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Best M&A Training Courses and Certifications

Show Notes Of Podcast

Top M&A training courses:

  1. M&A Science Academy: M&A Courses by Real M&A Practitioners
  2. The London School of Business (LBS) Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  3. Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) International M&A Expert Program
  4. Corporate Finance Institute M&A Modeling Course
  5. CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters Course
  6. Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School
  8. Kellogg School of Business: Creating Value through M&A
  9. INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy
  10. The M&A Council: On-site training for M&A Teams

Taking a training in M&A is a great shortcut into the industry for those coming from a different specialty, or the ideal way to understand the specifics better for those coming from a financial background.

There are so many elements that are specific to mergers and acquisitions that a general education in finance cannot be expected to cover all of them. For this, a dedicated course in M&A is required. 

What education do I need to start a career in M&A?

Technically, no specific education is required to work in M&A.

The most important assets that any M&A practitioner can possess are good business acumen, an understanding of what drives the businesses and industries in question, and the negotiation skills required to convince the other side to buy or sell.

That being said, a good level of financial and accounting knowledge is required; ultimately, you’ll end up looking through a lot of financial results and projections.

On this note, none of the mergers and acquisitions training below are full degree courses in their own right. Rather, they should be seen as effective ways to bring your skill set up to standard. If you found yourself asking:

“what course should I take to start a career in M&A?”,

any one of these courses should provide some value to you. Likewise, if you’re already working in M&A, and you need a refresher, do take time to read through the list we’ve prepared.

Below, we look at some of the best mergers and acquisitions courses and certification programmes both online and offline.

Taking a training in M&A is a great shortcut into the industry for those coming from a different specialty, or the ideal way to understand the specifics better for those coming from a financial background.

There are so many elements that are specific to mergers and acquisitions that a general education in finance cannot be expected to cover all of them. For this, a dedicated course in M&A is required. 

What education do I need to start a career in M&A?

Technically, no specific education is required to work in M&A.

The most important assets that any M&A practitioner can possess are good business acumen, an understanding of what drives the businesses and industries in question, and the negotiation skills required to convince the other side to buy or sell.

That being said, a good level of financial and accounting knowledge is required; ultimately, you’ll end up looking through a lot of financial results and projections.

On this note, none of the mergers and acquisitions training below are full degree courses in their own right. Rather, they should be seen as effective ways to bring your skill set up to standard. If you found yourself asking:

“what course should I take to start a career in M&A?”,

any one of these courses should provide some value to you. Likewise, if you’re already working in M&A, and you need a refresher, do take time to read through the list we’ve prepared.

Below, we look at some of the best mergers and acquisitions courses and certification programmes both online and offline.

Top M&A training courses:

  1. M&A Science Academy: M&A Courses by Real M&A Practitioners
  2. The London School of Business (LBS) Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  3. Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) International M&A Expert Program
  4. Corporate Finance Institute M&A Modeling Course
  5. CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters Course
  6. Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School
  8. Kellogg School of Business: Creating Value through M&A
  9. INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy
  10. The M&A Council: On-site training for M&A Teams

1. M&A Science Academy Unlimited

Course info: M&A Science Academy

Cost: $79/month (billed annually)

Format: online

An outstanding fully mergers and acquisitions online courses where the emphasis is practical rather than academic advice. Each module is taught by one of 20+ real M&A practitioners in the field with years of industry experience. Every student that registers receives unlimited access to a wealth of workshops and networking events. 

Students partake in workshops and forums where they can ask questions directly to the industry practitioners - something rarely available in postgraduate courses. Workshops are team-oriented and practice-based, with the option to partake in live sessions or pre-recorded video sessions. 

The courses include modules in areas such as:

  • Sourcing/strategy
  • Business valuation training
  • Due diligence training
  • Divestitures
  • M&A integration planning
  • Agile M&A

2. The London School of Business (LBS) Mergers and Acquisitions Course

Course info: The London School of Business

Cost: £8,500 (approx. $11,500)

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person

Spread over five intensive days, the LBS Mergers and Acquisitions Course is aimed at bringing those that have never worked in M&A before up to speed with what they need to know. Typically, these include financial managers at companies dipping their toes in acquisitions for the first time, or those at legal firms working on transactions for the first time.

The course comes with an option to study in London or online, and is held about five times a year. The prestige associated with the LBS brand (and presumably, the cost of the course) give students access to lectures given by some big names in finance, including the head of the transactions department at Deloitte in London.

The course includes modules in areas such as:

  • How to develop a strong acquisitions strategy and finance a deal
  • Judge whether a deal fits with your corporate strategy
  • Learn to value a company’s worth by itself and to your company

3. Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) International M&A Expert Program

Course info: IMAA

Cost: $3,000-$5,000

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person

The IMAA has built a solid reputation in M&A, even managing to bring Aswath Damodaran - the world-renowned ‘father of modern valuation’ on board. It offers three separate M&A certifications, all of which can be accessed online or in-person (held over 4-5 days at a location which is disclosed in advance).

The International M&A Expert Program takes students through the entire process of a deal, from origination to post merger integration (PMI). It takes a more practical perspective than many of the academic courses out there, encouraging students to “look ahead and reason baack” in their analysis of a deal, placing a particular focus on the due diligence and PMI processes.

The course includes modules in areas such as:

  • Essentials of M&A
  • Due diligence training
  • Business valuation training
  • post merger integration planning

4. Corporate Finance Institute M&A Modeling Course

Course info: (Corporate Finance Institute)

Cost: $200

Certification: yes

Format: online only

The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) places an emphasis, above all else, on financial modeling. Hence, when there’s a course on mergers and acquisitions modeling, you can be quite sure it’s of a very high standard. Teaching is all online and video-based, so students can study in their own time.

The course is an excellent way to get to grips with the financial modeling required in M&A, talking students through each part of the model in some detail. A drawback is that there’s no live feedback, and because it’s just modeling, the course is more of an M&A module than a course in itself. That said, this could be a great add-on to some of the other courses on this list.

This M&A training includes advice on:

  • How to structure an effective M&A model
  • Set up the assumptions and drivers of the deal
  • Create a post-transaction balance sheet
  • Integrate the acquirer and the target into a pro-forma model
  • M&A modeling

5. CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters Course

Course info: CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters

Cost: £1,300 (approx. $1,750)

Certification: yes

Format: in-person only

CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) is a UK body that offers highly-regarded certifications in management accounting. The M&A course assumes some knowledge of financial statements, and is thus generally well attended by accountants and financial managers, alike.

As one would expect from an organization whose focus is management accounting, there is good detail in the course, with a particular emphasis on strategy. The course also looks at many of the pitfalls that befall deals. There is also some talk about negotiation, which, with the exception of the M&A Science course, is largely overlooked elsewhere.

The course includes modules such as:

  • Rationale for deals (commercial and financial)
  • Acquisitions and disposals
  • Due diligence training
  • Deal structuring
  • Sources of finance and valuation

6. Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions Course

Course info: Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions

Cost: $13,500

Certification: yes

Format: in-person only

An intensive one-week on-site course aimed at senior-level executives and entrepreneurs with at least 10 years of experience. The training features a combination of lectures, case studies, class discussions, hands-on learning, and visits from guest speakers. Good networking opportunities come with the territory.

The course also offers optional refreshers in finance and accounting for those coming from a non-financial background. The aim of the course is to take students through each phase of a deal in its logical order. At the end, students are given a simulation of a deal, allowing them to put what they learned over the five days into practice. 

This M&A training includes modules such as:

  • M&A team simulation project
  • Negotiation: Getting (more of) what you want
  • M&A tax planning
  • Post merger integration

Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School

Course info: Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School

Cost: $7,500

Certification: yes

Format: online only

Harvard Business School (HBS) runs executive courses several times a year. Candidates are admitted on a rolling space-available basis. There is no educational requirement (a novelty for a course given by Harvard) but that does mean that you will need to have a solid list of achievements in your professional career.

As one might expect of the Harvard Business School, the course is based on case studies, and each student is given all of the relevant course materials in advance. The week features a combination of self-paced work, discussion groups, and virtual networking. The most recent addition to the course is an “M&A in times of Covid-19” module.

The course aims to help you:

  • Build stronger M&A strategies
  • Identify the right targets and evaluate companies more effectively
  • Negotiate complex, multi-party, multi-issue deals
  • Integrate new acquisitions effectively

Kellogg School of Business: Creating Value through M&A

Course info: Kellogg School of Business

Cost: $8,250 (online); $10,950 (on campus).

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person.

The Kellogg School of Business offers this course twice a year, once online and once at their campus. Like most courses, it takes the student through every aspect of the M&A process, but with an added emphasis on restructuring after the transaction. The course is aimed at mid-level and senior executives with M&A experience.

There are six components to the course: Drivers of acquisition success, developing winning acquisition strategies, financial analysis and valuation, due diligence and negotiation, structuring winning deals, and postmerger integration best practices. The course concludes with a simulated acquisition for each student.

The course aims to help students:

  • Determine the shareholder value of a target company
  • Develop new strategies for acquisitions and restructuring
  • Develop a high-impact integration plan
  • Test post merger assumptions 

INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy

Course info: INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy

Cost: $10,400 (online); $10,000 (in-person). 

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person.

INSEAD, one of Europe’s premier MBA schools, offers an intensive 5-day course, whereby M&As are viewed as part of a wider corporate development strategy. To this end, there is also some discussion around alliances with other companies. Case studies cover transactions in industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and IT.

The course content is delivered through a mixture of lectures, interactive case studies, small group projects and “experience-sharing workshops”. Each student is provided with a set of frameworks and practical tools in advance of undertaking any course work. This could be the ideal course for Americans looking to expand their European contacts book.

The course enhances students’ ability to:

  • Evaluate portfolio options
  • Select the right acquisitions
  • Capture value in acquisitions
  • Manage acquisitions and alliances

The M&A Council: On-site training for M&A Teams

Course info: The M&A Council

Cost: On demand.

Certification: yes

Format: Online and in-person.

The M&A Council is a well-regarded training faculty specialized in M&A. Its previous attendees include corporate development officers from some of the biggest names in the mergers and acquisitions industry, providing testament to the quality of the course. Their courses look at all aspects of how M&A affects a company, from its HR to its IT systems.

This course is an interesting twist on the others on this list in that it is aimed at companies rather than individuals. That is, the two-day courses it offers can be attended by up to 40 people - ideal for your corporate development or due diligence teams before beginning a transaction. The Council also looks at each company in detail so that the course is tailored to its specific needs.

Taking a training in M&A is a great shortcut into the industry for those coming from a different specialty, or the ideal way to understand the specifics better for those coming from a financial background.

There are so many elements that are specific to mergers and acquisitions that a general education in finance cannot be expected to cover all of them. For this, a dedicated course in M&A is required. 

What education do I need to start a career in M&A?

Technically, no specific education is required to work in M&A.

The most important assets that any M&A practitioner can possess are good business acumen, an understanding of what drives the businesses and industries in question, and the negotiation skills required to convince the other side to buy or sell.

That being said, a good level of financial and accounting knowledge is required; ultimately, you’ll end up looking through a lot of financial results and projections.

On this note, none of the mergers and acquisitions training below are full degree courses in their own right. Rather, they should be seen as effective ways to bring your skill set up to standard. If you found yourself asking:

“what course should I take to start a career in M&A?”,

any one of these courses should provide some value to you. Likewise, if you’re already working in M&A, and you need a refresher, do take time to read through the list we’ve prepared.

Below, we look at some of the best mergers and acquisitions courses and certification programmes both online and offline.

Top M&A training courses:

  1. M&A Science Academy: M&A Courses by Real M&A Practitioners
  2. The London School of Business (LBS) Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  3. Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) International M&A Expert Program
  4. Corporate Finance Institute M&A Modeling Course
  5. CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters Course
  6. Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions Course
  7. Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School
  8. Kellogg School of Business: Creating Value through M&A
  9. INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy
  10. The M&A Council: On-site training for M&A Teams

1. M&A Science Academy Unlimited

Course info: M&A Science Academy

Cost: $79/month (billed annually)

Format: online

An outstanding fully mergers and acquisitions online courses where the emphasis is practical rather than academic advice. Each module is taught by one of 20+ real M&A practitioners in the field with years of industry experience. Every student that registers receives unlimited access to a wealth of workshops and networking events. 

Students partake in workshops and forums where they can ask questions directly to the industry practitioners - something rarely available in postgraduate courses. Workshops are team-oriented and practice-based, with the option to partake in live sessions or pre-recorded video sessions. 

The courses include modules in areas such as:

  • Sourcing/strategy
  • Business valuation training
  • Due diligence training
  • Divestitures
  • M&A integration planning
  • Agile M&A

2. The London School of Business (LBS) Mergers and Acquisitions Course

Course info: The London School of Business

Cost: £8,500 (approx. $11,500)

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person

Spread over five intensive days, the LBS Mergers and Acquisitions Course is aimed at bringing those that have never worked in M&A before up to speed with what they need to know. Typically, these include financial managers at companies dipping their toes in acquisitions for the first time, or those at legal firms working on transactions for the first time.

The course comes with an option to study in London or online, and is held about five times a year. The prestige associated with the LBS brand (and presumably, the cost of the course) give students access to lectures given by some big names in finance, including the head of the transactions department at Deloitte in London.

The course includes modules in areas such as:

  • How to develop a strong acquisitions strategy and finance a deal
  • Judge whether a deal fits with your corporate strategy
  • Learn to value a company’s worth by itself and to your company

3. Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions and Alliances (IMAA) International M&A Expert Program

Course info: IMAA

Cost: $3,000-$5,000

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person

The IMAA has built a solid reputation in M&A, even managing to bring Aswath Damodaran - the world-renowned ‘father of modern valuation’ on board. It offers three separate M&A certifications, all of which can be accessed online or in-person (held over 4-5 days at a location which is disclosed in advance).

The International M&A Expert Program takes students through the entire process of a deal, from origination to post merger integration (PMI). It takes a more practical perspective than many of the academic courses out there, encouraging students to “look ahead and reason baack” in their analysis of a deal, placing a particular focus on the due diligence and PMI processes.

The course includes modules in areas such as:

  • Essentials of M&A
  • Due diligence training
  • Business valuation training
  • post merger integration planning

4. Corporate Finance Institute M&A Modeling Course

Course info: (Corporate Finance Institute)

Cost: $200

Certification: yes

Format: online only

The Corporate Finance Institute (CFI) places an emphasis, above all else, on financial modeling. Hence, when there’s a course on mergers and acquisitions modeling, you can be quite sure it’s of a very high standard. Teaching is all online and video-based, so students can study in their own time.

The course is an excellent way to get to grips with the financial modeling required in M&A, talking students through each part of the model in some detail. A drawback is that there’s no live feedback, and because it’s just modeling, the course is more of an M&A module than a course in itself. That said, this could be a great add-on to some of the other courses on this list.

This M&A training includes advice on:

  • How to structure an effective M&A model
  • Set up the assumptions and drivers of the deal
  • Create a post-transaction balance sheet
  • Integrate the acquirer and the target into a pro-forma model
  • M&A modeling

5. CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters Course

Course info: CIMA Mergers and Acquisitions Masters

Cost: £1,300 (approx. $1,750)

Certification: yes

Format: in-person only

CIMA (the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants) is a UK body that offers highly-regarded certifications in management accounting. The M&A course assumes some knowledge of financial statements, and is thus generally well attended by accountants and financial managers, alike.

As one would expect from an organization whose focus is management accounting, there is good detail in the course, with a particular emphasis on strategy. The course also looks at many of the pitfalls that befall deals. There is also some talk about negotiation, which, with the exception of the M&A Science course, is largely overlooked elsewhere.

The course includes modules such as:

  • Rationale for deals (commercial and financial)
  • Acquisitions and disposals
  • Due diligence training
  • Deal structuring
  • Sources of finance and valuation

6. Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions Course

Course info: Stanford Business Mergers and Acquisitions

Cost: $13,500

Certification: yes

Format: in-person only

An intensive one-week on-site course aimed at senior-level executives and entrepreneurs with at least 10 years of experience. The training features a combination of lectures, case studies, class discussions, hands-on learning, and visits from guest speakers. Good networking opportunities come with the territory.

The course also offers optional refreshers in finance and accounting for those coming from a non-financial background. The aim of the course is to take students through each phase of a deal in its logical order. At the end, students are given a simulation of a deal, allowing them to put what they learned over the five days into practice. 

This M&A training includes modules such as:

  • M&A team simulation project
  • Negotiation: Getting (more of) what you want
  • M&A tax planning
  • Post merger integration

Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School

Course info: Mergers and Acquisitions at Harvard Business School

Cost: $7,500

Certification: yes

Format: online only

Harvard Business School (HBS) runs executive courses several times a year. Candidates are admitted on a rolling space-available basis. There is no educational requirement (a novelty for a course given by Harvard) but that does mean that you will need to have a solid list of achievements in your professional career.

As one might expect of the Harvard Business School, the course is based on case studies, and each student is given all of the relevant course materials in advance. The week features a combination of self-paced work, discussion groups, and virtual networking. The most recent addition to the course is an “M&A in times of Covid-19” module.

The course aims to help you:

  • Build stronger M&A strategies
  • Identify the right targets and evaluate companies more effectively
  • Negotiate complex, multi-party, multi-issue deals
  • Integrate new acquisitions effectively

Kellogg School of Business: Creating Value through M&A

Course info: Kellogg School of Business

Cost: $8,250 (online); $10,950 (on campus).

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person.

The Kellogg School of Business offers this course twice a year, once online and once at their campus. Like most courses, it takes the student through every aspect of the M&A process, but with an added emphasis on restructuring after the transaction. The course is aimed at mid-level and senior executives with M&A experience.

There are six components to the course: Drivers of acquisition success, developing winning acquisition strategies, financial analysis and valuation, due diligence and negotiation, structuring winning deals, and postmerger integration best practices. The course concludes with a simulated acquisition for each student.

The course aims to help students:

  • Determine the shareholder value of a target company
  • Develop new strategies for acquisitions and restructuring
  • Develop a high-impact integration plan
  • Test post merger assumptions 

INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy

Course info: INSEAD M&As and Corporate Strategy

Cost: $10,400 (online); $10,000 (in-person). 

Certification: yes

Format: online and in-person.

INSEAD, one of Europe’s premier MBA schools, offers an intensive 5-day course, whereby M&As are viewed as part of a wider corporate development strategy. To this end, there is also some discussion around alliances with other companies. Case studies cover transactions in industries such as manufacturing, pharmaceuticals, financial services, and IT.

The course content is delivered through a mixture of lectures, interactive case studies, small group projects and “experience-sharing workshops”. Each student is provided with a set of frameworks and practical tools in advance of undertaking any course work. This could be the ideal course for Americans looking to expand their European contacts book.

The course enhances students’ ability to:

  • Evaluate portfolio options
  • Select the right acquisitions
  • Capture value in acquisitions
  • Manage acquisitions and alliances

The M&A Council: On-site training for M&A Teams

Course info: The M&A Council

Cost: On demand.

Certification: yes

Format: Online and in-person.

The M&A Council is a well-regarded training faculty specialized in M&A. Its previous attendees include corporate development officers from some of the biggest names in the mergers and acquisitions industry, providing testament to the quality of the course. Their courses look at all aspects of how M&A affects a company, from its HR to its IT systems.

This course is an interesting twist on the others on this list in that it is aimed at companies rather than individuals. That is, the two-day courses it offers can be attended by up to 40 people - ideal for your corporate development or due diligence teams before beginning a transaction. The Council also looks at each company in detail so that the course is tailored to its specific needs.

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