Wharton Financial Modeling Course Review: Is It Worth It?

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Not sure if the Wharton Online Financial Modeling course is for you? You’ve come to the right place.

Unlike all of the other reviews written by people who have never gone through the course and solely wrote a review for the sake of generating affiliate income—in this post we’ll be diving deep into Wharton’s Business and Financial Modeling Specialization after completing it.

That being said, I recommend you stick to the end if you want to understand what the biggest limitation of the course really is.

What is the Wharton Modeling Course

The Specialization in Business and Financial Modeling from Wharton Online is a thorough program that will show you how the top finance professionals and business owners make informed financial and business decisions.

The program is taught through Coursera by a team of the most acclaimed professors in Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania (commonly referred to as Penn).

A member of the Ivy League, Penn is consistently ranked among the top 3 business schools by various ranking organizations, such as the Financial Times, QS World University Rankings, and U.S. News & World Report.

The specialization is composed of five foundational courses—each building upon the other—that aim to improve your spreadsheet and modeling skills:

#1) Fundamentals of Quantitative Modeling

This course is an introduction to the basics of financial models and econometrics.

You’ll get a thorough review of statistics for business and the fundamental conceptual knowledge you need to know before learning how to build a quantitative model.

It’s a very important part for beginners transitioning from other areas of study, or business grads needing a refresher in econometrics.

#2) Introduction to Spreadsheets and Models

From 100-million-dollar businesses to mom-and-pop shops, everyone uses spreadsheets. It is the simplest, yet the most powerful analysis tool there is.

This course will teach you the basic spreadsheet tools and formulas you need in order to know how to organize the data you have now and predict the data you may have in the future.

Think you know all about Excel and spreadsheets? I know I did. But the modules within this course reminded me Excel is easy to learn, difficult to master.

It was eye-opening, it challenged my preconceived notions about spreadsheets, and it was very helpful to revisit some forgotten concepts.

#3) Modeling Risk and Realities

Personally? This is the best risk modeling course I have ever attended, and it contains some of my favorite modules in the whole specialization.

It’ll teach you how to create quantitative models to reflect complex realities—and take uncertainty into account.

The lecturer, Sergei Savin, does a great job at making the lessons accessible to everyone, even those who don’t have a specialty in statistics.

Instead of telling you what to think, he teaches you how to think critically for yourself.

Overall, it was easy to follow the logic, understand the meaning behind the numbers, and know when to apply the lessons to different realities of risk, compliance, algorithms, and finance.

#4) Decision-Making and Scenarios

The modules in this course explain the strengths and weaknesses of different valuation methods.

You’ll go through the step-by-step processes of modeling common business and financial scenarios to improve decision-making. How?

By learning how the three financial statements are interconnected, how business events are reflected in each, and how to make forecasts.

It serves as a bridge between the statistics from the previous courses, and the intuition behind business management strategy.

If you have a background in finance, you’ll have an easier time keeping up. Still, the order in which the modules are structured makes it possible for anyone to understand.

#5) Wharton Business and Financial Modeling Capstone

The focus of this course is investment management, as opposed to corporate finance.

You’ll be challenged to prepare a short presentation that will test your learning from all the other modules. What is the project about?

Building a portfolio and optimizing the weight you give to each type of asset—such as stocks, bonds, and index funds—to increase the returns while managing risk.

The real-world applications are endless.

While I’m not the biggest fan of Excel for portfolio optimization, the lecturer was very engaging and kept things easy to understand.

Who Is It For?

The way I see it, the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization by Wharton is ideal for:

  • Finance and accounting professionals aiming for a promotion and looking to solidify their knowledge.
  • College students looking to improve their resume and be at the top of their class.
  • Business owners who feel they lack a concrete process to make optimal business and financial decisions.
  • People looking to transition into finance from a non-business undergrad.

While you don’t need an accounting background, you do need a good understanding of statistics and high-school-level maths.

Don’t enroll thinking this course will be easy-peasy and won’t require you to put in any effort.

Every minute of the lectures is value-packed, which means the knowledge you get for the amount of time you spend is very high. So you must pay attention.

If you don’t, you will get overwhelmed and will have trouble completing the quizzes. Take it from personal experience.

How to Enroll

To enroll in the course, simply go to the Business and Financial Modeling Specialization page and click the Enroll for Free button.

The specialization is not free though. It costs $79/month.

But it is included in Coursera Plus, which costs $59/month if you’re in the United States. (The price varies according to your location and currency.)

You get a free trial of Coursera Plus for 7 days that you can cancel anytime without having to pay any fees.

Coursera Plus is a subscription plan from Coursera that gives you unlimited access to 7,000+ courses and specializations from 170+ leading companies and universities, at no additional cost.

Once the free trial expires, you have the standard subscription plan options: monthly or annual. Select what you prefer and enter your payment information to complete the enrollment process.

After you enroll, you will have access to all the materials, including video lectures, readings, quizzes, and assignments.

You will also be able to interact with other students in the course through the discussion forums. You’ll find a lot of threads in there, as over +75,000 have already enrolled.

Because Coursera charges a monthly fee rather than a fixed price, you can save money by completing the courses faster.

Pros & Cons


Things I liked about the specialization:

  • Top university: Wharton is the top #1 business school in the world (yes, above Harvard) according to the Financial Times. You’re getting direct contact with the best finance professors, who have real skin in the game. Not to mention it looks damn good on your resume.
  • Self-paced: The faster you complete the course, the less you pay. You can also pause, rewind, and review concepts as you need.
  • Real-world connection: Unlike some other finance courses that focus on concepts that only exist in a vacuum of theoretical worlds, this program challenges you with real-world problems that will teach you job-relevant skills and tools. It’s tangible project experience you can mention in a job interview, for example.
  • Shareable certificate: You earn a certificate once you complete the specialization. You can share it in your LinkedIn profile, CV, or other documents. Everyone has a degree nowadays. If you want to stand out you need extracurricular activities, and this is a great way to do it. Companies love proactive people who don’t need to be handheld. And this is not me chitchatting, this is advice from an hiring manager who rejected me.
  • Free trial: The 7 days Coursera offers you eliminate all risks of joining something you don’t find valuable. Like buying a house, you get to make your decision only after looking at the inside of it.


Things I didn’t like about the program and that Courersa and Wharton could improve:

  • Boring slides: The videos shown in the slides could have been replaced by animations to make the math more understandable or dynamic. Good thing the lecturers do a fantastic job at explaining things clearly, otherwise it would be as discouraging as your average school class.
  • Disappointing quizzes: Great idea. Poor execution. Some quizzes don’t take into account different answers to the same question, leading to multiple attempts to pass despite knowing the correct answer. The phrasing of the questions could be better and I would like to have feedback at the end. Still, this is not the case for all modules, and the quizzes overall help you evaluate your progress and determine if you’re ready for the next lecture.
  • Quiet discussion forum: Another feature I found interesting, but that fell short of my expectations. You get direct contact with Wharton and Coursera through a discussion forum, along with fellow students. The problem? It is not monitored regularly by the teachers. If you’re lucky, you’ll find people who had the same doubt as you for which the teachers have already answered.

Wharton Financial Modeling Review: The Verdict

Modeling is an in-demand skill. Whether you’re looking to switch careers, angling for a promotion, or starting your own business, you can use financial modeling to forecast future performance and study how different factors will affect your cash flow.

The Business and Financial Modeling Specialization by Wharton (Coursera) is value-packed, and taught by experts in the field. It is well-paced and emphasizes practical skills.

Each module has an introduction that articulates clearly what you can expect to learn. In the end? You get a summary that beautifully wraps up what you learned in a quick overview just before the quiz.

While some quizzes have technical issues, this won’t prevent you from benefiting from how well the lectures build upon each other like a majestic staircase.

As to the price, it’s very cost-effective. You’re getting top-notch content from some of the brightest business minds, for a fraction of the cost of an industry-average finance course ($300-$600). More value for less money.

No wonder over +70,000 people have enrolled. Tap below to join them:

Wharton's Business Course Real-World Review by Financestu

The Financestu team dives deep into Wharton’s Business and Financial Modeling Specialization after completing it, sharing actual experience from within the program in this in-depth 2023 honest review.

Product Brand: Coursera

Product Currency: USD

Product Price: 59

Product In-Stock: InStock

Editor's Rating:

Have you enrolled? What did you think of the courses? Leave your comments below.

Have any further questions I didn’t answer? Let me know and I’ll get back to you in less than 24H.

Also, if you have enrolled and need any help understanding the course’s content, feel free to contact me.

Hugo Moreira

Hugo Moreira

Currently finishing a Master's degree in Finance. I'm happy to be able to spend my free time writing and explaining financial concepts to you. You can learn more by visiting the About page.

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