Does have any good advice on any Microsoft Excel training? Such as good books, courses, etc? Is it even worthwhile to do it? Also, I believe you can get certifications in Excel, where do you sign up or register for exams? Any help would be appreciated!
What kinds of things are you trying to learn? If you are trying to do basic stuff like how to add up columns and things, maybe just an “excel for dummies” book will see you through. If you know that stuff but want to learn how to do financial modeling in excel, you might try the Wall Street Training, Wall Street Prep, Training The Street, etc. providers. If you want to learn Visual Basic for Excel, John Walkenbach’s books (on Amazon) are good, and he probably has more basic using-excel types of books too. Mary Jackson and Mike Staunton “Advanced Modelling in Finance using Excel and VBA” also isn’t too bad, though a bit expensive.
Bchadwick: I meet with a recruiter in Dallas and I am trying to get into the Hedge Fund, PE, Investment Management world. He said Excel skills are a must for these positions. ( I trust he knows what he is talking about.) He said learning Excel skills like: If statements, Pivot tables, Lookups, things like that. He talked about Excel certifications would be a big help trying to land a entry level analyst position at a Hedge Fund, PE Firm, etc. THoughts? THanks!
Have you used excel at all before? Even doing a budget for a project or something? If you have, try out some of the Wall Street Training modules, and that will give you a sample of how you use Excel to build a model. If you can do that, you can do a lot of other stuff in Finance. The next step after that would be to learn to do Macros in VBA. If you haven’t used Excel, then pick up Excel for Dummies or something like that. I don’t think that the microsoft certifications in Excel mean much to people in this industry, so just learn it well enough so that you feel comfortable and honest saying you know Excel on your resume.
Is there really such a thing as an “entry-level analyst position at a Hedge Fund”? Every analyst I’ve ever known at a hedge fund is a pretty well-trained analyst who has come from somewhere else with lots of skills. There are grunt jobs at hedge funds that require beginner Excel skills but they are all back-office, trade accounting, etc kinds of jobs. The “junior” analyst people at hedge funds typically have had a career at a bank or other fund and know a ton of stuff about their field of expertise. Hedge funds just don’t employ that many people. If you are going to put Excel skills on your resume for a hedge fund position, they better be much more impressive than anything covered in those books. Also, don’t write that you want “a junior analyst position” because that doesn’t exist really. If you want an analyst job at a hedge fund, you need a good story about how you will make money for the fund starting with your first day on the job and you will be largely self-sufficient (in some hedge fund jobs you pay for back-office support from your incentive fee so being self-sufficient matters).
Joey: He called it entry level. I really have no idea what a entry level, junior or whatever a position that is a beginning position (so to speak) in a hedge fund is really like. Like I said, I hope he knows what he is talking about. I have experience in Excel, but nothing really in depth. I took a Excel test at the recruiting agency and i did okay considering i have not done anything like that in excel before. I never use Excel in depth for my current position now, so my only way to gain experience is to use outside sources. I am wanting to now if i spend $500 on Wall street prep training, if it would be really beneficial to me at all. Thanks for your thoughts.
“Entry level jobs” for people without experience in hedge funds are not glamorous or even interesting jobs. They are “ops” jobs (e.g., taking care of data and babysitting computers) and back office jobs. It’s really a lousy place to start a career because you get in some backwater job with nowhere to go (and forget about the “start in some backwater job and then move to a research or trading position” idea which almost never happens.
I really do not feel that it’s necessary to pay a large sum of money to learn excel. There are myriad of books out there that will help hone your skills. Some of the books I am currently using includes “Financial analysis with excel” and “excel for MBAs.” I have found these books to be extremely helpful.
If you want to work in this business and you didn’t learn excel in college, you wasted your money. I’m sure the time you spent discussing 18th century Tajiki art was fascinating, but some of us were getting down to business.
Try a book called…Financial Modeling in Microsoft Excel; it’s by a guy called A. Day (I forgot the first name, but the book name and last name should suffice for a google search)
HoldSide, I think you sound a little harsh in that last post (on Tajiki art). Excel shouldn’t really take more than a week of intensive study to learn, if that. And one can do it pretty much on one’s own if you’re halfway intelligent and can distinguish between a single and double click. Basics: how to link cells, sum, copy and paste formulas across rows and down columns so they change the right way, formatting. Intermediate: Using goal seek and solver, matrices and vectors, pivot tables, adding modules that contain specialized functions. Advanced: Writing macros and doing VBA. OK, you might not get through the advanced stuff from 0 in one week, but you should be able to get through to the end of intermediate stuff in just one week.
HoldSideAnalyst Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > If you want to work in this business and you > didn’t learn excel in college, you wasted your > money. I’m sure the time you spent discussing > 18th century Tajiki art was fascinating, but some > of us were getting down to business. You made a mistake then. Every minute spent studying art is a minute spent enriching your life. Every minute spent studying Excel is a minute that sucks.
I forgot to add something though… Learning how Excel is used to build financial models is something different than just learning excel. This is where going through the Wall Street Training things can be helpful. Yes, you can do it cheaper by buying a book, but I can tell you from experience that having it laid out in front of you and watching someone go step by step through how you get the info from the financial statements into the model gets the idea across very clearly and very quickly. Things you’ll want to know how to do: Build a model that estimates EPS given predicted sales earnings, etc. This basically takes stuff from the FSA portion of CFA materials and lays it out in a spreadsheet form. Then you make assumptions about how the company will grow, how its costs will change over time, etc, and make earnings and dividend predictions for future quarters/years. Optimize a portfolio using mean-variance methods and Excel’s solver. Run a regression (simple or multiple) to compute a stock’s beta (to the market or to a set of other risk facors). Ideally you’d have a statistical program to do most of your regression stuff, but it’s worth knowing how to do in Excel. Once you got that, you can try building a binomial tree to value options, but that’s more advanced. If you practice any one of those and you get asked in your interview about your excel skills, just point out that these are some things you’ve done.
JoeyDVivre Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > HoldSideAnalyst Wrote: > -------------------------------------------------- > ----- > > If you want to work in this business and you > > didn’t learn excel in college, you wasted your > > money. I’m sure the time you spent discussing > > 18th century Tajiki art was fascinating, but > some > > of us were getting down to business. > > > You made a mistake then. Every minute spent > studying art is a minute spent enriching your > life. Every minute spent studying Excel is a > minute that sucks. Every minute where you PAY to study art is a mistake.
Thank GOD I didn’t pay to study the sh*t I do for a living now. Excel can easily be picked up while studying art or history or whatever else. That said, I’m glad at least one of my majors was economics because I wouldn’t have gotten a job during the last recession without it.
Bchadwick thanks for the posts, they have been helpful.