by Brian DeChesare Comments (17)

How to Take Advantage of Free Upgrades to Our Modeling Courses and Get a 30% Discount

Stock Pitch Case Study

Let’s cut to the chase: we’ve been working on a bunch of new features to the core financial modeling courses we offer, including quizzes, certifications, and transcripts, and the price is going up on April 26th, 2013, at 5 PM New York time.

If you want to sign up before the price goes up and get access to ALL the new features at a 30% discount, plus a brand new tutorial series on valuation and stock pitches for healthcare companies, read on.

If you have no interest in getting a serious leg-up in banking interviews and on the job, you’re not interested in getting a free stock pitch tutorial, or you would rather pay more for the courses by delaying, you can close your browser window right now.

Here’s What’s New:

There are a bunch of new features, and more on the way… let’s just start with what’s there right now and then go over what will be made live on or before April 26th:

  • Quizzes and Certifications – You can now take a quiz for the Excel, Fundamentals, and Advanced Modeling courses, and if you score above a 90% you’ll receive a certificate showing the course and date you passed. NOTE: These quizzes, especially the Fundamentals and Advanced ones, are difficult. That is the point. They are not easy to pass even if you’ve completed the course, because we don’t want to hand out certificates to just anyone. Yes, that’s hard for you in the short-term but helps you in the long-term because few others will be able to obtain these.
  • Transcripts – All the lessons in those 3 courses now have transcripts, so you can quickly skim through the material without having to watch the whole video. Great for review, and great if you’re not a native English speaker and prefer to have the lessons and tips in writing as well.
  • New Members’ Area Design – This was launched a few months ago, actually, but I’m highlighting it here because it’s completely new and it’s much easier to track your progress, take notes, and download all the files. Site performance is also much better and everything loads much more quickly due to recent upgrades.
  • Brand New Excel Course – This will be the best Excel course ever created in the history of Western civilization. I am about 80-90% done with it right now, and it will be available on the site on April 26th. It not only covers brand-new topics, like charts and graphs and VBA and powerful function combinations like INDEX/MATCH/INDIRECT/ADDRESS, but also it adds a ridiculous number of practice exercises. Each “Large” version video now has a dynamic Table of Contents so you can skip around easily, as well as in-video quiz questions so that you’re forced to pay attention and absorb the material as you advance.

Eventually, all the courses on the site will be in the style of this new Excel course: completely case study-based, with interactive videos so you pay attention rather than just passively watching as you browse YouTube cat videos in another window.

My long-term goal is to create a course that scans your brain and then automatically delivers the lessons in the optimal order for maximum learning in minimal time.

We’re not quite in The Matrix yet, though, so this is the best we can do for now.

There are also a few additional bonuses coming up after the end of April, but we’ll get to those in the FAQ section below.

What’s In It for You?

Put simply, you can now get better results – job offers, lateral offers, and promotions – faster and more effectively.

In the past you would have had to comb through hours of video to find the answer you were looking for; now you can print out the transcripts – over 600,000 words worth of material – and do a quick 5-minute scan right before your interview.

You had to put in extra effort to test yourself and verify your knowledge as you went along before; now, you do it automatically as you move through the lessons, and then you test yourself again at the end.

And once you do well enough, you receive a certificate that you can use to prove to employers exactly what you’ve learned. Each certificate will feature a link to this certifications page on the site, so that employers can check and verify the questions you passed.

But I realize that without seeing all these new features for yourself, you might be skeptical… which is why I’m also releasing a set of 3 free tutorials on the valuation of 2 healthcare companies today.

These preview tutorials give you a tour of the new site and demonstrate how everything above will benefit you.

How to Sign Up for the Free Tutorials

I’m calling this set of free tutorials “The Battle of Hedge Fund Titans.”

Here’s the deal:

  • Mylan [MYL] and Actavis [ACT] are 2 global pharmaceutical companies that focus on “generics,” i.e. non-branded drugs.
  • Both have similar financial profiles, with revenue of around $6-7 billion and market caps in the $11-12 billion range.
  • Hedge funds have invested heavily in both companies. Funds such as SAC Capital (OK, I realize that doesn’t inspire much confidence anymore), Citadel, D.E. Shaw, and more have long positions in Actavis; meanwhile, John Paulson, Och-Ziff, and SAC and D.E. Shaw hold long positions in Mylan.
  • The Scenario: A co-worker at your firm has completed a valuation and built an investment thesis around Actavis, claiming that it’s the better company to invest in. To see if he’s right, you’re going to analyze Mylan and compare the valuations.
  • Your Goal: Figure out whether your co-worker is right or wrong, and which of the “hedge fund titans” are right. Is one of these companies undervalued? Overvalued? Are they both in the same category?

Enter your email address below to get a free, 3-part tutorial series on this scenario and learn how to value these companies:


This tutorial series will be delivered to you in 3 parts.

  • Part 1 focuses on what “Free Cash Flow” means and how and why you use it in a DCF to value a company… and the flaws in your co-worker’s analysis (Part 1 is delivered within 24 hours of you signing up).
  • Part 2 focuses on the mechanics of a DCF analysis and how you come up with the individual line items when analyzing a company that has just made an acquisition (Mylan) (Part 2 will be out on Wednesday/Thursday this week).
  • Part 3 focuses on how you use the output of this analysis to support a stock pitch – we go through a detailed 18+ page outline for Mylan and address the strengths and weaknesses of our argument and areas for further research (Part 3 will be out on Sunday/Monday next week).


If you’re still skeptical, you can read the full case study description right here.

You’ll also get a bunch of other bonuses that I haven’t even mentioned here – but you need to enter your email address above to gain access to those.

In line with these new upgrades, the price of the BIWS Premium course is increasing from $347 to $497 on April 26th at 5 PM New York time, so this is your chance to get free previews of the courses, see what the future holds, and get case study practice with a very “real world” exercise.


Q: What about the Dell case study?!! I want the Dell case study! And more case studies! Where are my case studies?

A: It is coming. I’ll be completely upfront with you: I just haven’t had time to finish it yet because all the new features, this case study, and the new Excel course have taken longer than expected, and that’s with multiple people here working crazy hours to get this out the door.

But it will be added to the site in the next 2 months, along with the remaining parts of the free tutorial series here.

As with all our courses, once you sign up you will receive free access to all future upgrades. So rest assured, you will be first to know once the new case studies are available.

Q: Wait, why are prices going up again? And when?

A: Prices are going up because of all the new features that have already been added (quizzes, certificates, transcripts, and the new design), the brand new Excel course that will be in place by April 26th, and the bonus case studies that are being added after that.

The BIWS Premium course is increasing from $347 to $497 on April 26th, the Advanced course is increasing from $247 to $347, and the Excel & Fundamentals course is increasing from $197 to $247.

The price rise deadline is April 26th, 2013, at 5 PM New York time and there will be no exceptions.

That’s the only way to be fair to everyone who pays attention to this deadline, and everyone who has signed up in past years.

Q: What else is coming after April?

A: Content-wise, the bonus case study for Dell, another case study on Best Buy, another one on the $16B United Technologies / Goodrich deal, and then the case study outlined above on Mylan and Actavis above are all coming.

Platform-wise, the quiz functionality will be greatly enhanced.

You’ll be able to review all your quizzes and view your certificates all at once, save quizzes midway through and return to them, and get a breakdown of your scores and see which answers you answered incorrectly.

This is just “Version 1.0,” and I’m not stopping until it’s perfect and gets you the best results humanly possible.

Q: What about quizzes and certifications for the other modeling courses?

A: Yes, they are coming. In fact, the FIG quiz is already done and just requires edits (it’s on my list, but once again I am limited by the Earth’s rotation – any ideas on how to extend the day to 36 hours?).

I don’t want to promise a specific date, but we are targeting the middle of the year for the quizzes and certifications on the other courses. Once again, all members will get all the new stuff for free.

Q: Wait a minute, haven’t you spoken out about certifications before and said they were silly? Why the change of heart?

A: Yes, in a blog post from 4 years ago I made a reference saying that certifications weren’t the best use of your time when getting into finance… and they still shouldn’t take precedence over networking and interview prep.


  • Things have changed a lot in the past few years, and modeling tests are now routine even in entry-level interviews. So these skills have only gotten more important over time.
  • Being able to show employers a tangible result definitely helps more than coming in with nothing to show them. It has already helped many students on the site.
  • Certifications are only as good as the material actually being tested – which is why we are 100% transparent with the exact questions you have to answer correctly, put them on public display for employers, and purposely designed the quizzes to be challenging.
  • Finally, certifications make more of a difference in emerging markets and in many of the regions with the highest growth and the most hiring right now.

Even beyond receiving a piece of paper with your name on it, simply being able to test yourself with these quiz questions is huge and is the only real way to know if you’ve mastered the material.

Q: I don’t believe you. How do I know you’re telling the truth about all these new additions by the end of this month and beyond?

A: Good question. I invite you to look at my track record of new additions over the past 4-5 years:

  • 2008: Launched version 1.0 of interview guide.
  • 2009: Launched version 1.0 of Fundamentals course on BIWS site, the Excel course, the Advanced Modeling course, Networking Toolkit, and version 2.0 of interview guide.
  • 2010: Launched version 2.0 of Fundamentals course, PowerPoint course, Bank Modeling course, and Oil & Gas Modeling course.
  • 2011: Revamped parts of Advanced and Fundamentals course, launched Real Estate Modeling course, and added merger model / LBO model / insurance material to Bank Modeling course. Also added several bonus case studies.
  • 2012: Launched interview guide 3.0, brand new site design, dozens of hours of new free tutorials, and added extensive bonuses you only receive via email after you sign up for one of the courses.
  • 2013: Launched quizzes and certifications, version 2.0 of Excel course, and everything else I mentioned above.

So no, “past performance doesn’t guarantee future results,” but it’s hard to look at this track record and think that more features and bonuses are not on the way soon.

Q: Wait, what about metals & mining? I really want that metals & mining modeling course…

A: Yes, I feel a great disturbance in the Force as if millions of Canadian and Australian readers suddenly cried out in terror and were suddenly silenced.

I’m aware there is a lot of demand for this topic, but so far I have been completely unable to find any useful training materials, books, or other courses on it. So here’s my offer for you:

If you can provide me with actionable information and Excel models on metals/mining that allow me to create a comprehensive course on the topic, I will meet with you for an entire day and answer any and all questions you have on anything you want to know about, from interviews/networking to financial modeling to traveling overseas to online business.

Please do not send me random PDFs or extremely simple Excel files – your materials must be comprehensive, e.g. internal training manuals used at banks, real models from large deals, etc. or they won’t be useful.

Q: OK, so what do I do next?

A: Sign up to get the free tutorials here:


And if you haven’t already signed up for the core modeling courses, well, I’d suggest doing so before April 26th so you can receive a 30% discount.

Or, you could wait and miss out.

Up to you.

M&I - Brian

About the Author

Brian DeChesare is the Founder of Mergers & Inquisitions and Breaking Into Wall Street. In his spare time, he enjoys memorizing obscure Excel functions, editing resumes, obsessing over TV shows, traveling like a drug dealer, and defeating Sauron.

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  1. Any idea which package contains interview questions , namely brain teasers? Is it the interview guide which costs 47 USD?

  2. Hi Brian,

    I’ve purchase the BIWS premium, but I noticed it doesn’t include most of the stuff you’ve mentioned in the tutorial, ie. UTX GR merger/advanced merger concepts, the Actavis one you’ve posted above, and quite a number more.

    When will they be available? Can’t wait. Or are they not? =/

    1. Thanks!

      To clarify, some of what I described above is already on the site (transcripts, quizzes, and certifications), some is coming this week (the new Excel course is currently being uploaded and will be there in a few days), and the case studies are coming in May.

      Actually, the case studies are already mostly done and we use them to promote the courses currently – if you want I can send you those links (and just ignore the promotional parts).

      The Dell one is not yet finished but will be there next month.

      You should see 4 existing case studies on the site for Ralcorp / ConAgra, Intel / McAfee, J Crew, and Kinetic Concepts in the Valuation, Merger Model, and LBO modules in the Fundamentals and Advanced courses.

      1. Awesome! Can’t wait for it! =)

  3. Was wondering what the difference between the advanced and e premium courses is?

    1. The difference is that the Premium course also includes lessons on Excel and basic financial modeling. We skip over those in the Advanced course and assume you are already proficient with Excel, accounting, valuation, and modeling, and move into more advanced topics on each of those.

  4. Is there a major difference in I banking recruitment between Princeton and Columbia.

  5. Hi Brian,

    I love BIWS and this site. I want to thank you for your great effort and GREAT sites. Can you please provide these updates on the BIWS website as well.
    I have already signed up to almost all your courses and would like to know about these updates and new courses.

    It would be great if you have a section on the BIWS site telling members about these free tutorials on Dell etc.. and where to get them as members.

    Thank you

    1. Thanks!

      Yes, they are coming. The issue is that these new updates are not done yet (except for the quizzes and transcripts, which you can already find on the site).

      And the Dell case study will look very different on the site and will be more of a step-by-step tutorial, so that’s also not done yet. You can find the existing bonus case studies in the relevant modules.

      1. Thank you.

  6. Will this be available to people who subscribed to your courses back in 2010..just like other updates/additons that we have been given access to?

      1. As one of the early adopters, I can only say that I am very grateful for having signed up back in 2010. While I haven’t used the course for some time now, I am definitely looking forward to take a look at the new materials. Thank you for your outstanding work, Brian.

        1. Thanks! Hope to share more soon.

  7. Hey Brian, I have a question. If i sign up now for the basic excel fundamentals and modeling course ($197) will I be able to get the new features (VBA..etc) and quizes?

    1. Yes, the upgrade is free and you’ll receive it automatically once you sign up for the Excel & Fundamentals course and once it is released next week. The Excel quiz is already available on the site as well.

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