinsic value in the job market, because the barriers to entry are so low


What do you think makes a degree at Harvard so eminently valuable and respected? Because Harvard is ridiculously selective. They reject 95% of applicants. Getting in there is HARD. 

And it is precisely because it is hard that recruiters respect and actively seek after candidates who are Harvard graduates. A Harvard degree is valuable because of its extreme selectivity. Because only a handful of students will manage to get in.

Now, imagine that you have an online course on investment banking which is available to ANYONE in the world for the price of $29. Thousands of motivated students are enrolling in the course, hoping to get their beautiful “Certificate of Achievement” in financial modeling. 

The course can be completed in two weeks, and they get unlimited chances to pass the course “tests”. Selection rate: 0%. Probability of success: 100% for anyone with $29 to spend and two weeks to dedicate to online learning. 

How many candidates do you think can complete this course? Hundreds of thousands. Potentially millions. That’s why these courses have little to no intrinsic value. And that’s why recruiters don’t pay much attention to courses “certificates”. 

Recruiters are very smart. So don’t try to fool them.

  • These courses teach you knowledge about investment banking, but they don’t show you How to get a job in investment banking.


Most of these courses are designed for one thing and one thing only: helping you become more knowledgeable in finance. They can help you sharpen your modeling skills, learn about the various valuation methodologies used in investment banking, and teach you fundamental accounting rules in corporate finance. 

In other words, these courses bring you knowledge. This knowledge can then be used on the job, while you’re working as an investment banking intern or analyst. It can also help you perform better during interviews, in case we ask you technical questions on valuation (but only to some degree). 

But it won’t directly help you land an offer. You can do a hundred of these courses and still get zero interviews. You can become extremely knowledgeable on financial modeling and still get completely destroyed during a GS interview. 

These courses don’t show you how to get your foot in the door. At best, they help you be more confident in your work once you’re ALREADY in.

So if you struggle to get interviews and job offers in investment banking, enrolling in a random online course about finance won’t solve your problem (although there are some courses currently on the market that can help you get a job, as we’re about to discuss). 

With that being said, some investment banking courses can indeed be useful, providing that you know what you’re using them for…

In what ways investment banking courses can be useful

gaining financial knowledge

I’ve explained above why the value of online courses is dramatically overestimated by students, due to the limited impact they can have on your job research. 

But I’m not saying that investment banking courses are completely worthless! 

In fact, some of these courses can be very useful, if they are used for LEARNING purposes instead of job research purposes. 

Based on my experience as a former investment banker, I think these courses can be useful to you for the following reasons:

  • They can help you expand your knowledge about financial modeling, valuation, and the investment banking industry in general. You can then leverage this knowledge to do your job better once you start a role at an investment bank (and you may also benefit from this knowledge when you’re getting grilled on technicalities during interviews…)
  • They can show to recruiters that you have at least some basic skills in finance, which may be useful if you have a purely non-financial background and no experience. For instance, if you majored in English literature and have zero experience related to finance, it might indeed be a good idea to follow a course in investment banking to show that 1) you’re interested enough in IB to dedicate hours of your time to learn about it and 2) if the course teaches you how to build financial models and value companies, recruiters are likely to assume that you have some basic understanding of finance, which may play in your favour. 

The two types of investment banking courses you should consider

quality courses
There are two main types of courses that you may want to enroll in if you’re interested about a career in investment banking:
#1: Courses that help you develop your finance knowledge and skills

This type of course is designed to bring you new knowledge about finance. This is the type of course that we can find the most frequently online. You already know what I think of these courses and when they may be useful to you. 

In case you’re interested in these courses, I have two main pieces of advice to you. First, only look for financial courses that are used by banks themselves to train their new recruits.

For instance, top firms like JPM and MS have a partnership with Wall Street Prep to help their IBD teams get up to speed on financial modeling. If you choose a course that is also used by top investment banks to train their employees, recruiters will attach more credibility to the course you’ve completed. 

It certainly won’t be enough to differentiate yourself, but at least they won’t completely ignore the fact that you’ve finished this course

Second, never enroll into these courses for the mere “brand name” of the university they may be associated with. Some of these courses have been made in partnership with highly prestigious universities, such as Yale or Chicago Booth, but they’re not actual degrees from these universities (even if you wish they were)… 

As I said before, almost anyone on Earth can complete a 2-week MOOC made in partnership with Yale, but very, very few people can actually be admitted into Yale! 

Since these course certificates have no intrinsic value (due to the near absence of selectivity), you should select them primarily on the quality of what they teach and the knowledge you will gain INSTEAD of the brand name of the organization they may be associated with. 

#2: Courses that help you break into the investment banking industry

The second type of investment banking courses that you will find are courses that give you advice to land a job in the investment banking industry. For example, they may show you how to obtain more IB interviews, and how to prepare yourself for interviews to secure job offers at top investment banks. 

If you want these courses to truly help you land a job in IB, make sure that:

  • They are comprehensive: they teach you everything you need to know to get a job in IB, from how to build a strong CV, how to network to get interviews, and how to prepare yourself for fit and technical interview questions
  • They are made by current or former investment bankers from reputable investment banks, NOT academics. Investment bankers were exactly in your shoes at some point in their lives, so they know what works and what doesn’t to break into the IB industry.

Investment banking courses to expand your knowledge

Wall Street Prep’s Premium Package – Financial & Valuation Modeling Certification Program


  • Very practical course, teaches you real-life skills for IB
  • Made by a reputable course provider who has been on the market for over a decade
  • Good industry recognition (used by banks to train their new recruits)
  • Good value for money



  • Doesn’t show you how to get a job in investment banking
  • May help you master technical skills, but doesn’t prepare you on interview technical questions

Wall Street Prep is a reputable course provider which has been used by top investment banks for many years now. The Wall Street Prep’s Premium Package is commonly used by banks to train their new hires on the technical aspects of the job, meaning that it’s well recognized among the industry.

The course focuses on teaching you real-life practical skills for the job instead of pure academic theory. As such, if you’ve already secured an internship or graduate role in IBD, this course may help you get up to speed on the technical front before you start working.

In terms of content, it covers important aspects of investment banking, including financial modeling, M&A, trading comps, DCF, LBO, and so on. At the time of writing this article, it is currently priced at $499, which is I believe good value for money considering the quality and depth of content of the course.

You can learn more about the course here:

The Investment Banker from Financial Edge


  • In-depth technical course used by some of the world’s top investment banks
  • 100% online, easy-to-use learning platform
  • Focus on real-life practice instead of academic theory
  • Great value for money
  • Reactive and helpful support team


  • Doesn’t show you how to obtain interviews 
  • Purely technical course, no preparation on the fit & behavioral side
  • Delay to obtain a refund is very short

This more advanced course is a great choice for students and young professionals who want to hit the ground running as fast as possible. It is used by some of the top investment banks to train their new hires. 

The course can be followed 100% online and offers great quality training on financial statement analysis, financial modeling, M&A, valuation, and other technical areas you need to master to be a successful investment banking analyst. Made by former and current
industry professionals, this course is very practical and well-aligned with the reality of the job. 

Currently priced at £399, the course is great value for money for those who want to develop their finance skills ahead of starting a new role in IBD, or for those who are already working in the industry and who want to strengthen their existing skill set. You can learn more
about the course here:

Professional Certificate in Corporate Finance (edX and Columbia University)


  • Great introduction to corporate finance
  • High-quality educational content
  • Course made by top-tier finance professors at Columbia



  • Expensive
  • Not an actual degree from Columbia, won’t help you boost your CV “prestige”
  • Only covers corporate finance topics

This course provides a fantastic introduction to key corporate finance concepts, such as time value of money, IRR, capital budgeting, and so on. It also teaches students how to value stocks and bonds using various valuation methods commonly used in investment banking.

The course has gathered excellent reviews from students so far, and has been designed by top-tier finance professors. It is, I believe, particularly good for students who are starting out in their learning journey, and who want to understand the basics of corporate finance in a relatively short time frame. 

As mentioned before, you should never do these courses solely because of the “brand name” they supposedly offer. This is an online course on edX, made in partnership with Columbia, NOT an actual degree from Columbia. So don’t use it as a way to boost your education credentials, because it won’t help you. Use it for learning purposes only.

The non-discounted price of the course is over $600, which I find a bit pricey considering the range of financial topics covered. But it’s still a good course if you really want to learn more about corporate finance in a time-effective manner. 

Courses to help you get a job or internship in investment banking

secure job offer
The Investment Banking Blueprint, by Alpha Lane


  • Highly comprehensive. Covers everything students need to know to get a job in investment banking (from how to get interviews to how to pass interviews)
  • Includes a step-by-step tutorial to help students generate interview invites at top investment banks
  • Very thorough and high-quality course modules on interview preparation, including fit and technical questions
  • Made by former and active investment bankers from Goldman Sachs, Lazard, and Perella Weinberg Partners with a strong track record
  • Great value for money


  • The cold-emailing system suggested by the course to obtain interviews can take time to implement. Time-intensive course
  • Relatively young course provider
  • No networking opportunities with other students since the course is 100% online

The Investment Banking Blueprint is an in-depth, comprehensive online course that teaches students everything they need to know to secure a top-tier offer in investment banking. 

The course was made by an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst in collaboration with seasoned investment bankers from some of the world’s most prestigious investment banks, including Lazard and Perella Weinberg Partners. It was explicitly designed to help students get a job in investment banking as fast as possible, instead of merely teaching financial knowledge.

The course shows students how to land interviews at top investment banks using advanced cold-emailing tactics and proven networking strategies. It also contains a wealth of CV tips to help students pass the CV screens of the most selective investment banks. 

Another big part of the course is dedicated to training students for all types of interview questions, including fit and technical questions (the course offers a list of the most commonly asked interview questions, with examples of high-performing answers for each question). The course also includes an advanced technical preparation on DCF, valuation multiples, accounting, and key corporate finance concepts, among others. 

The Investment Banking Blueprint is currently priced at £247, which is relatively affordable considering the depth and quality of insights contained in this course made by top industry professionals. 

Finally, the course comes with a money-back guarantee – meaning that students can get a full refund if they’re not completely satisfied with the career outcomes they get. We would obviously recommend this course to any student who wishes to break into the investment banking industry at bulge-bracket banks or elite boutiques.   

City Investment Training – Full-Time Analyst Programme


  • Extensive coverage of the key skills required to work in investment banking
  • Include many case studies and real-life simulations
  • Advanced technical preparation which can greatly help for interviews
  • Opportunity to network and share knowledge with other students


  • Very expensive
  • Limited preparation on networking and how to get interviews

This course is an in-depth group coaching programme that teaches some of the foundational skills of an investment banker, including financial modeling, valuation, report writing, etc.  

During this 2-month programme (taking place in their London office), students can sharpen their financial skills by working real-life case studies in Private Equity, M&A, VC, and more, and get an opportunity to build financial models from scratch with the support of teachers.  

It’s a great programme for students who want to master the technical part of interviews, thanks to the extensive financial coaching that it provides. 

Since the course takes place in an office, students also have the opportunity to network with each other and share their knowledge. 

While this course is definitely on the expensive side (the programme costs several thousands of British pounds), it might be a good investment for candidates who want to strengthen their technical skills for interviews, or who want to prepare themselves effectively for a IB role they’re about to start. 

AlumnEye Summer Session


  • In-depth coaching on interview questions, including fit and technical ones
  • Include a CV review
  • Reputable organization that has trained many students
  • Great course for students who wish to learn more about investment banking recruiting processes
  • Opportunity to network and share knowledge with other students


  • Mostly composed of French students. Can be difficult to “fit in” the group for non-French speaker (although the course is provided in English)
  • Expensive

AlumEye is a French, Paris-based organization that teaches students how to get jobs in finance, among other things. 

Their coaching course “Summer Session” is an in-depth coaching programme designed to help students improve their CV, prepare them for interviews, help them pass bank screenings, and so on. 

The programme lasts between 3-6 weeks, depending on the package selected. It may be a good choice for students who wish to learn more about the investment banking recruitment process and receive preparation for interviews – both on the fit and technical side. 

The programme is relatively expensive (€1,500) but may be worth it for those who need help with CV optimization, aptitude tests, and interview prep. 

Also, it should be noted that the majority of AlumnEye students are French (but the courses are in English).


A word about the author

Aurelian Tran is the founder of Alpha Lane and an ex-Goldman Sachs analyst who has spent 4+ years working in the investment banking industry.

He founded Alpha Lane to help students and young professionals achieve their highest professional ambitions, by securing offers at top-tier financial institutions.