Is Wall Street Prep Worth It?
Trainees that complete Wall Street Prep’s Premium Package or live seminars are eligible for Wall Street Prep’s Certification in Financial & Valuation Modeling.
We often get asked, “Is Wall Street Prep worth it?”. So in the following post, we’ll address the most important considerations to ensure you make the most informed decision.
Wall Street Prep Certification Overview (2023)
Investment banks most often recruit candidates attending undergraduates and MBAs from top “target” schools, such as Harvard, Wharton, NYU, and Princeton.
While bankers are still recruited out of “non-target” schools, the process is less formal and structured.
Most prospective investment bankers pursue undergraduate degrees in finance, business, economics, and accounting, but it is not an application requirement at investment banks.
The statement above can be confirmed by the number of hires with liberal arts and engineering degrees, as banks focus on finding bright, motivated students that can be trained internally and molded, regardless of prior education.
In fact, it is widely recognized that the primary determinant of whether a candidate will get an interview are GPA, the reputation of the undergraduate or MBA program, and past work experience.
The result is that those interviewing for investment banking jobs as well as those eventually landing jobs as incoming analysts (and to some extent associates) have a wide variance in relevant academic backgrounds.
Even for those with undergraduate finance concentrations, the academic skill set is not directly applicable; at most schools, students never learn how to actually perform the types of analysis or build the types of models they would find themselves building on the job from day one.
Industry-Recognition of Wall Street Prep Certification
Investment banks hire companies – such as Wall Street Prep – to provide the highest-quality, rigorous training programs for new hires, with some programs lasting over 2 months).
The objective of Wall Street Prep’s Premium Package Certification is for individuals to gain access to the same type of training provided to the top investment banks, private equity firms, and business programs (undergraduate and MBA).
That way, all candidates, even those attending less prestigious schools, have a higher likelihood of landing an offer at the leading firms, as they are equipped with the skill set necessary on the job.
The courses are made available directly to all students, new and experienced hires alike, and are designed to enhance the skills and competitive profile of prospective investment bankers by equipping them with the skill set they will use daily on the job.
Wall Street Prep’s Certification Eligibility
Certification is issued only upon passing an online examination (70% is the passing score) which tests the concepts taught in the Premium Package and live seminars.
Upon passing the certification requirements, trainees can place the credential on their resumes, since simply enrolling in a program does not signal to recruiters that one actually completed the program.
Is a Financial Modeling Certification Necessary?
The primary determinants of whether a candidate will get an interview are the following:
- Undergraduate/MBA Program Reputation (Target vs. Non-Target)
- GPA and Test Scores (SAT, GMAT)
- Networking Prowess
- Relevance of Past Internship (or Work) Experience
If you do not have those things in place, no certification will help you, so prioritize those first.
However, when those other elements are in place, the certification can help “round out” the profile.
Do Investment Bank and Private Equity Recruiters Care?
In a nutshell, some recruiters care while others do not.
The reason is that since Wall Street Prep works directly with corporate clients, the certification is a “seal of approval” of sorts that hinges on the reputations of the training providers.
At Wall Street Prep, we consistently receive calls from employers to validate certification claims on candidates’ resumes – employers would only do this if the certification mattered.
For international students and students that come from a liberal arts background, certification is a highly effective way to demonstrate basic competence in financial concepts and modeling.
So those who complete the program and receive our certification have the option to place it on their resumes. While some recruiters might not view the credential as a “significant” resume booster, others believe that the certification does in fact enhance a student’s academic profile.
But frankly, understanding financial modeling can only serve to benefit you in interviews and on the job.
The Bottom Line
It should be noted that some have argued that such a credential may potentially be counter-productive because it will expose the trainee to more challenging technical questions.
This is a red herring; it is true that the more candidates represent what they know during interviews, the more they will be challenged.
But this is not unique to candidates who complete a program like this: A finance major will undoubtedly receive more challenging technical questions than a music major.
But stronger resumes are also more likely to lead to an interview in the first place.
From our experience, if the candidate is careful about not “overselling” the experience, the advantages of using such a Certification as a credential far outweigh any perceived risk.
In closing, Wall Street Prep’s certification offers a way to gain confidence and succeed in interviews and during the networking process by providing students with intuitive, step-by-step training in what they would actually be doing on the job.