Optimizing investment to maximise your return
4.3 (35 ratings)
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Optimizing investment to maximise your return

Learn the techniques used by Finance professionals to value projects & investments.
4.3 (35 ratings)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
2,287 students enrolled
Created by Lee Hawthorn
Last updated 3/2016
Price: Free
  • 38 mins on-demand video
  • 3 Supplemental Resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Learn about capital planning
  • Learn about technqiues to use to help decision making on big investment decsions
  • Use the provided Excel file to start your own models
View Curriculum
  • Excel is required if you want to follow along and develop your own models.

This course walks you through the techniques that Finance professionals use to value investments for things like new products, R&D etc...  This helps you to make big decisions based on a solid ground.

Acquire the Skills that are normally reserved for expensive consultants

Learn how to:

Create Excel based models to assess projects using measures such as:



Discounted Payback

Discounted Payback Index

Internal Rate of Return

Modified Internal Rate of Return

The course is structured around practical application of the techniques. You can down the Excel file containing the models referred to in the course.

The course uses some mathematical techniques but you don't need to be a Mathematical wizard to complete the course.  We raise numbers to powers for calculating figures but this is as complex as it gets.  All the other mathematics is basic + - / *.

The only prerequisite I have is that students need to know how to use Excel to the level where they can write formulae (note:Formula content is provided). 

The type of terminology used on this course includes: Discount Rate, Cost of Capital, Discount Index, Interpolation.

The course is taught using screencasts & slides.  It shouldn't take you longer than 30-40 minutes to complete this course. There are over 30 minutes screencasts.

The skills you'll gain on this course will help you  make more effective decisions.  If you don't yet make the big decisions this will give you the skills to help advise those that do.  Boost your career or boost your financial return.

Who is the target audience?
  • Students who need to make decisions on how to invest capital
  • Students who want to develop their Financial Analysis skills
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Curriculum For This Course
2 Lectures 03:53

In this lecture I'll introduce the course content.  You'll find the main model file in the resources section for this lesson.  You can use this file for the subsequent lectures so please download it now.


Capital Planning Introduction
9 Lectures 34:05

Often big decisions have outcomes spanning several years.  In this this lecture we'll look at how to calculate the benefits of the investments in the future at today's prices with NPV.

Net Present Value

Decision makers often want to know when the cash invested will be paid back, in 3 years, 5 years etc..

In this lecture we'll learn about the Payback technique to answer this question.


When the investment spans more than 1 year the Payback number can be inaccurate due to not factoring in the change in value over time.   We'll learn to address this problem with DPBI.

Discounted Payback Index

We'll learn about the popular technique IRR that is used to calculate the return when NPV is 0.  This is used when the cost of capital is unavailable.

Internal Rate of Return

In this lecture you'll learn about the MIRR technique that was invented to overcome some of the weaknesses of IRR.

Modified Internal Rate of Return

In this lecture we bring together the techniques we learnt about in the earlier videos to evaluate the decision : Invest in R&D or Launch a new Product.

Evaluating the investment choices

Summary and Take aways

In this bonus lecture I show how you can back calculate the cost of capital for an NPV of 0.

Bonus : Use Excel's Goal Seek to calculate the cost of capital

I have 2 other Udemy courses that teach business users to create insight from data with Power BI.   Once projects go live you can monitor the performance of projects with ease and share visualisations with your team. I give a short example of how you can do this.

Bonus : Intro to Microsoft Power BI - analyse results and share with your team
About the Instructor
Lee Hawthorn
4.2 Average rating
259 Reviews
3,376 Students
3 Courses
Data & Finance professional

I'm a business intelligence professional who has 10 years’ experience turning data into information. I work with companies in the UK & Ireland to help them by building systems that provide reports and dashboards in a fully automated manner.

Qualifying as a Chartered Management Accountant in 2005 and a degree in Performance Management. Before working in the field of BI I worked in Finance as a Financial Analyst.

I have given training to over 200 people on Excel & Microsoft BI. I've received excellent feedback too.

I learnt to code as a child but I'm not a professional coder. This allows me to relate to non-technical people and explain concepts in easy to understand terms.

Having worked for some of the largest organisations I’ve seen personally have BI can be used to improve business performance. I blog about BI & Data Analytics see blog link in my profile.

I have a passion for sharing knowledge as I know it has the power to change the world.