M&A@Columbia Business School

Master the Essential Skills in Mergers & Acquisitions - Certificate co-issued by Columbia Business School and First Finance Institute


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Learn the inner workings of mergers and acquisitions with Columbia Business School Executive Education from the comfort of home or convenience of your office.

Boost your career or business through a world-class learning experience by earning a prestigious certificate and make an impact in the M&A deal-making world of the future.

Upon completion of the program you will possess a deep understanding of this major force in today’s corporate landscape, whether you are an “M&A practitioner” or not.

Earn the benchmark certificate in M&A issued by Columbia Business School Executive Education, member of the Ivy League, as a powerful and verifiable proof of your new competences in today’s job market.



This program is designed to be applications oriented. The program will seek to apply basic finance principles and analytical techniques to actual problems likely to be encountered by senior management of major corporations or those who are the advisors to such management in the context of an M&A transaction.



Access premium content while staying in control of your schedule

Learn in an engaging and enjoyable virtual environment.

  • 100% online program with state of the art virtual campus (videos, quizzes, real-life case studies, masterclasses)
  • Work-life compatible. Get certified in only 5 months, 3 – 5 hours a week

Benefit from permanent support

Exchange with teachers and learning coaches on our forum and live sessions.
Very detailed learning analytics that make you aware of your progress.

Get a prestigious certification

Delivered by one of the most prestigious business schools in the world and recognized by the largest banks and international companies, after validation of your skills acquired through case studies and the final exam that you can take anywhere in the world in a Pearson Vue Center.

Expand your network

With 6,000 members, the First Education alumni community is a highly effective network enabling you to advance your career.


Scientific referent

M&A@Columbia Business School

Professor Donna M. Hitscherich is currently Senior Lecturer in Finance, Director of the Private Equity Program and Head of the Bernstein Faculty at Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School.

Next session :
12 April 2021


The M&A@Columbia Business School is a 10 weeks online course. Instructional learning through the first 7 weeks, and a major case study on weeks 8 to 10 to put your knowledge to practical use.
The M&A certificate is awarded by Columbia Business School Executive Education upon passing a one-hour final exam comprising 60 questions. It can be taken in any Pearson VUE center around the world, in 150 countries.

  1. New resources and assets are proposed every week.


Work at your own pace, see the videos as many time as you like.

Do the quizzes and ask (and answer!) questions in the forum, exchange with peers, teaching assistants and the faculty.

Engage in live office hours sessions with Columbia faculty in our virtual classroom.


  1. Put what you’ve learned in practice with the Case Study, at the end of the course. 


We do encourage work groups and exchanges between students.


  1. At the end of the three program, prepare for the Final Exam.


60 questions that you have to answer in one hour, at a Pearson VUE center of your choice.


The program is open to all. There is no selection or conditions to fulfill. However, like any Columbia Business School program, it is demanding and will require you to invest some time and efforts.

Beyond the designation-we are believers that “You will only get as much as you put in” to the program.


Week 1: Introduction to M&A

  • Will an M&A transaction add value?
  • What does the M&A process look like?


Week 2: Strategic & Practical Considerations
  • Screening for candidates
  • Interloper analysis
Week 3: Valuation
  • The Perpetuity model
  • The DCF model
Week 4: Deal Math
  • Merger consequences analysis
  • Present value of future stock prices
Week 5: Due Diligence
  • Liability exposure
  • Financial, legal and operations considerations
Week 6: Merger Agreements & Sell-Side Alternatives
  • Merger agreement vs. SPAS
  • The divestiture process
Week 7: Takeover Defense & Financial Perspectives
  • Friendly vs. Hostile deal
  • Poison pills


Weeks 8 to 10: Study case

The coursework prepares you for the M&A final exam which can be taken at any Pearson VUE center near your home or office.

Exam M&A@Columbia Business School

The one-hour final exam comprises 60 questions. It can be taken in any Pearson VUE center around the world, in 150 countries.

Conditions to obtain the certificate are as follows:

  • Active participation;
  • Minimal grade of 50% on the case study;
  • Minimal grade of 60% on the final exam.

The final grade is calculated as the weighted average of case studies grades (30%) and final exam grade (70%).



Proven training

Philip L. Bennett
Finance Sector, UK
« The course was well-organized and flexible to accommodate my busy work schedule and both FFI and the professor were amazing. »

Assigned a score of :

Craig Ford
Entrepreneur, USA
« I thought the material was presented in an incredibly organized and very well thought-out manner.»

Assigned a score of :

Miriam Driot
Falcon Real Estate Investment Management, USA
« The course is a great in-depth look at the process from market conditions to perspective on valuation and tactical approaches through the lens of actual real-life cases. »

Assigned a score of :