BIWS Certification Review: Features, Benefits and Courses

All students and professionals interested to pursue a career in equity research, investment banking and private equity sector often enroll in financial training programs.

One of the trusted and preferred financial training programs is offered by Breaking into Wall Street, known as BIWS certification. The article is an in-depth review of BIWS certifications – its importance and relevance.

What Is BIWS Certification?

The BIWS certification is your ‘entry’ to the world of investment banking.

Based in the US, the BIWS programs offer the highest quality training programs in the finance sector. Over 75 countries, 150 schools and universities and 150 finance firms and corporations use the BIWS certification as a proof of candidate’s merit and recruitment caliber.

The investment banking training offered by Breaking into Wall Street comes from Brian DeChesare.

In 2007, Brian DeChesare created Mergers & Acquisitions based on his experiences in Internet-based businesses and in the investment banking world.

Brian DeChesare is a leading speaker in business schools and universities around the world.

A brief iteration of BIWS certification benefits are given before:

  • Rigorous examination structure and instant results
  • 90% passing score is mandatory
  • Focus on self-testing
  • Tests practical and conceptual understanding of learners in a complex environment
  • Learning opportunity from experienced investment bankers
  • Free support and lifetime updates
  • Access to all programs instantly

BIWS offers multiple online programs in investment banking, financial modeling and industry-specific modeling sectors, such as:

  • Advanced financial modeling (sample)
  • Excel and financial modeling fundamentals (sample)
  • Bank and financial institution modeling (sample)
  • Real estate and REIT modeling (sample)
  • Oil and gas modeling (sample)
  • Investment banking networking toolkit (sample)
  • Investment banking interview guide (sample)

You can buy all BIWS programs from here.

Importance of BIWS Certification

The BIWS certification is used by:

1. Individuals

2. Firms and Businesses

3. Educational Institutions

Let’s see each of the sections in detail.

BIWS Certification for Individuals

At the individual level, BIWS works with

(1) University students who want to land high-paying jobs in private equity, hedge funds and investment banking;

(2) MBA students who wish to maximize the opportunities available in the financial industry;

(3) Career switchers who want to break into private equity and investment banking mid-career and

(4) Existing financial professionals at the associate level who wish to gain an edge over other finance professionals with real-world training.

Some reasons why BIWS certification for individuals is a prized asset are as follows:

#1. Active Community Support

All BIWS certification students get the benefit of its active community through interactive Q&A sessions. Moreover, BIWS offers lifetime support to its students. Apart from the active community, the students can contact BIWS support 365-days a year without any hesitation.

#2. Avail Courses Anywhere

The BIWS is based on interactive learning. The custom-designed courses enable learners to track learning progress and interact with the active community for better performance. Moreover, all the content is digitally downloadable on all available devices like laptop, desktop, tablet and smartphones. In short, BIWS certification courses are learning on the move.

#3. Challenging Tests

It is not without reason that clearing BIWS is known one of the most difficult of finance tests. The course features challenging tests where the participants progress to the next level after clearing the previous one. The tests are designed to understand the conceptual and practical understanding of the coursework. In terms of practical testing, real case studies are delivered on brands like J P Morgan, Microsoft and Apple.

Before buying, you can sample their free content such as the free financial modeling video tutorials. I am sure you won’t be disappointed.

BIWS Certification for Firms and Businesses

Private equity firms, investment banks and hedge funds rely on BIWS certification to train finance service professionals to become a more valuable asset to their respective firms. The BIWS helps firms and businesses to train the staff in the art of real-life finance modeling skills. The course doesn’t depend on textual theories to train the staff but on practical real-life examples of big brands such as Microsoft and Apple.

The BIWS training program doesn’t depend on traditional classroom teaching but on the proprietary B.A.S.E.S methodology. In the traditional classroom teaching system, the course is based on a lecture format where the listener is a passive participant and learns what is being spoken but it is not a conducive way to teach complex concepts.

It is for this reason that BIWS training employs the B.A.S.E.S methodology as it necessitates both application and practice of concepts, which is far more valuable to the firms and its employees. The B.A.S.E.S methodology means:

  • B: Learner is shown the before version of the financial model.
  • A: Learner is shown the after version of the same model along with the steps involved.
  • S: Learner is required to study both the versions and understand how and what happened through steps-based video tutorial.
  • E: Learner is required to execute the model.
  • S: Learner scrutinizes and compares the model with the ‘after’ model in step 2.

As you can noticeably conclude, the interactive nature of B.A.S.E.S methodology enables finance professionals to learn the nuances of financial concepts easily.

BIWS coaching materials not only trains the finance professionals but also offers lifetime support through ongoing assessments, live Q&A sessions and community support. Moreover, progress of employees is easily tracked through state-of-the-art software system.

There is a 12-month money return guarantee and discounts for companies enrolling with BIWS.

BIWS Certification for Educational Institutions

A lot of students sign up for BIWS certification programs individually but in the last couple of years, realizing the importance of financial real-time studies and the need to equip its students with financial assessment skills, many educational institutions have tied up with BIWS to train their students and gain “virtual deal experience”. Here are some highlights of BIWS certification for educational institutions:

#1. Virtual Deal Experience

BIWS offers Advanced Financial Modeling and Industry-Specific Modeling course where real deals entered by companies such as JP Morgan, Apple and Microsoft are studied in detail. This course helps students to understand the real world of financial deals and based on this experience, the students can ace interview questions by backing their academic qualifications with real statistical analysis. There are many bonus case studies to complement the studies.

#2. Bridging Difference between Classroom to Jobs

Every year, a lot of students studying finance fail to get jobs because they don’t have practical analytical skills, despite being highly qualified. To bridge this difference, BIWS partners with educational institutions and imparts practical skills, enabling students to gain financial analytical skills, which immensely helps them during interviews. This is an important step because not all financial companies are eager to train incumbents’ right from scratch!

#3. B.A.S.E.S Methodology

Similar to the training provided to firms and businesses employees, BIWS uses the B.A.S.E.S methodology to teach students. Refer to the previous section on B.A.S.E.S for details.

Lastly, the BIWS are made flexible to suit the timetables of the students. There is a lifetime support given to students and they can engage with 22,000+ active member community for peer-to-peer learning. Their interactive learning format allows tracking and verification of progress reports.

Students who clear the exam receive a certificate of merit which is widely reputed in the finance world. Here is an example certificate.

1x1.trans BIWS Certification Review: Features, Benefits and Courses

Endnote

We at FinanceWalk.com strongly recommend the BIWS certification courses for investment banking, hedge funding and equity analysis enthusiasts. Indeed, BIWS offers one of the best video-based training materials to its students. From practical training to clearing interviews, BIWS certification courses offer everything.

MBA vs. CFA vs. FRM: Roles and Careers in Finance

Pursuing the right education to enter the right career path is instrumental for long-term success.

Often, students are misguided due to lack of authority and credible information.

People seeking a career in finance often find themselves confused between three courses:

#1. MBA: Master of Business Administration

#2. CFA: Chartered Financial Analyst

#3. FRM: Financial Risk Manager

(Wiki links for general study)

Each course has its benefits and is suitable to a certain finance career path. This article is designed to help people like you choose the best finance education option. We will discuss the three courses in detail.

#1. Master of Business Administration (MBA)

An internationally-recognized degree, MBA is designed to equip the learner with business and management skills.

The MBA degree works not only in the business sector but in the government, public sector and private business as well.

Pursuing MBA is about learning various core subjects as their applicability is expansive.

1x1.trans MBA vs. CFA vs. FRM: Roles and Careers in Finance

Role of MBA in Finance Industry

You can enter the finance industry with an MBA degree.

The degree gives financial and business skills to handle enterprises.

Highly valued internship opportunities equip the learner for the finance jobs.

The functional course teaches leadership, economics, statistics, accounting, strategy and marketing.

Those who specialize in Finance learn about stock market analysis, global economy, futures and options, financial instruments, financial foundation, market trading, market volatility, bankruptcy, risk management and corporate finance.

In short, an MBA-degree, with or without specialization in Finance gives opening in the finance industry.

Except for two segments – equity research and portfolio management – the MBA degree works with all financial sectors. Even if a person works in a non-financial sector, switching to the finance industry becomes easy with the MBA degree as recruiters value it highly.

Few Pros and Cons

They are:

PROS

  • Helps to gain “soft skills” useful in management
  • Develop better networking skills
  • Widely recognized even outside finance oeuvre
  • Access to consulting firms, banks and other financial or non-financial companies

CONS

  • Requires leaving full-time job for 2 years
  • Very expensive, leaving learners in debt

MBA Course Requirements

It is a typically 2-year full-time study program; however, in the last couple of years, a lot of institutions started offering part-time study options too. A few years of professional work experience before enrolling in an MBA program is the requirement of few business schools.

Applicants need to submit Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores, Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) scores, reference letters, academic transcripts and statement of purpose during enrollment. Non-native English speakers need to submit IELTS or TOEFL scores additionally, to prove adequate English skills.

#2. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

CFA is a specialized course offered by The CFA Institute to train graduates in specific finance fields. It is an advanced course pursued after graduation, enabling the learner to acquire niche financial knowledge.

Armed with CFA, one can work in portfolio management and equity research, two areas where the MBA degree does not help much.

Role of CFA in Finance Industry

Someone already working in the finance segment or looking to switch over to a specialized finance segment can opt for CFA charter. The CFA charter helps in areas like financial strategy, research analysis and asset management roles like private banking, financial advising, relationship management and portfolio management.

The CFA charter is globally recognized. In other words, it is transferable within the market. If you plan to move countries, the CFA charter will still be relevant! Check out this page detailing roles held by CFA charterholders globally. Once you clear the exam, you too become a part of this elite group.

Clearing CFA exam is tough, really tough.

The course structure is extensively intensive, meaning the candidate learn the finance segment thoroughly. Lastly, various research studies show that CFA charterholders are paid higher on an average.

Pros and Cons

They are:

PROS

  • Gaining specialized knowledge extremely useful in finance.
  • No need to leave full-time job to study CFA.
  • Necessary for equity research, portfolio management and certain hedge funds. All three options are high in demand; thus, a lot of career growth potential.

CONS

  • An intense exam system necessitating at least 1000 hours of study to clear all the three levels.
  • CFA has no value outside finance. People interested in private equity, bulge bracket investment bank or venture capital will find CFA to be of little help.
  • No access to recruiters or networking unless you have attended the exam and joined CFA society.

CFA Course Requirements

A highly valued and respected designation in finance, the CFA course can’t be taken lightly. Certain norms and conditions are attached. A Bachelor’s degree is the first step and four-years of professional experience in finance are mandatory.

The CFA exam is a three-step process: Level 1, Level 2 and Level 3.

The exams happen around the world on the first Saturday of June, except for Level 1 exam which also happens in December. Candidates have to pass all the levels sequentially and the medium of instruction is English.

The Level 1 exam tests professional and ethical standards with questions about investment tools, financial concepts and comprehension, and some questions require use of analytical skills too.

The Level 2 exam tests application of analytical concepts and standards in certain situations. As such, the questions are about assets valuing necessitating complex analytical skills.

The Level 3 exam tests applicability and compliance of standards in portfolio management. The questions synthesize learned concepts and checks applicability in wealth planning and portfolio management.

The first two levels have multiple choice questions and the last one is mostly essay-based. Each level is a 6-hour exam.

MBA vs. CFA

Choosing between MBA and CFA is a common dilemma. 300Hours.com has created an interesting explanatory image highlighting the benefits of CFA.

1x1.trans MBA vs. CFA vs. FRM: Roles and Careers in Finance

It is not necessary to choose between MBA and CFA. You can pursue both, anytime!

Think of MBA as an entry-level access giver with acceptance across all finance platforms and CFA as a specialization catering to certain specific segments like equity research.

Ultimately, the choice or a lack of one depends on your personal goals and ambitions.

#3. Financial Risk Manager (FRM)

The Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) offers the international professional certification called, Financial Risk Manager (FRM).

A person with FRM certification specializes in financial risk management in global and domestic scenarios.

The FRM certification program follows the four major strategic disciplines of risk management, which are credit risk, operational risk, investment management and market risk. 

1x1.trans MBA vs. CFA vs. FRM: Roles and Careers in Finance

Role of FRM in Finance Industry

The FRM certification targets a niche and in-demand segment, risk management.

It is internationally recognized where the job of the FRM professional is to manage market and non-market related financial risks. It gives knowledge about credit risk, investment risk, operational risk, market risk and quantitative analysis.

The FRM certified professional can work as financial risk consultant, advisor, risk manager, credit manager, asset and liability manager and risk control manager. The FRM gives credibility to the person and his/her skills to handle risk management situations.

The field of risk management is desirable and contains a lot of growth potential because firms and companies are focusing towards the development of stronger and effective risk measures.

Few Pros and Cons

They are:

PROS

  • Demonstrating high value skill set in a niche segment.
  • Ability to display risk management skills to employers.
  • Access to the elite group of risk management professionals around the world.
  • Better salary than other finance professionals.

CONS

  • 2-year mandatory work experience requirement.
  • Difficultly level higher than PRM and CFA exams.

FRM Course Requirements

A graduate degree and 2-years of work experience is the minimum requirement to attempt FRM certification exam.

The purpose of the FRM certification exam is to assess the ability of the candidate to measure and manage risks in a real-world scenario.

The exam happens twice a year, specifically on the third Saturday of November and May.

Each exam is of 4-hour duration and it consists of two parts. Paper 1 contains questions about the core concepts of risk management such as financial market and products, valuation and risk models, quantitative analysis and risk management foundations.

Part 2 contains questions about measurement, implementation and management of risk management principles in a practical fashion. Weight is given to market risk measurement and management, credit risk measurement and management, risk management and investment management, operational and integrated risk management and current issues in financial markets.

Endnote

All the three courses – MBA, CFA and FRM – offer three different career paths in the finance industry.

Be clear of why and in what position you want to join the finance industry, and your long-terms goals. Based on this vision, decide whether an MBA, FRM or CFA will fulfill your goals.

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