In early 2016 a professor of finance at Texas A&M University-Commerce used ASimpleModel.com to introduce 120 graduate students to financial modeling.
At the conclusion of the class he required each student to write a review of
the website. Positive or negative, it did not matter, students were free to
The professor let me know he intended to do this and offered to share the results. After a few weeks I received a 41 page
document containing all of the student’s responses (with names removed per university policy). I was delighted to see that it was overwhelmingly positive.
What follows are excerpts from the reviews received. Each
quote, separated by ellipses, comes from a different student:
[ASimpleModel] gave me a new perspective on financial
models. Now, I don't cringe when I hear "finances" because I
have a better understanding. It is no longer intimidating!
I loved the fact that I could take the quiz multiple times
until I got a perfect score. I thought that having the option of
taking the quiz without worrying about my grade (because I know that I can take
it again) was extremely beneficial for me. For, it took the pressure off;
which gave me the ability to freely grasp the material without worrying about
getting the wrong answer, and affecting my grade. I think that if you
really want to grasp the material, taking the quiz with this type of format is
beneficial and a fun way to learn.
The course content was organized, provided a large volume of
information in a short period of time, and the instruction was easy to
understand. The instruction followed a progression through each section of the
financial statement until the model was completely constructed. Having had
several Accounting courses, initially it seemed odd viewing an entire model in
one Excel spreadsheet. It seemed like too much information in one place or on
one page and it made me a little uncomfortable, but by the end of the 2nd section I found this to be the most efficient manner
that I’ve ever been taught Accounting.
Previously, I was taught, possibly based on how courses are
structured, to complete and present each worksheet for a financial document
separately. This is probably due to learning each section separately in a course,
the need to submit sections independently for grading, then having to build on
the last area learned in order to move into the next area you’re about learn.
This is good but I believe a financial model would be a better way of learning.
It might present a bit of overload for some students but probably not the
majority. I wish I’d been exposed to this method 2 years ago.
I found this website extremely easy to use and would
definitely recommend using it again. … I liked the way the material from the
videos was directly related to the questions that were in the following quiz. I
also liked how you could see what you got right on the quiz and what you got
wrong, which allowed me to focus more on what I was missing and correct myself
and learn the correct answer for that particular question. Another thing I
liked was that the videos were of reasonable length, which helps the person
watching stay focused [in contrast to] a very long video that is drawn out but
doesn't cover any more information. Overall, I thought using this website for
an assignment was very effective and would recommend using it again.
The gentleman narrating throughout the video seemed to know
a lot about the subject. I like how he simplified the cash
flow part of the model. I really enjoyed this activity.
What a great way to end the semester. While other
courses seem to be piling on the last minute work, group projects, etc, this
was a nice distraction from that. I liked the format of the site.
It was very easy to navigate through the sections and the fact that you could
take the quiz more than once took the pressure off having to nail it the first
time. The "one and done" concept that most sites offer,
promotes procrastination as the student rarely feels ready to take the
quiz. Instead, I was able to take the quiz, see how I did, then go back
to the videos to learn what I missed. This made for an enjoyable learning
The ASimpleModel project / quiz was probably one of my most
favorite parts of the class. It connected the dots, and the instructor made it
relatable and engaging. I've taken several accounting courses, and this put it
in a high-level, simple perspective. I wish I knew of this site during my
The videos were funny and engaging, which made it easy to
sit through the full length. The content of the quizzes was directly from the
video, so as long as you watch the video, the quizzes should be no problem.
This was an incredible opportunity for ASimpleModel.com. It was
our first pilot program with a university, and the interaction with the
professor and the teaching assistant was invaluable. This summer, based on their
feedback, we have been working to streamline the process of uploading students
to the platform and add new functionality.
We intend to continue providing this service free of charge for professors interested in using it as a classroom aid. If you are affiliated with a university and would like to learn more about this process please reach out through the contact page.