By Gloria Liu
This year at Thunderbird’s Career Fair, recruiters were looking for more finance related positions. Fortunately, prior to the Career Fair, Thunderbird offered Wall Street Prep classes for students to equip with necessary financial statements knowledge and financial modeling skills. Although this is a one-day class, from 8am to 5pm, most of the students finished all the sessions. Good job T-birds!
Wall Street Prep, a website based learning platform, was established by former investment bankers to enhance the competitive profile of students who seek a career in the financial services industry. They offer paid self-study courses as well as structured classes for business schools such as: Harvard University, Berkeley, NYU Stern, and of course, Thunderbird School of Global Management.
This is the table of contents for a typical day with Wall Street Prep class. This was a lot of material therefore, the instructor Hannah was impressed that Thunderbirds finished the whole class in one day. As the class finished students who attended the class were given a 320-page course pack that was designed for self-study, two online courses of excel training and financial modeling, a coupon for other online courses, interview tips, and excel shortcut keys for PC and Mac.
The class went well and Hannah gave us a few tips. First, Hannah taught some of the most common used excel short keys for PC and Mac users. Then, she went through all three financial statements (balance sheet, income statement, cash flow statement) of a company called Extreme Networks Inc. And finally the goal of the class was to project the company’s financials for the next 5 years, using various internal assumptions of revenue growth, COGS margin and others. Also, for best and worst case scenarios, Wedbush Securities Research had done the research of those ratios for base scenarios. Yet, how to forecast those ratios was beyond the class.
As we built our models in excel, the formats shared the same attention as content of those models. Hannah gave us some conventions for excel usage. For example, yellow filled blue font means hard-coded input which cannot be changed; no fill black font means calculation or reference and is the only sort of data we can change; and no fill green font means refer to another worksheet. When building our financial models, Hannah suggested that for the sake of efficiency, one should fill out all the columns (one year’s projections), format them properly, and then copy and paste to all other years.
Attention to detail is a must for a job in financial services, so what Hannah stressed in class about formatting was surely a plus for students aiming for a career in Wall Street.