What to look out for while choosing a course on stock market investments
NIKHIL WALAVALKAR, Economic Times 30/1/2012
Legends of stock market allure many individuals to try their hands on equities. But, barring a few, many end up losing their hard-earned money in the market. Some retire hurt, but some don’t give up and queue up to sign up for courses that are designed to help novices in the market. The queue gets longer especially when the market is in bad shape.
"Short duration courses dealing with the basics of stock market have been in demand for some time now," says Vinod Nair, head – academics and product development, BSE Institute. Many institutions and individuals are offering short-duration courses that are supposed to help individuals to get it right in the stock market.
What is on offer
Typically, an average investor would want to learn every ‘money making trick’ in a weekend. No wonder, there are many courses that are conducted on weekends. Sure, you also have the option of a three-month course. One can start with courses dealing with the basics of stock market: what is a stock market; how does it function. There are also courses that are focused on one aspect of investing, say, fundamental analysis.
A course of fundamental analysis will typically deal with industry analysis, financial analysis and valuation of companies. If you have been investing or trading for some time and aware of the operational aspects of the game, you can consider them. If you are fairly aware of fundamental analysis and keen to go deeper, you can look at financial modeling course that helps you build your own earnings models to project a company’s financials using the spreadsheet. Put simply, you have to first identify your requirement before going for a course.
For example, if you are comfortable trading using price behaviour of securities, go for a technical analysis course. If you believe in financial numbers, look for options in fundamental analysis. But since there is a problem of plenty – choose wisely.
How to choose
Professionally-managed institutes clearly define the objectives of a course and the ideal audience for the course. "Do not get carried away by tall claims lodged by some self-proclaimed experts to market their courses," says Chandrashekhar Thakur, head – investor education, Central Depository Services.
You should choose a course only when your requirements and the objectives of the course match. Go with a course that clearly outlines the course content. "Check if the course coverage is comprehensive and includes concepts, tools and techniques and relevant regulatory issues," says Vinod Nair.
If you have some doubts about the course content do get it clarified before you opt for the course. "You should also check the teaching approach used. Whether it is just an information download or does it use hands on exercises and current case studies," adds Vinod Nair. Go with a course that takes real life case studies. You can get this information from ex-students.
"Do check the credentials of the faculty conducting the course," adds Chandrashekhar Thakur. Role of faculty is more important since these are application-oriented course. Professional bodies with long-standing track record ensure faculties with rich market experience in respective domains. But when it comes to individuals or little known institutes, conducting courses, you have to exercise caution.
"If you are opting for a technical analysis course, check the track record of the faculty as a technical analyst. Especially his recommendations and views at critical junctures can give you an insight," says Nooresh Merani, chief executive officer, Analyse India Market Solutions. With the advent of electronic media such as websites and blogs, this is very much possible nowadays. Professional technical analysts do keep a time stamped record of recommendations on their websites or free blogs.
Infrastructure also matters a lot. If you have enrolled for a financial modeling course, the institute should provide each participant a computer in the classroom. Better confirm the same before enrolling, otherwise you have to carry your laptop with you. In case of a technical analysis course, the institute should offer you some handholding in terms of which charting software to buy after the course. The institute should also offer some post course assistance.
"Students need help from faculty after completing the course for clearing their doubts. Sometimes refresher courses at no extra cost work better," says Nooresh Merani. Some institutes also offer students online forums and groups to discuss doubts, trades and investment ideas with faculties and fellow students. If you are new to markets, this makes a lot more sense.
A course conducted for a day or two would be priced anything between Rs 3,000 and Rs 12,000. Long-duration programmes are priced between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000. If you are going for a technical analysis course, do consider the cost of charting software, which is priced in the range of Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 a year. It may look obvious to account for, but still, you need a computer and a broadband internet connection to trade using charting software.
The Road Ahead
"Nobody becomes an expert overnight. A good course gives you knowledge and enables you to use it in your favour," says a fund manager, who does not want to be named. Give yourself time to absorb what you have learnt in the course and gradually apply it in the market. Most courses will also offer some inputs on risk management and money management that bring in some discipline. Use your knowledge, be disciplined and patient, and you will be rewarded.
VRIDHI’s Comment: We at VRIDHI adopt a holistic approach when conducting training programs on various topics connected to Financial Markets. VRIDHI has all the reputation and expertise which this article is stressing upon. VRIDHI provides free support to all the candidates attending our programmes so that they can get the required confidence. Do visit our webpage: http://training.vridhi.co.in/
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