Hello, This is Thomas.
I graduated from WSP & CFI both. I will share my personal experience of learning with both along with some pros, and cons, and should you buy it?
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This is an honest comparison written by both graduates. We may receive a small referral fee for some of the courses we refer at no extra cost to you & Additionally, you get extra discounts in case you go through the links mentioned.
My background in finance includes undergraduate study in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance at the San Francisco State University Lam Family School of Business.
A Master of Science in Financial Analytics and Investment Management from Saint Mary’s College of California School of Economics and Business Administration.
The Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Curriculum, a year as an Institutional Investment Associate and Private Equity Analyst in Private Wealth Management.
Am I Eligible To Write This Comparison?
My Motivation To Enroll CFI & WSP Program?
As a late entrant into financial services, I missed out on the opportunity to enter my target career industry of investment banking via traditional recruitment cycles and channels which typically follow a Junior Summer Analyst Program through a Full-Time return offer.
Additionally, coming from a non-target university the odds were mostly stacked against me in arguably the most competitive field to break into out of school.
I sought out opportunities to garner the necessary skills which I believed would serve to separate me from my competition.
These included prep programs in financial modeling and valuation services through both CFI and Wall Street Prep as I knew they focused on teaching valuable on-the-job skills.
My Investment Banking Pitchbook:
Wall Street Prep vs CFI
|Pricing||Self-Study – $497
|Basic – $199
|Duration:||100 Hours||70-90 Hours for Premium|
|Best For||-Corporate Fin. Individuals
|Unique Features||-Interactive Practical Modules
-Access To the Entire CFI Course Catalog
-4 Certificates included
-Good Reviews & Feedback
-3 attempts at Final Exams
|Work Experience||Not required||Not required|
|Exams||Online (Anytime)||Online (Anytime)|
|Pros||-Learn Practical Skills
-Credible Courses Globally
-Rigorous & In-depth Training
-Most Relevant Certification
|Cons||-Not Very Rigorous||-Not For Beginners|
10% Off Code: OCGRAD10
15% Off Code
|Get The Deal➜||Go To WSP ➜|
|Parameter||Corporate Finance Institute||Wall Street Prep|
|Career Prospects After Course||✔️|
CFI vs Wall Street Prep: Platform/Course Overview
CFI is truly an incredibly comprehensive program that teaches the basics of financial modeling through advanced and career-specific courses throughout the extensive curriculum apart of the FMVA program.
The course is supplemented with additional elective courses which complement the comprehensive core curriculum which not only covers multiple instances of advanced Excel modeling techniques.
PowerPoint and a graphical dashboard that has served me incredibly well as an Investment Banking Analyst.
The CFI program was more than effective at preparing me to be successful on the job from day 1 and I am incredibly grateful for all of the additional resources that come with the full immersion FMVA program.
Wall Street Prep is a great course that gives insightful step-by-step walkthroughs of building on job-specific financial valuation models.
The program is insightful in that it provides true insider information from former bankers and goes beyond just the model, taking the extra step to teach the mathematical calculations which go into the modeling practices.
Is Wall Street Prep worth it? Wall Street Prep is valuable in its own right, and I believe it is a great place to start your modeling training. However, it’s not quite as comprehensive as the CFI program.
Wall Street Prep also has an excellent Bootcamp-style prep course that will give you the necessary foundational techniques you need to be successful from day 1 on the job.
Platform/Course Overview- Winner: CFI
For the most comprehensive all-inclusive, no-stones-left unturned approach CFI is one of the best programs currently on the market.
For a quick boot-camp-style crash course in financial modeling, Wall Street Prep is an excellent resource. I hope this CFI Vs Wall Street Prep article is helping you.
Corporate Finance Institute vs Wall Street Prep: Curriculum
The curriculum is helpful for both practicing modelers who have a clear idea of which field they are targeting to specialize in and enables those individuals to focus on specifically applicable courses.
It is also a great resource for those who are not committed to any particular field and would like to gain a more general introductory experience and exposure to a wide variety of different operational sectors through their comprehensive and diverse electives which touch on financial service sectors from FP&A, M&A, Real Estate, Credit Analysis and more.
The curriculum is excellent for those who want to learn the on-the-job skills applicable to Investment Banking and Private equity analyst work.
It is excellent in a boot-camp crash course setting for those who want to gain quick insights into on-the-job skills a few weeks out from starting the job.
For Junior Students preparing to start their first Summer Analyst stints, this is an ideal way to prepare for the necessary on-the-job assignments to be successful enough to earn a full-time return offer.
Thoughts On Curriculum- Winner: CFI
CFI, but both have their advantages. As a graduate of CFI and Wall Street Prep, I can say that the CFI curriculum is much more comprehensive and extensive and requires much more time to take advantage of all that the program has to offer. WSP is great for those who want to take a crash course in Financial Modeling.
Career Applications After Course:
CFI applies to a wide range of financial service sectors and job functions, ranging from Investment Banking to Equity Research, Real Estate Acquisitions, and Valuation through lease and loan modeling.
FP&A through their cash flow scheduling, rolling budget analysis, variance analysis coursework, and Standard Management through their accounting, inventory, and expense management courses.
There are also separate curriculums tailored toward Credit Analysis and Data Analysis rather than Valuations.
WSP is targeted much more exclusively toward Investment Banking and Private Equity valuations and focused on complex Comps and Precedents Models, 3 Statement Models, Discounted Cash Flow Modeling, Mergers and Acquisitions, and Leveraged Buyout Models.
Career Applications After Course- Winner: CFI
CFI because it is applicable and relevant to a much wider and broader consumer base and allows its students to gain exposure to many different sectors of financial services.
CFI is more comprehensive and establishes a strong foundation in the many facets of financial modeling beyond those applicable to valuation and deal-making.
Check out this CFI review as well.
Wall Street Prep Vs CFI: How Are The Instructors?
The instructors are polished and very corporate, such as you would expect from professional preparation curriculum providers like Kaplan or Manhattan Prep. They are sometimes dry and monotonous but they are incredibly knowledgeable.
It may be hard at times to remain engaged, especially during the more densely complicated material sections. We will dive deep into the CFI Vs Wall Street Prep instructor’s section
They do teach in a way that is intriguing because they do a great job of not only teaching the skills but also explaining the relevant uses and applications of those skills.
The graphical presentation quality is very high, and the sample models provided to follow along with the instructors are excellently designed and easy to follow, and serve as a great resource even after completion of the curriculum.
The instructors are true insiders, who speak the vernacular you will need to be familiar with on the job. The course is taught by former bankers who have practical experience at some of the premier institutions.
The instruction is much less corporate, and not like a classroom setting. It is much more like learning from a coworker or immediate supervisor rather than an instructor.
This can be much more comforting for those who are extra familiar and have a predeveloped understanding of the job function.
The Instructors- Winner: WSP
WSP, because they speak in the jargon you can expect to encounter on the job. They also teach using real-life applications of practical scenarios where their models would be typically implemented.
I also like WSP more because they speak in a way that assumes you have some previous experience with the industry functions and “keeps it real” so to speak.
Thoughts On Pricing & Timeline:
This program is more expensive and requires much more time dedicated to the curriculum. The full-immersion program costs $847, but there are often back-to-school sales as well for students. Both the Self-Study and Full-Immersion subscriptions give access to CFI’s entire course catalog and 4 certificates.
The Full-Immersion includes professional support. Access to additional tools like Macabacus, S&P Capital IQ, and Pitchbook is awesome for gaining experience using these services. The duration of the curriculum is roughly 4-6 months on a part-time schedule.
This Premium package is less expensive, but also a bit less comprehensive. Wall Street Prep also has a number of boot camps that can be completed in as little as one to two weeks and is an excellent crash course for those preparing to enter the industry. The cost of the Premium Package is $499 and provides access to 7 Core courses and 39 mini-courses.
Pricing & Timeline- Winner: CFI
CFI for those with a longer study horizon, WSP for those with a shorter study horizon.
The next topic of this CFI Vs Wall Street Prep will discuss all exams.
All About Final Exam & Exam Pass Rate:
The final exam is extensive, and you only get one attempt. The exam includes case studies and is timed. The test takes roughly 2 hours and covers 50 questions which are based on 3 case studies. The test includes some matching, multiple-choice, and definitions-based questions and some calculations.
The exam is quite challenging combining theoretical questions and real-life case studies with models which must be completed before answering multiple choice questions. It does include mathematical calculations and you must have knowledge of complex financial formulas. You do get 3 attempts to complete the exams.
Final Exam & Exam Pass Rate- Winner: WSP
They are both high quality but WSP wins as you get 3 attempts at the exam. CFI only allows one attempt to complete.
Wall Street Prep vs CFI: Learning Experience
The learning experience is excellent and well guided and the course quality is a 9/10. The best takeaways I got from earning my FMVA certification included the advanced graphics and dashboards, the presentations and pitch decks, and the integrated 3-statement model with DCF and sensitivity analysis.
The learning experience is great but can be overwhelming as the instructors do move quite quickly, my biggest gripe would be that you often have to rewind and rewatch to understand the references.
I would rate the experience as an 8/10, but I am ultimately very grateful for the introductory experience I gained throughout the WSP program. You can go through udacity vs datacamp article as well
My modeling was ground-level zero when I first took this course, and it has certainly served as the foundation for what is considered now industry-advanced.
Learning Experience- Winner: CFI
CFI, but only by a little. The CFI learning experience is simpler and very well-guided.
What I Liked
Comprehensive, In-Depth, Multi-Faceted Applications and Resources that apply to a wide range of financial services job functions and across a multitude of industries, excel and PowerPoint coursework and resources, an expansive library of models and templates that spans over 200 unique builds.
Does an excellent job of making sure you are equipped with every skill you may need throughout your studies and post-program on-the-job work. The online database also has additional model templates and a very useful resource reference guide that is easily navigated through search topics.
Excellent for those who need a quick, boot camp-style learning program. This is ideal for incoming summer analysts that want to gain some background skills in their modeling and valuation techniques.
Additionally, this course goes beyond the models and teaches you the jargon you will encounter on the job from real bankers.
What I Disliked
Long and costly, the Full-Immersion program will cost you over $800 and will take roughly 4-6 months of part-time study time. The final exam is quite difficult and requires a significant amount of preparation and test-taking time.
Exclusively focused on investment banking valuation and deal modeling, the instruction is very quick and sometimes difficult to keep up with. The course does not cover PowerPoint or other tools or software.
Conclusion: CFI or Wall Street Prep?
At the end of the day, given the reputation of these two institutes, there’s no straightforward answer to Wall Street Prep vs CFI. CFI is excellent for those who want to gain a comprehensive arsenal of skills that transcend just investment banking Excel modeling. If you are looking for a Financial Modelling/Investment Banking focused crash course,
WSP is an excellent option, especially for those incoming first-time analysts or those who already have a background in banking or finance and want to gain some insights from real industry professionals and learn the on-the-job jargon.
CFI All-Access Subscriptions – Limited Code: OCGRAD10
Thomas S. Wida
I am an Investment Banking Analyst Level 1 working in Financial Institutions Mergers & Acquisitions. – My Story
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I hold FMVA & CFA Level 1 Chartered. I will share my personal experience of learning with both along with some pros, cons, and which one is best for you