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Financial Modeling [Hardcover]

Simon Benninga
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

Jan. 8 2008 0262026287 978-0262026284 third edition

Too often, finance courses stop short of making a connection between textbook finance and the problems of real-world business. Financial Modeling bridges this gap between theory and practice by providing a nuts-and-bolts guide to solving common financial models with spreadsheets. Simon Benninga takes the reader step by step through each model, showing how it can be solved using Microsoft Excel. The long-awaited third edition of this standard text maintains the "cookbook" features and Excel dependence that have made the first and second editions so popular. It also offers significant new material, with new chapters covering such topics as bank valuation, the Black-Litterman approach to portfolio optimization, Monte Carlo methods and their applications to option pricing, and using array functions and formulas. Other chapters, including those on basic financial calculations, portfolio models, calculating the variance-covariance matrix, and generating random numbers, have been revised, with many offering substantially new and improved material. Other areas covered include financial statement modeling, leasing, standard portfolio problems, value at risk (VaR), real options, duration and immunization, and term structure modeling. Technical chapters treat such topics as data tables, matrices, the Gauss-Seidel method, and tips for using Excel. The last section of the text covers the Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) techniques needed for the book. The accompanying CD contains Excel worksheets and solutions to end-of-chapter exercises.


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"Financial Modeling by Simon Benninga is an outstanding resource for teaching the essentials of finance to both undergraduates and masters students. It is comprehensive, lucid, and a highly useful resource in every financial modeler's toolkit."--Richard W. Roll, Professor of Management, and Japan Alumni Chair in International Finance



"I've learned a great deal from the first two editions of Simon Benninga's Financial Modeling, and the Third Edition offers both new topics and updated coverage of topics from earlier editions. The book gives clear, well-illustrated instructions for using Excel software to solve finance problems, ranging from basic to highly sophisticated, in both corporate finance and investments. The many excellent examples draw on actual company data, and the book gives useful tips on obtaining current data from the internet. Financial Modeling is an outstanding resource for finance professionals, instructors and students. As with earlier editions, I plan to keep my copy close at hand."--Robert A. Taggart, Professor of Finance, Carroll School of Management, Boston College

(Robert Taggert)

"The new edition of Simon Benninga's Financial Modeling is a comprehensive and effective learning-by-doing tool in motivating users and making easily accessible the concepts of modern corporate finance, investments, and derivatives. In the real world of finance, its clear step-by-step approach empowers the practitioner to search the internet for financial data, build programs to analyze them, and make sound financial decisions. I strongly recommend it to the finance student and practitioner alike."--George Constantinides, Leo Melamed Professor of Finance, The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

(George M. Constantinides)

For the 2nd Edition: "Benninga has a clear writing style and uses numerous illustrations, which make this book one of the best texts on using Excel for finance that I've seen." Ed McCarthy Ticker Magazine



For the 2nd Edition: "The author describes this as a 'cookbook' and that is a good analogy.... Its breadth is extensive, covering simple present valuing and cost of capital... to the likes of real options and early exercise of American-style options.... A worthwhile acquisition." Paul Dentskevitch Risk Magazine



For the 2nd Edition: " Financial Modeling belongs on the desk of every finance professional. Its no-nonsense, hands-on approach makes it an indispensable tool."Hal R. Varian , Dean, School of Information Management and Systems, University of California, Berkeley



For the 2nd Edition: "This is applied finance theory for the professional at its best. As a student, I and countless others learnt the intricacies of Lotus and financial theory from Professor Benninga"s first book -- Numerical Techniques in Finance. Now, as a professional, I do not have to "re-invent the wheel" in Excel. An invaluable guide. A must for all financial analysts."Vikas Nath , Global Strategist, Emerging Equity Markets, Union Bank of Switzerland, London



"I"ve learned a great deal from the first two editions of Simon Benninga"s Financial Modeling, and the Third Edition offers both new topics and updated coverage of topics from earlier editions. The book gives clear, well-illustrated instructions for using Excel software to solve finance problems, ranging from basic to highly sophisticated, in both corporate finance and investments. The many excellent examples draw on actual company data, and the book gives useful tips on obtaining current data from the Internet. Financial Modeling is an outstanding resource for finance professionals, instructors and students. As with earlier editions, I plan to keep my copy close at hand."Robert A. Taggart , Professor of Finance, Carroll School of Management, Boston College



"The new edition of Simon Begginga"s Financial Modeling is a comprehensive and effective learning-by-doing tool in motivating users and making easily accessible the concepts of modern corporate finance, investments, and derivatives. In the real world of finance, its clear step-by-step approach empowers the practitioner to search the Internet for financial data, build programs to analyze them, and make sound financial decisions. I strongly recommend it to the finance student and practitioner alike."George Constantinides , Leo Melamed Professor of Finance, The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business

About the Author

Simon Benninga is Professor of Finance and Director of the Sofaer International MBA program at the Faculty of Management at Tel-Aviv University. For many years he was a Visiting Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars great reference book Sept. 26 2010
By j
Format:Hardcover
It is a great reference book for who wants to excel in finance industry, expecially for young analysts, or undergrades who are looking for opportunity in finance sector.
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Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars  61 reviews
125 of 134 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the single most useful book for finance students and professionals ever published Feb. 20 2008
By Bachelier - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Simon Benninga's 3rd Edition of Financial Modelling with Excel is the single most useful book for finance students and professionals ever published and continues to offer an outstanding reference and textbook for students and practitioners of applied finance.

For further information, please use the "Look Inside" feature and examine the Table of Contents carefully, because I will emphasize selected portions.

It is difficult to overstate how useful and practical and helpful this work is for a wide audience and Financial Modelling is the single finance book I recommend for everyone after they have taken (or read themselves) Introductory Finance.

For those looking for "one-stop-shopping" for models that resemble those of professional financial analysts then there is no better value than Benninga's FM3.

Benninga's FM3 is a coal-face work for those who must make financial decisions using models. There are further specialist texts in topics covered here (credit modelling, portfolio construction, option pricing), but the models in FM3 are the first advanced models applied to loans, bonds, options, and equity portfolios. Master these and then specialized texts are easier to digest.

"Cookbook" metaphors are too strong and do not do this work justice, for Financial Modelling 3rd (FM3) is not a mere collection of recipes but rather topical introduction, explanation, and then direct technique.

If we can make a comparison with a "cookbook" then FM3 falls somewhere between "The Joy of Cooking" and "Mastering the Art of French Cooking." "Joy" combines chapters on technique, ingredients, and tools with dense pages of endless recipes, whereas "Mastering" emphasises technique and a few well-selected recipes.

The welcome new chapters cover bank valuation, the Black-Litterman approach to portfolio optimization, and Monte Carlo methods and applications to option pricing, and the previous 2nd edition's small chapter on using array functions and formulas has been expanded. The chapter on data downloads from YAHOO is also welcome, especially for those on a budget.

There is a single significant flaw in the work, which is excusable and redeemable. Far too often the discounting in the chapters is done over a flat interest rate curve. While the term structure of interest rates is covered, and historical term structures and parallel shifts and steepening and flattening is covered in isolation in a thorough chapter and with wonderful data files, the necessity and explicit connection of discounting from an appropriate yield curve is left implied and only mentioned in a few exercises. I would have preferred a "round up" chapter where each of the subjects treated (bond discounting, portfolio expected returns, options, etc.) under a yield curve with advanced models. Sure BLOOMBERG and REUTERS have these sort of things (often incorrectly) programmed, but students need to learn explicitly about them and do the exercise themselves to comprehend the importance of curve discounting.

The CD attached in the back of the book is alone worth the price, with over two score of models that are practical and adaptable for students and professionals alike. The files are stored and separated according to chapters and subject matter. Each file has logical progression of the concepts advanced in the book, and each separate sheet either stands alone or appropriately links to data and models on other sheets, so editing for your own purposes is a breeze.

For those who want to train themselves in Finance (not "personal finance") then I suggest reading Copeland, Weston, & Shastri's Financial Theory and Corporate Policy (4th Edition) and Brealey, Myers, and Marcus's "Corporate Finance" and "Investments" followed by working through FM3. Such a course would give any self-disciplined person the equivalent of a Masters of Science in Finance.

Full disclosure: I am thanked in the "Acknowledgements" for providing a few helpful comments on the second edition.
99 of 106 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick Tip April 12 2008
By SelfTraining - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Rather then comment extensively on the content of the book (as others have done rather well), I felt like I would pass this tip (which I wish I had known to prevent frustration). I feel that anyone without a working knowledge of Visual Basic, and manuevering around Excel should obtain the skill set with the well written technical sections. I would suggest starting with part VI introduction to Visual Basic (chapters 36-41) then moving on to Technical Consideration (chapters 29-35) and THEN moving onto the substantial matter of the first 4 parts. This will help keep you from getting frustrated while interacting with the software and allow you to focus on the concepts. Again this is only for individuals without a working knowledge of the platforms, if you do possess those skills then the above recommendation is a moot point.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent introductory financial modeling book July 16 2009
By C. Ang - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
There are different levels of financial modeling, and this book is excellent for the novice modeler. The author discusses how to create spreadsheet models of financial statements and then moves on to more advanced financial topics, such as mean-variance optimization and binomial trees.

An advantage of using this book is that it teaches you financial modeling using Excel, which most people have or have access to. This means that you can use most of the tools that are used in this book, and you can share your files with other people. If you use programs such as MATLAB or SAS, it is likely that you can only present the results of your analysis without sharing the programs or data. In Excel, all your data and calculations are available for everyone, which makes sharing much easier.

There are many interesting things that are taught in this book. An example of a neat trick you will learn in this book includes the use of the LINEST function and other regression-related functions. These functions are dynamic in that the results of the regression change when you change your data, unlike the use of the Analysis Toolpak's Regression feature which you have to re-run every time you make a change to your data.

In addition, for those that want to harness more of Excel's modeling power, the author includes sections with VBA codes. VBA codes allow the user to program and tell Excel how to perform tasks. For example, you can build your own function that can calculate option values rather than having to input or edit a formula repeatedly. More serious students should attempt to learn to program in VBA. For most purposes, an advanced modeler in Excel can create programs that would yield similar results to those of more powerful software like MATLAB.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The best book out there for financial modeling using Excel Dec 17 2008
By Saurav - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Professor Benninga's "Financial Modeling" is the best and most comprehensive book on financial modeling with excel available. For beginners in Finance they could start with another excellent book the "Principles of Finance with Excel" by the same author.
Professor Benninga is an authority on numerical methods in finance and financial engineering. The credit goes in making the sophisticated financial modelling look simple with excel so that any person with some background and interest in finance can work through it and understand the latest in theory and practice. Before i read this book, I had little idea that topics like event study, Black-Litterman approach, calculatng default adjusted expected Bond returns,Value at Risk (using monte carlo as well as bootstrapping) and option geeks can be so easily explained using excel. For readers who have little experience in higher level programming language, the Visual Basic Application would be a great way to get started.The book has a wealth of VBA programs which can be customized to one's needs. I yearned for having a way to download and manipulate the latest market data from yahoo or msn rather than having to update it manually (or through an excel add-in provided in microsoft site which has limited capabilities). The book uses VBA ways to download and process the raw data fro yahoo finance and MSN money. At the end of the last chapter of the book the author says that the "The sky is the limit". I agree with him completely, the sky is the limit with this book. For academics, this book can be used in an elective course in Finance for MBA or a masters level course in Finance or financial economics. I highly recommend the book to anyone interested in Financial modeling.
28 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars superlative treatment of finance Feb. 15 2008
By A. Ali - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This book is nonpareil: there's nothing presently on the market that can compare in coverage, lucidity, and pedagogical skill. This is a must-have for both MBA and MFE students. For portfolio theory, option theory, and the use of (naive) Monte Carlo methods for pricing exotic options, this book should be the first port of call. Also included in portfolio theory is an intelligible treatment of the Black-Litterman model -- the first I've seen that's clear to understand -- given with spreadsheet models (this alone justifies the price of the book). Eveything is done using Excel, and the last 300+ pages give a clear exposition of various features of this spreadsheet program, including macros and VBA.
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