Webinar Recap: Highlights and Expert Tips for Financial Modeling and Valuation Success

Interested in developing your financial modeling and valuation skills? Looking for guidance on the many career paths an FMVA certification can put you on? In search of practical advice on getting ahead from FMVA professionals who’ve done so? 

Or just wondering what exactly the value of financial modeling skills is—and how do they fit into your own career goals?

If you’ve got about an hour, our Drive Your Success With CFI: Financial Modeling and Valuation webinar has you covered. Held as a free live event hosted by CFI’s EVP and VP of Financial Modeling, Duncan McKeen and Jeff Schmidt, it dives into the FMVA Certification Program, its real-world applications, career opportunities, and insider tips that set you up for success.

Read some of the highlights below or get straight to watching the recording.

Watch the Webinar Recording

What is the CFI FMVA Certification Program?

Our Financial Modeling and Valuation Analyst (FMVA)® Certification is an accredited learning and skill development program consisting of prep, core, and elective courses. 

On-demand lessons featuring interactive exercises, video instruction, and case studies are designed to boost knowledge retention and build the practical skills essential for financial analysis. That’s why we have experienced professionals like Duncan and Kyle create and lead them. 

Culminating in a final exam to earn your official FMVA Certification, you’ll not only get the financial modeling chops to advance your career but have ongoing access to CFI courses and on-the-job resources whenever you need them. 

Career paths available through the FMVA Certification

“After spending a decade teaching, it’s so common for a lot of people to want to go into investment banking…but that may be because they don’t know about all of the other great jobs that are out there,” Duncan mentions in the webinar. 

Investment banking is of course a great option (check out the Capital Markets and Securities Analyst Certificate Program as well if that’s the direction you’re in or considering!), and one included in five career paths that can be explored throughout the FMVA courses:

  • Investment banking: Provide capital market financing and financial advisory services.
  • Equity research: Provide investors with financial analysis and recommendations.
  • Corporate development: Pursue and execute organic and inorganic growth opportunities for a corporation.
  • Financial planning and analysis: Develop budgets and forecasts that support a corporation’s strategic planning process.
  • Private equity: Invest in businesses with the goal of increasing their value over time.

According to the pros, all of these roles require “world-class” financial modeling skills, along with many other career opportunities not specified here. And when it comes to successfully acquiring those skills—and standing out in interviews—there’s a surprisingly-secret weapon we’ll get to next.  

Quick tips for FMVA learning success

One thing our expert hosts mentioned over and over again was the importance of mastering Excel keyboard shortcuts. These won’t just help you work much faster, they’ll reduce the cognitive load of mentally and manually refocusing from mouse to keyboard and better streamline your workflows overall. The ability to work quickly, and with accuracy, is massively important in finance and banking roles.  

“Finance is extremely fast-paced and, depending on your role, there are often a lot of hours involved. You want to find any way to be more efficient and save time. Our number-one recommendation is to use keyboard shortcuts,” Jeff emphasized. 

They also recommended getting or at least getting used to working with PCs over Macs—not just because of personal preference but also their ubiquity in the industry. 

And while it may seem obvious to some, consistently taking notes (whether you prefer using the CFI Notes feature, your favorite notebook, or cross-stitching them onto a pillow) is key to maximizing your knowledge retention, especially when learning complex models and concepts. This also makes it easier to pinpoint lesson areas you’ll want to rewind or revisit later. 

Watch the recording for more details and additional tips, including working with the Financial Modeling Guidelines. 

Top questions from the live FMVA Program webinar

We were excited to see so many great questions coming in during the Q&A period. Here are the top 3 in case you’re wondering the same things.  

Is there a specific background I need to successfully complete the FMVA Program?

Jeff: “No. The courses we planned at the beginning of the learning path are tailored to learners who might not have much of an accounting or finance background. These courses provide a foundational understanding of accounting and corporate finance and the materials build on the content at the start of the program.”

Is there a preference in terms of career stage for people who should take the program, for instance, an undergraduate vs. someone already working in the field?

Duncan: “The earliest time I’d say we encounter people interested in starting their FMVA is very early on in their undergraduate studies—basically as soon as they figure out they have an interest in this career. We also get a lot of members coming through who are already established in the workforce and want to sharpen and deepen their financial modeling skills. It’s very common for people to get placed into the workforce and then learn about modeling on an ad hoc basis, or by watching others, but that also means they’re learning others’ bad habits. It’s a great idea to have formal training so you can learn right from the start how to do it the right way.”

Is there a specific keyboard I should be using now that we know how important keyboard shortcuts are?

Duncan: “First of all, get an external keyboard—don’t use a laptop keyboard. And beyond generally using a full-size keyboard, if you want to go hardcore, consider a mechanical one. They give you a great tactile response and you can physically move faster. But keep in mind they’re very loud, in case you’re working within earshot of others!”

Get a full overview and expert advice on the FMVA Certification Program 

Expand on these highlights and learn everything in between by watching the free, full webinar. And if you’re interested in other courses and resources CFI offers through our all-access memberships, you can explore them here. 

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