by Brian DeChesare

Major BIWS Course Package and Price Changes Coming on June 30th, 2023 (Friday)

June 30th BIWS Course Changes

We are making major changes to the main BIWS financial modeling course in a few days, which I also wanted to announce directly on this site.

Effective June 30th, 2023 (Friday), we are splitting the main financial modeling course (“Financial Modeling Mastery”) into 3 separate courses: Core Financial Modeling, Advanced Financial Modeling, and VC / Growth Equity Modeling.

You can read the full details here, but the TL;DR is that you get a much better deal if you sign up before Friday, June 30th because you’ll gain access to the 3 courses for $397.

If you sign up on or after Friday, you’ll pay about twice that for all the courses separately.

If you need only one of these courses, you’ll get a better deal on or after June 30th because each one will be less than $397.

And if you already have the current financial modeling course from a previous purchase, you’ll also have access to these 3 new courses, so you don’t have to do anything here.

We are moving to shorter, simpler, and cheaper courses everywhere, and I expect to split up our other training over the next 6-12 months.

I also plan to shorten the videos, make the certification quizzes shorter and easier, and better align the training to a world of falling attention spans induced by TikTok addiction.

If you’re short on time, you can stop reading here and make your decision (sign up now, sign up on Friday, or do nothing).

If you want more details and context around these changes, you can keep reading:

Why Now, and Why This Course Split?

The current Financial Modeling Mastery course is far too long and detailed for most students and professionals.

There’s so much content that it’s difficult to navigate, and most students complete only a small percentage.

Not only have many users complained about this, but some of our institutional clients, such as JP Morgan, have also asked for shorter training.

The main BIWS financial modeling course has been too long since about 2015, so I am finally taking this chance to fix it.

The course’s current length is a direct result of several bad decisions, including:

  1. Listening to a Vocal Minority – In 2010 – 2013, many people on WSO, Analyst Forum, Reddit, etc., complained that our courses were “too basic.” I overreacted to this feedback and went too far in the opposite direction over the next ~10 years.
  2. Creating Too Much Content During COVID – When everyone was locked down and stuck inside, demand for video-based training skyrocketed… but then it fell as the world normalized. 100 hours of video suddenly seemed less appealing than going outside to get sunlight.
  3. Not Splitting Up New Content Appropriately – For example, there was no reason to add an advanced LBO model or a granular SaaS model to the main course. These should have been in separate products from the start.

A Long Time Ago, in a Financial Modeling Course Far, Far Away…

The initial version of this financial modeling course, first released in 2009, had about 10 hours of training and featured the same company in each module.

You could finish it in a week, and many students did.

But then people started complaining and saying it was “too simple” – even at its lower price – so I caved in and added material.

With the second version in 2010, the course length increased to ~20 hours.

But the online complainers were still unsatisfied, and I made a bad decision in response to these complaints in 2014.

I spent that entire year redoing the course and basing each module on a different company (EasyJet, Netflix, Chuck E. Cheese, etc.).

In theory, this was a reasonable idea.

In practice, I executed it badly because I had no idea how to do it efficiently.

I repeated too much content, the videos became too long, and the 2-hour modules turned into 8-hour modules.

As a result, the course expanded to nearly 80 hours.

People started complaining about the length, but sales were still increasing, and most students were still getting results by finishing smaller portions.

In 2017, though, these problems worsened, and I began working to shorten and simplify everything.

I simplified a few case studies and cut some material, but it was still too long.

And then COVID hit in 2020, and I made 2 good decisions and 1 very bad decision:

  1. Good Decision: I removed the old “Advanced Financial Modeling” course because it was outdated, the models and videos were bad, and no one used it.
  2. Good Decision: We changed the BIWS Premium package and replaced this older “Advanced” course with the PowerPoint Pro course since PowerPoint is approximately 10x more useful for interns and new hires.
  3. Very Bad Decision: Instead of just dropping the “Advanced” training, I created and updated it within the main financial modeling course and added new topics, such as spin-off M&A models.

I felt people would be “disappointed” if the older Advanced material disappeared.

But hardly anyone even used that course, so I was not thinking about this rationally.

Rather than shrinking, the financial modeling course got even longer, and now there was a new problem: each module consisted of multiple case studies.

The version from 2014 was also long, but at least the content was clear: Module 1 covered Company A, Module 2 covered Company B, Module 3 covered Deal C, etc.

But this new setup with multiple case studies per module made it difficult to find specific topics and skip around.

A Better Approach: What I Should Have Done

A much better approach would have been:

  1. Remove the old Advanced course and replace it with PowerPoint in most course packages.
  2. Update and simplify the entire “main” financial modeling course to ~30 hours, focusing on 20-hour completion plans. Limit all videos to 10-15 minutes. Cut anything not directly related to entry-level interviews and case studies.
  3. Create some advanced content but turn each major topic into a separate 10-hour course (e.g., Private Equity Modeling, Credit Modeling, Hedge Fund Modeling & Stock Pitches, etc.).

We are now moving in this direction, but finishing points #2 and #3 will take time. The changes this week are the beginning of this process.

What Happens Next?

The most immediate change happens in a few days, when the main course is split on June 30th.

Again, if you want the best deal on the most content, sign up before then, and you’ll gain access to these 3 separate courses for 50% less.

In the future, I expect to release shorter, separate courses on Credit, Private Equity, Hedge Funds, and Advanced M&A Modeling.

Each one will be about 10 hours and target a 1-2-week completion time.

The Private Equity and Advanced M&A Modeling ones are actually “done” and could be released today, but I want to see how this initial course split goes.

The Project Finance & Infrastructure course is coming, but I expect to keep it short and simple (~10-15 hours of training with maybe ~5 case studies).

We will also likely split Real Estate & REIT Modeling and Bank Modeling into shorter, more focused courses.

It would make more sense to offer one course on just properties for $200 – $250 and another on just REITs for $200 – $250 rather than one long course.

I also plan to shorten and simplify all the certification quizzes and any video longer than ~10 minutes.

I can’t promise a specific date because these changes are more complex; I’m also trying to balance this with new topics and training.

But you should see at least some changes within the next year.


In the spirit of streamlining, I’ll end this announcement right here.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, or feedback, please leave a comment below or reply to the email newsletter.

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys lifting weights, running, traveling, obsessively watching TV shows, and defeating Sauron.

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