Do you guys think a senior college student should know how to use the Bloomberg Terminal?

Definitely no. First of all, you will never have to use ALL of the terminal features. WHat you will need on a daily basis in a specific analytical job (not sure about trading!) can be learnt within a couple of days in not in a day.

Second of all, maybe it was sort of advantage back then when the terminal was operated via the key functions. Now that you have the “google search” features, it is like saying you have a skill in surfing the web. Not exactly, well, but getting there.

But i mean, it will be very pathetic to “test” your key functions skills because how hard is it to have them written down or memorized in 10-15min?

so yes, i’m with you, i use Bloomberg everyday and i only use it for the same 3-5 functions on a daily-monthly basis.


You don’t need to know how to use Bloomy. We have a Portfolio Management trainee program at my work and you only get acces to Bloomy once you cleared CFA L2.

But maybe you should practice staring at a black screen with crazy fluorescent font colours! YEAH! GO GO EYESIGHT! (-4.25 over here) - that way you know what you’re getting yourself into. And plop on 3-4 separate screens of that psychedelic nonsense while you’re at it…really get in the thick of practicing.

Good luck with your interviews.

In terms of priorities, Excel is more applicable. Not every firm has a Bloomberg terminal, but everbody uses Excel.

Personally, I love the Bloomberg terminal and the way it’s set up; I remember reading somewhere that somebody called it a Soviet tank. I don’t understand why some people here hate it so much, but whatever.

Learn how to build financial models like a wizard – you’ll be glad you did all the way from a first round interview to hopefully your first job in front office finance. I recommend Breaking Into Wall Street. I have tried basically every well known modeling course and think Breaking Into Wall Street is the best bang for your buck.

I barely even knew what a Bloomberg terminal was before I got my first job in equity research.

If you can’t understand how to build financial models from any of the Wiley Finance (or Bloomberg or whatever finance publisher is your favorite), and you need to resort to paying hucksters like “Breaking Into Wall Street”, you should probably re-evaluate what it is you’re trying to do.

You’d have to be outright stupid to be paying any of these on-line providers a dime to teach you about financial modeling when you can have free access to reputable teachers with credentials. Just about all the top schools have publicly posted video tutorials and course materials on financial modeling.

^ Disagree. Most of what they teach in the classrooms isn’t how practitioners do it at the big banks. I don’t mind if you have a different point of view, but if you’re going to disagree so vehemently with me, why don’t you get constructive and post some evidence, such as free videos to modeling that are actually worth their weight and represent what people really do in the field? Try adding some value here. Damodadan comes closest but I can’t think of others. You mentioned Wiley and Bloomberg - what specific books or videos? Many of us on the forum have read a lot of the literature and work in the industry, so we may have seen them already and can opine. If it is a Wiley book then I probably have it on my shelf already. Be specific and provide examples to support your view. The fact that banks, universities and business schools almost invariably in-source their modeling from WSP, BIWS, and TTS makes your assessment inaccurate. I think if you had been through an analyst or associate training program in IB, ER or AM, which are the fields that the original poster is specifically interested in, then you might have a different view. Sure there are other ways to learn modeling or do anything out there, but they probably aren’t the path to least resistance.

Just becase a smart person could in theory build a car with nothing but a hammer, a screwdriver, and an internet connection doesn’t mean that there isn’t value in paying someone else to build the car for them in a factory. So it is with Breaking Into Wall Street (though I personally used Wall St. Training).

Bloomberg is great, but just memorizing functions for a few days/weeks is almost useless because there is a fair chance the user will forget most of it rather quickly. It is not a very intuitive program - probably closer to DOS than to Windows, for instance.

Even people from the HelpDesk often seem lost when we try to do something very specific. They eventually find what you need, but it seems to take a lot of trial-and-error and consulting with colleagues.

I don’t think the certs are a waste of time (better than Halo), but I agree that Excel is probably more interesting, and you can practice it at home whenever you want.

Numi -

The point here is not to learn how practioners do financial modeling in their day to day life. No two firms are going to use the exact same financial modeling techniques. All of them (no matter if they have an in-house person or whether they buy their models from an external firm) place their own spin on things. The objective of someone who is getting started (or is still in school) should be to learn to understand the principles behind how financial models are built. That’s what the Wiley Finance, Bloomberg, Damodaran, etc. do, and that’s what they’re supposed to do. If you want specific book titles, look at the CFA curriculum textbooks and any intro to corporate finance class website. If you still can’t understand something like DCF after reading Ross/Westerfield, Damodaran, or Brealy/Myers, etc. you’re not trying at all or have some learning disability. Things are always going to change and evolve, and nobody is going to stop learning new things once they leave school. It’s a hell of a lot easier to grasp new twists on models when you actually have a solid understanding of the basic founding principles. If you don’t understand the basics, you’ll always be grasping at straws trying to keep up every single time something “new” comes along and/or you change employers. And speaking of employers, the vast majority of firms train their hires so that they have some assurance that the person they hired knows what they’re doing and is throurougly familiar with the rules of the firm. You can’t seriously expect people to believe that they’ll let a new hire have access to client data/funds without so much as an orientation of what is acceptable and what isn’t.

Taking one of these “break into the biz” courses offered by anonymous hucksters is a waste of money. If the person behind the “course” really does work (or worked) in the biz, they’re legally prohibited from divulging any of the real models they use at work. Goldman Sach’s (and others) successfully prosecuted a programmer who stole some code a while back. So it’s not like you can get away with selling propietary firm models on the side without your firm noticing and suing your ass. So what you’re getting for your $600 (or however much they cost) course in super secret real life financial modeling is a textbook explanation of DCF. You can understand that from your college textbooks and free on-line tutorials. With Coursera, MIT Open Courses, London Open University, Khan Academy and many many other free websites, there’s no way that you’re not going to understand the concepts. Whatever “real life” knowledge you need to do your day to day tasks will be taught to you in the training sessions. You look like a fool if you’re so silly as to divulge on your resume / interview that you took one of these break into the biz courses to learn financial modeling. I don’t think all such companies are run by scumbags, though. Some of them are useful in the sense that they explain the industry to people that don’t know about it at all. It’s immensly useful to know all the different kinds of firms, what they do and what they look for in entry level applicants, how to structure your resume, etc.

I think BIWS and the like are a complement to Damodaran and the like; not really a different option.

Learn the theory from Damodaran or whatever (Damodaran is better than whatever), then do something like BIWS (or maybe Benninga’s book) to get used to do finance on Excel - that kid will have an easier time as an intern (and maybe better prospects at the interview).

About Bloomberg, I think that’s closer to Excel than to learning financial principles. I actually attended a few Bloomberg classes a few years ago. In my view, one learns how to find stuff there and not much else (you also get free food). I even had a meeting with a fixed income "expert " to help me understand that better - and yet it felt more like command regurgitation than anything else - she also had never saw a Ratings Transition Matrix, which I found odd.


Definitely not a must have, but a nice to have.

As others have mentioned, the only way to learn the actual functions you will need on the job is to learn on the job - so this wouldn’t be about applicable skills so much as it would be about signaling interest and curiosity.

There are far too many candidates who claim they loooooove market finance and have nothing to back it up other than two electives and the cover story of yesterday’s WSJ. A Bloomberg training won’t get you any job in and of itself, but it can help you paint the right picture and show you’re motivated. Upside may be limited, but there’s absolutely no downside - so for what it’s worth, I would do it.

As an academic, I can say that there’s a big difference between understanding the theory behind financial models and actually building one in a limited time (and walking someone else through their construction). I teach from Damodaran and Benninga, and I still got a fair bit from Brian’s material at BIWS.

At the lower level positions in ER (and particularly in interviews for these positions), you’re typically not building extremely complicated models. There may be layers of complexity in getting the inputs for the models, but they all seem to fall into one of a few basic types. And I think BIWS does a good (and fairly quick) job of explaining them - in fact, he’s a lot better at explaining things than a lot of my colleagues.