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How did you hear about the ModelOff competition? What made you want to get involved?

I spotted a reference to it when researching off-the-shelf Excel add-ins. Luckily, the competition was to start in a month and it seemed like a fun, challenging activity that a lot of us in our firm would be interested in.

Tell us a bit about your experiences in Round 1 and 2. Did you think you would make it to the World Finals?

Well, I unfortunately got food poisoning before Round 1 and was competing on a completely empty stomach, and even worse – no caffeine! I made one annoying mistake that threw me off in a question and wasted a lot of time. Coming into Round 2 I knew more of what to expect, and in particular the time pressure. I was actually really lucky as Excel crashed during one of the case studies, but thankfully I had pressed save only 1 minute before! The only downside of Round 2 was having to miss all the Bonfire Night fireworks that were going on in a park very close to our company’s office that night!

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received at work?

Formatting, structure, and simplicity matter. When first modelling, you have no appreciation for how important these things are. It’s not all about fancy formulas!

What is/are your greatest achievement(s) – either personally or professionally?

I would have to put ModelOff on this list of course, but on a personal level, I was lucky enough to run for my university at the opening of the London Olympic Stadium in 2012.

Favorite Excel Shortcut(s):

Alt, S, S – using our company’s custom formatting ribbon, this formats a cell in bright pink – crucial to marking a cell as needing review, but also letting you move on.
Ctrl+S – save often! Excel crashed on me during Round 2 and it was only because of a save 1min beforehand that I made it to the final!

What do you hope comes out of being a ModelOff Finalist?

A chance to meet a broad range of people from around the world from different interests. Also, the chance to share some “cool” tricks… but of course only after the final!

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