16 Finalists have emerged from the intense competition that is the ModelOff Championships. They will fly to New York for the second weekend of December where they will battle it out in a final closed-testing round at Bloomberg’s offices. During their weekend in New York, Finalists will have the priviledge of meeting with the Microsoft Excel development team, attending an ‘Innovation in Finance’ think tank and rubbing shoulders with some of the greatest financial and excel modeling minds in the world, including Judges Simon Benninga, Kiel LaFrance and “Mr Excel” himself, Bill Jelen. The 2013 ModelOff Financial Modeling Champion will be announced during a Live Finals event held at Microsoft, followed by Champions Drinks sponsored by EY.
Thousands of financial modeling contenders completed the Round 1 two-hour challenge online from countries all over the world including India, Russia, Thailand, Poland, United Kingdom, New Zealand and the US. The top 40% were admitted through to Round 2 which was, by all accounts, a grueling and mentally stretching exercise.
‘After Round 2 I was devastated’, said Mack Wilk, one of only four returning Finalists from the inagural 2012 competition, ‘I struggled with some of the questions and feared that it was all over for me.’ For hundreds of competitors it was. Those who did make it to the Finals have strong backgrounds in investment banking, actuaries and analysis for some of the top financial companies in the world including PwC, Morgan Stanley and Perella Weinberg Partners. One of those, scoring a previously unheard of 114/120 in Round 1, is EY UK Partner, Gavin Jordan.
‘I’ve always enjoyed playing with numbers and data in Excel, and regularly take the opportunity to ‘help’ my colleagues when I overhear them trying to solve a problem,’ said Gavin discussing his reason for entering the competition. “I thought this would be a great way to test my knowledge and meet some fellow minded individuals. Despite having had a very enjoyable and high scoring first round, I didn’t think that I’d answered enough of the Round 2 questions to make the top 16. I’m delighted to have been proved wrong.’
Along with the other first-time Finalists, Jordan will join returning finalists William Glass, Mack Wilk and Andras Galambos in their attempt to take the title from current holder, New Zealand Analyst Alex Gordon. “Quote from Alex Gordon that I am waiting on.” With $30,000 prize money on the line, thanks to Microsoft, he’s up against some hungry competitors.