The 2016 ModelOff Finals Form Guide
Albert Chu – The Astronaut
The 32-year old with the Harvard University MBA and former Boston Consulting Group alumni is the wildcard at the Top 20 World Finals. Albert currently works with Masternaut (sounds like astronaut), a telematics company specialising in fleet and asset management. Unlike other finalists, he “doesn’t really do financial modeling on a daily basis” and focuses on growth and transformation and leadership. The Chu-Chu train is a brilliant logical and creative thinker – and like Diarmuid Early – will be representing the former management consultants and operations leaders in the field.
Sho Yoshimura – “Samurai”
The 29-year old Japanese superstar, working on secondment with the PWC Deals Modelling team in Australia, will assuredly put on a dazzling show in London (I’ve always wondered who claims him – Australia or Japan? Tough call). The “Samurai Sho” ranked in the Top 10 across both Rounds 1 and 2, a serious chance he could reach the medals positions. Japan was one of the big improver countries in the top performers at ModelOff 2016 – and with 127 million people we’re certain Japanese flags will fly high many times in the coming years. Congratulations Sho on an inspiring performance – we know you’ll be a great ambassador. Co-incidentally, ModelOff organizers are headed to Japan for a strategy planning week in December 2016 for ModelOff 2017 – so maybe you can connect us with a few local eateries and sake bars around Tokyo and Osaka.
Diarmuid Early – “The Diamond”
We described Diarmuid as “one of the best analytical minds in the world” in October 2014. We were not wrong. Since then, the brilliant 31-year old Irishman became the ModelOff World Champion 2014 and Top 12 High IQ World Championship Finalists in 2016. He combines logic, creativity, serious intensity, curiosity and insane work ethic – we even created a new world 24-hour business endurance world championships called “Pentios” in Hawaii to try to find a rival to Diarmuid’s brilliant analytical talents. He works in the New York’s Deutsche Bank Investment Banking team and is ex-Boston Consulting Group like Albert Chu. Writes an excellent Microsoft Excel and Financial Modeling blog — “The Excelements” you should check out. Can he win again? Dim’s certainly got the champion instinct and problem solving brilliance – let’s hope he avoids a 80 hour-working week and he’ll likely be a Top 5 finisher. Class always rises to the top. Oh yeah – almost forgot — he also has a PhD and CFA Charterholder.
Alvin Woon – “Wonderful One”
Wonderful Woon has redefined excellence in financial modeling. Woon is the #1 ranked performer from Rounds 1 and 2 with a total score of 197/200. Woon also become the first financial modelers world record holder with a perfect 100% score! The Wonderful One together with Joseph Lau and Peter Suen, are the red-hot favourites at the World Finals in London. Each have been standout performers over the past 12 months, great friends, occasional competitive rivals and we thank-them for taken the financial modeling world to new heights of best practice excellence. Hong-Kong’s superstar is hungry for his first world title – he’s lightening quick and engineering background will be differentiators. If Woon wins – he becomes a legend. Woon will also likely retain his #1 world ranking when the official international rankings for financial modeling are released in January 2017.
Ilya Larchenko – “The Prodigy”
All eyes are on the young 25-year old Russian as a future ModelOff World Champion. The prodigious wonder-kid with the CFA Charterholder has won just about every competition in Russia (e.g. mathematics) – but found tougher competition at the ModelOff World Championships against truly world-class talent. The Russian is the best young talent we’ve seen since Kevin Zhou and Andras Galambos (who were both 21 years old at the Finals). Ilya now works for DOC, focused on increasing accessibility and quality of Russian healthcare through doctor on call concept with modern technologies. The Prodigy will be a real threat to the Top 3 places – remember his name as he assuredly has all the qualities needed to become a future ModelOff world champion.
Jacek Pytlak – “Superman”
The handsome 28-year old Polishman looks like superman in disguise (striking glasses and perfect hair!). Jacek is a Bank of America and PwC alumni and now works with Bridgepoint Private Equity, acquiring market-leading businesses valued between €200 million and €1 billion. Congratulations Jacek on making it to the world-stage Jacek – hopefully he avoids the nerves (or kryptonite) on the big stage of all.
Philip Trick – “Trickstar”
We initially met the Texan at the “Microsoft Redmond Experience” in Seattle in 2014 (the benefits of being Top 10% ModelOff Gold Class performer”). Whilst he’s not as flamboyant as last year’s finalist Kenny Worrell (wearing his Texas hat at the Finals) – we’re sure the Actuarial talents of Trick will bring him in close contention and continue to do Texas proud. Actuarial professionals continue to perform very strongly at ModelOff (note: beyond Microsoft Excel, Trick is also proficient in MATLAB, C#, SQL, etc). Expect a similar style performance to 3-time finalist New Zealander Michael Clarke, Trick will benefit most with innovative, out-of-the-box case study questions using his strong mathematics and economics background. Trick also mentions that his mom is an Excel Guru too – I’m sure some tips and wisdom was passed around the Thanksgiving table a few weeks ago. Welcome to our family Phil!
Andrew Gigolunovics – “AG”
One of the leading Finance minds in Latvia, 35-year old Andrew is CEO of AG Capital, a provider of CFO and Corporate Finance services across Eastern Europe. Andrew is a great global success story and narrowly missed the Finals for the past few years. (For our American fields, we’ve even included a map of Latvia for you!). AG continues a fantastic run of CFA Institute at the ModelOff Championship – there are 7 CFA Charterholders in the field in 2016. AG mentions that he’d like to see some “cost analysis and managerial economics case studies – I think ModelOff has never had any of these”. Outside of work, AG loves running and orienteering and spending time with his young family. AG is one of the crowd favourites.
Robert Avery – “Tsunami”
Not every day we have a powerhouse Finance and Banking heavy weight – Executive Director at Morgan Stanley ($62 billion market capitalisation) – lighting up the finals stage at ModelOff, but Avery this year was on fire. The “Tsunami” will cause devastation on the Investment and Finance-focused areas. The key question – how will he adapt to the innovation case-studies? Avery is a massive brand and will be a real chance at the 2016 ModelOff Championship. As Joseph Lau has shown, experience does matter. Like Diarmuid Early (also working in investment banking in New York) – the English crowd will be focused on keeping the ModelOff World Championship title in Europe.
Charles Williams – “Real Estate King”
Charles is a UK-based Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) charter-holder and indisputably one of the best real-estate property analysts in the world – and he’s only 27 years old. We witnessed Charles present at the London Global Training Camp in 2015 – nothing short of astonishing. His great performance at ModelOff 2016 shows he has unfinished business. Charles works with Tristan Capital Partners with €5 Billion under management. If he wins – we expect a phone call from the new US President Donald Trump who might need some his amazing real estate modeling skills and Tristan Capital.
Peter Suen – “Velvet Sledgehammer”
The 32-year old Australian works for StepStone Private Equity in Canada controlling $90 billion in assets – there’s a reason the world’s best investment firms need the world’s best financial analysts on their A-Team!! Peter works with grace, charm and eloquence but get things done with clinical effectiveness. This year the world’s top 3 ranked financial modellers — Alvin Woon, Joseph Lau and Peter Suen – again ranked at the top of ModelOff 2016 performances and will certainly be hot favourites. His actuarial and mathematics experience makes him a formidable opponent. Peter is a massive Game of Thrones fan too – maybe we’ll change his nickname to “King of the North” or “Dragonslayer” if he wins the ModelOff 2016 World Title! That’s a promise.
Karolis Ramanauskas – “Renaissance Man”
Karolis is remarkable. He can complete a rubric cube in 20 seconds. He made the Top 12 of the High IQ World Championships at HIQORA 2016 (from 2,000+ participants). He’s excellent at swing dancing. He plays guitar and piano. He claims “computer games are another big time sink”. Let’s not forget that Karolis is a CFA Charterholder and world-class Finance mind, working with CF Partners a leading energy risk management, trading and asset management firm. Anyway you look at it, Karolis is one of the most gifted and remarkable characters we’ve ever met (n.b. The term Renaissance man is used for a very clever person who is good at many different things from that era, such as Leonardo da Vinci).
Yixiang Dong – “YD”
The 34-year old with a PhD qualification currently works as Financial Controller of Sky, Europe’s leading entertainment company – we’re betting that YD will be a mega movie and sports fan. The Chinese superstar has also worked in the “prestige and fragrances” Finance division of Proctor and Gamble and in nanotechnologies. Like Karolis Ramanauskas, a very cool guy to grab a beer or two. We love his quote “Most problems, if not all, can be quantified and modelled”. One of the crowd favourites at ModelOff 2016.
David Brown – “The Professor”
David is our first ever Finance Professor at the ModelOff finals from the University of Arizona. The Arizonian with a PhD in Finance conducts research related to institutional investors, financial markets and the interaction of firms and markets. Prior to joining academia, David worked in both debt (sub-prime mortgages and student loans) and equity (high frequency trading) markets. Historically, we’ve had 50+ Finalists at ModelOff.com in the past 5 years since 2012 – so congratulations David on breaking through with real-world practitioners. If you get Top 3 – we’ll come to Arizona in 2017 and do any financial modeling challenge of your choice over the Grand Canyon!
Vladislav Smirnov – “The man. The brand.”
With a family name like ‘Smirnov’ (just emailing the Vodka brand now for some free promo sponsorship drinks – stay tuned!) we wondered if Vladislav is any relation to his almost identical namesake Vladimir Smirnov – a world-recognised Mathematician from Russia 100 years ago. Enough jokes, let’s get back to the World Championship Finals. Smirnov had top placing among the many powerful Russian financial modeling performers this year and was a very consistent performer across both Rounds 1 and 2. His three Linkedin Profile interests suggest he was born to be a Finalist at ModelOff 2013 = Financial Analysis and Valuation, Corporate Finance and Quantitative Research. He’s one of 7 Finalists who has completed the prestigious CFA Charterholder qualification. Let’s get down to it though; will Smirnov have the deep technical understanding of Accounting needed to push the big names at ModelOff 2016 off the podium? If there any Finals questions around Statistical Analysis, the smart money is on Smirnov to take the cake.
Kin Tang – “Sunny”
Amazingly, Kin’s the only dedicated financial modeller in the ModelOff 2016 Finals. The 31-year old works as the financial modeler at Lightsource Renewable Energy who have installed over £1.7 billion of solar assets. Formerly worked with Project Finance powerhouse – Operis – who no doubt taught him some world-class financial modeling and infrastructure modeling skills. He missed the start of a friend’s international wedding so he could sit Round 2 of ModelOff 2016 (that’s real commitment). Wishing the kingpin of renewables great success. His competitive weapon is his specialisation and deep expertise which no other finalist possesses.
John Patrick Delavin – “Mr Manila”
Our first Philippines Finalist! Mr Manila boards an Engineering background similar to Alvin Woon and Matthew Fried, the Finance-loving Filipino works at Ateneo de Manila University and previously worked with Primeiro Partners, an independent investment bank and financial advisor in Asia-Pacific. He’s is another CFA Charterholder – one of seven in the Finals field.
Matthew Fried – “Telecoms”
The 28-year old is a University of Cambridge alumni with a passion for Engineering, Quantitative Analysis and Accounting. Matthew works with Aetha Consulting, undertaking telecoms industry, undertaking data-driven and quantitative assessments to support strategic and regulatory decisions. Matt has high performance in his blood – he was lucky enough to run for his university at the opening of the London Olympic Stadium in 2012. He’s an Aussie working in the UK.
Michael Clarke – “Kiwi Consistent”
It’s no secret that New Zealand has a wonderful history at ModelOff. Whilst Alex Gordon from PwC New Zealand became our inaugural World Champion back in 2012, it was always the superstar Michael Clarke who played the second superstar until now. This is the Kiwi’s 4th finals appearance for PwC New Zealand. The 28-year old is a qualified Actuary and currently the 4th ranked financial modeler in the world.
Joseph Lau – “Legend Lau”
The current ModelOff World Champion 2015 and Project Finance Director from the Commonwealth Bank of Australia is one of the most accomplished and technically brilliant financial modelers the world. His experience, his calmness and cross-disciplinary expertise (i.e. Computer Science, Mathematics PhD, Bronze medal at the International Maths Olympiad) puts him in a class on his own. Joseph is also passionate “Spreadsheet Advantage”, a great Excel add-in designed to help Excel users and developers increase productivity. We suspect only Woon, Suen or Early can stop the Legend if he’s in form from going back-to-back – perhaps his only weaknesses will be in heavy data-driven questions or Finance-driven questions (among the many CFA Charterholder). Legend Lau has been a fabulous ambassador for the Financial Modeling industry as a World Champion – we salute and thank-you Joseph.