9 Online Courses to Kickstart Your Investment Banking Career

From six-figure starting salaries to lucrative bonuses, joining prestigious investment banks like Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley appeals to countless finance students and professionals each year.

However, breaking into this exclusive financial arena requires deep expertise across valuation modeling, data analysis, complex accounting, financial communication and business strategy.

Specialized training through online courses allows motivated learners to build these prerequisite skills, stand out among competitive applicant pools and increase hiring potential at top-tier global firms on Wall Street and beyond.

This comprehensive guide will:

  • Demystify key aspects of investment banking
  • Showcase 9 online courses to learn must-have skills
  • Provide insider perspectives on career trajectories

Let‘s begin clarifying what investment bankers actually do day-to-day.

What Does an Investment Banker Do?

Investment banks are financial institutions facilitating large, complex transactions and capital raising for corporations, governments entities, hedge fund clients and ultra-high net worth individuals.

For companies and institutional investors seeking to:

  • Raise equity or debt financing
  • Execute mergers, acquisitions and corporate restructuring
  • Manage substantial wealth and asset investments

Investments banks provide advisory and capital markets services like:

  • Initial public offerings (IPOs)
  • Follow-on stock and bond issuances
  • Private equity financing
  • M&A deal sourcing and execution
  • Wealth management offerings

Rather than deposit accounts and personal loans like commercial banks, they exclusively focus on institutional investing clients and esoteric products in capital markets.

Why Consider Investment Banking?

For top talent, investment banker careers offer:

  • $100K+ starting salaries straight out of college
  • Potential $500K+ total comp packages for VP-level bankers and up
  • Opportunities to directly manage relationships with Fortune 500 corporation
  • Exposure to diversity of complex, non-routine analytical problems
  • Fast-paced environment and adrenaline inducing deals
  • Generous bonuses during strong economic cycles

However, the intense lifestyle also comes with 100+ hour work weeks, overnight shifts when live deals surge, and high pressure performance expectations. Regardless, top graduates from target universities vigorously compete for limited junior investment banking openings each year.

Now, let‘s explore how online learning helps candidates demonstrate value in the recruiting process.

Why Take Courses Before Starting Your IB Career?

Specialized training through online courses enables students to:

  • Gain must-have technical and financial modeling skills to quantitatively analyze companies and value complex instruments that junior analysts rely on daily in client and pitchbook deliverables to senior bankers

  • Show initiative taking independent courses aligned with group‘s focus area, whether Leveraged Finance, Financial Sponsors, Technology or other coverage areas

  • Expand versatility as a candidate through communications, programming and business strategy coursework

While credentials like MBAs and CFAs carry weight later on, targeted online courses help undergraduates and lateral hires enter the field. Let‘s explore prime course options.

Course #1: Financial Modeling

Where: Breaking Into Wall Street – Financial Modeling Fundamentals
Format: Self-paced video modules, templates, exams
Duration: 40 hours learning

Financial modeling serves as the core skill enabling analysts to value companies, forecast operational models and prepare M&A analysis for billion dollar deals.

This course comprehensively covers:

  • Excel fundamentals refresher
  • Building 3 statement projection models from scratch
  • Discounted cash flow (DCF) models
  • Trading comps valuation analysis
  • Transaction comps models
  • M&A merger models with accretion dilution
  • Leveraged buyouts modeling

Top instructors demystify key concepts like IRR and walk through examples like Amazon and Microsoft. Expect to spend 5-10 hours a week on modules.

Course #2: Accounting and Financial Analysis

Where: EdX – Finance Fundamentals for Non-Finance Professionals
Format: Video lectures, practice problems, exam
Duration: 6 weeks approx.

While modeling relies heavily on Excel tools, fundamentally grasping accounting and financial reporting conventions enables analysts to have context when advising executives on strategic moves involving hundreds of millions in capital.

This university-level overview covers:

  • Navigating financial statements (10-Ks)
  • Calculating profitability metrics and ratios
  • Forecasting working capital
  • Building integrated projection models
  • Conducting comparative analysis across companies

Honing this functional literacy early on facilitates learning on the job.

Course #3: Data Analysis with Python and SQL

Where: 365 Data Science – Python for Finance Mailboat Training
Format: Interactive coding exercises, video tutorials
Duration: 6 hours per course

While bankers live in Excel, programming languages like Python and SQL provide complementary value analyzing the troves of data that guide transactions.

These twin courses teach:

  • Connecting data sources like Bloomberg Terminals
  • Quantitative libraries NumPy, SciPy, Pandas
  • Data cleaning and visualization
  • Statistical analysis for investing factors
  • Backtesting trading strategies

These skills help transition professionals into coveted quant investing and fintech roles later on.

Course #4: Advanced Excel, PowerBI and Tableau

Where: Udemy – Business Intelligence A-Z Bundle
Format: Sample workbooks, demo projects
Duration: 75+ hours total

Investment banking necessitates synthesizing volumes of information into actionable insights for clients.

This bundle develops fluency with leading platforms:

Excel: SUMIFS, INDEX/MATCH, data manipulation, macros, VBA

PowerBI: intuitive visualization capabilities for interactive reports

Tableau: crafting intuitive charts, dashboards and stories

These tools turn figures into perspectives that influence major capital allocation decisions.

Course #5: Private Equity and Leveraged Finance

Where: EdX – Private Equity and Investment Finance from ETHZ
Format: Video lectures, assessed problems
Duration: 8 weeks

Honing expertise in financing vehicles like leveraged loans and advance modeling skills can open doors to lucrative groups like Leveraged Finance, Financial Sponsors and Growth Capital.

This university course offers unique training in:

  • LBO transaction process stages
  • Complex LBO modeling scenarios
  • PE fund structure, economics and performance metrics
  • Buy and build growth equity strategies

Standing out with these specialized capabilities directly boosts candidacy for related openings.

Course #6: Investment Banking Interview Prep

Where: Wall Street Oasis – Investment Banking Interview Prep
Format: Videos, sample questions/answers PDFs
Duration: Self-paced access 6 months

Cracking investment banking interviews has become an art itself with intense case studies and technical questions that stump even qualified applicants.

WSO‘s structured curriculum covers:

  • Stock pitch walkthroughs
  • Technical questions with sample responses
  • Case study examples
  • Behavioral question preparation
  • Networking and messaging strategy

While credentials and financial modeling matter, solid interview skills secure offers when job openings emerge.

Work Hours and Lifestyle

Hearing about consistent 100+ hour work weeks understandably deters some candidates from pursuing investment banking. However, those intrinsically motivated by the fast-paced environment tend to adapt through camaraderie and passion for the work itself.

Anal Analyst Work Hours

  • First year analysts often average 110-120 hours weekly
  • Overnight shifts to meet tight morning deadlines
  • Weekend work is common during live deals

Hours Improve With Seniority

  • Associates work 80-90 hours weekly
  • VPs put in 60-70 hours generally
  • Directors/Managing Directors have more flexibility

While the hours differ across groups, the nature of the business necessitates hard work and sacrifices counterbalanced by substantial financial upside.

Which Investment Banking Division is Right For You?

Investment banks house groups spanning corporate finance, sales and trading, equity research and more. Depending on interests, certain divisions align well.

M&A and Advisory Services

  • Work closely advising corporate executives on mergers, acquisitions and divestitures
  • Direct involvement in large transformational transactions

Leveraged Finance / Sponsor Coverage

  • Structure debt financing packages for LBO deals and provide acquisition financing
  • Interface with private equity sponsors and hedge funds

Equity Capital Markets

  • Execute IPOs, follow-on offerings and convertible issuances to raise capital
  • Provide feedback on valuation, deal timing and positioning

Fixed Income Capital Markets

  • Focus on investment grade and high yield corporate debt issuances
  • Ideal for credit-oriented focus

Determine preferences around industry coverage, transaction focus and workstyles when deciding groups.

Next Steps After Courses

While credentials and online presence matter when networking, sustained initiative and perseverance remain imperative when breaking into elite investment banking roles after courses.

  • Continue informational interviews with industry veterans
  • Optimize resumes and LinkedIn to resonate with target recruiters
  • Tap into career services on campus if coming from target degree programs
  • Attend industry events, conferences and seminars when possible
  • Consider financial analyst roles to transition into investment banking laterally

With drive and sharp interpersonal skills combined with solid technical training, motivated candidates can realize their aspirations if willing to put in the hard work upfront.

Commit to the extensive learning journey and bring dedication through the interview phases, and lucrative investment banking career awaits!