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

One of my old workmates from BCG sent me the link and said I might be interested.

I’ve met dozens of people over the years who were the Excel ‘expert’ in their team or office, and they’ve been everything from world-class experts to the only person in the team who knows how to do conditional formatting. I knew I was better at Excel than most people I had worked with, but this was the only way to find out if I was really good, or just a big fish in a small pond.

How did you get so good at Excel? Tell us a bit about your modeling training.

I didn’t have much formal training. Everything I learned about Excel after the very basics was by googling something I wanted to be able to do. I always assumed there would be a ‘smart’ way to do something, and that usually turned out to be true. It meant that everything took me more time than anyone else the first time I did it, but much less time after that.

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

I opted for a cheeky early finish in round 1 (about 10-11 mins before time). I knew that it had gone well, but that I could have spent more time checking, especially on the free text answers – but I figured that if I could get a perfect score and finish early, it would be legendary, so I opted to ‘go big or go home’. Unfortunately, I made several basic ‘exam technique’ errors in hurrying to finish (didn’t finish reading the question, etc), so the bet didn’t pay off. After that, I used every spare minute I had in round 2 to go back and do more checks!

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

Cut your hair.

From where does your passion for financial modelling come?

My great grandmother. These things usually skip a few generations.

Tell us a bit about your life away from work.

My son, who just started walking, takes up most of my free time.

What do your friends/family think about you being involved in the ModelOff competition?

My wife is a consultant and we met many of our friends at debating competitions, so it’s really just another flavor of nerd.

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

Whatever I was hoping for in the last three years, if I haven’t got it by now, I probably never will…

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