16 Meetups. 12 countries. Six continents. 2400+ participants. One community.
“I was supposed to go to a party tonight, but I’d rather be here.” That was a comment from one of more than 180 people who made it to the ModelOff Toronto Meetup recently. I guess it’s not too often that you get to go to a bar and hang out with so many great analysts, modelers and excel gurus.
How did ModelOff Meetups start?
Over lunch one day in mid-2014, the Team joked how it’d be cool to put a whole lot of financial modelers and self-confessed Excel nerds in one room. When we realized it wasn’t so crazy or impractical, and that modelers worldwide were crying out for opportunities to meet other like-minded folks, we set out to make it happen. Intralinks, S&P Capital IQ and Microsoft were quick to jump on board, and we’re very thankful they’ve taken the chance to get into the spirit of ModelOff Meetups. Four events, in Hong Kong, Sydney, London and New York were so well-received that we decided we needed to share the fun with more people. Fast-forward to 2015 and we’ve embarked on an ambitious set of 16 Meetups worldwide across six continents (no Antarctica Meetup just yet!).
The Spirit of ModelOff Meetups
ModelOff itself is more than just a financial modeling competition. It’s about celebrating the intellectual athletes proud to be great at a particular kind of analytical discipline. A group of professionals and top students hungry to learn from each other and develop their skills. Our goal was to connect a community that has always existed, but has been traditionally fragmented. Further, we wanted to broaden ModelOff from a predominantly online experience to one that existed in the real world.
Not Your Ordinary Gathering of Bankers and Analysts
We love that ModelOff can be a way for professionals to have some fun in addition to the daily grind of their work. While we’re all accustomed to going to networking events in sterile office environments, ModelOff Meetups deliberately set out to challenge this, with many of the 16 events held in bars.
Our Meetup attendees have been able to walk into a bar and see “I use Excel Recreationally” t-shirts, to play with silly putty and toy basketball hoops, to discuss ModelOff past questions and even take an #Excelfie with “Luchador Dinero” (aka Cameron) and Excel Smackdown mascots.
2015 Memories: Some Highlights
Each city on our 16 stops around the world has had its own unique personality and an event to reflect that. We’ve noticed that with a city, analytical and modeling professionals tend to be a tight-knit but passionate community. However it’s also a community that rarely gets a chance to mingle with so many like-minded people.
We were constantly thanked by people who noted they had never been to a networking event quite like a ModelOff Meetup, purely for the kind of cool, fun vibe that existed (it probably helped that most of our Meetups were at bars!).
- First Time in India
To reflect ModelOff’s boom in popularity in the subcontinent, we held two Meetups in India. High Ultra Lounge proved a stunning venue for our Bangalore Meetup (see some photos here), even if we were treated to the arrival of the annual monsoon mid-event. Perhaps unsurprisingly many of the attendees were from finance and technology backgrounds, a nod to the city’s status as a world-leading tech hub. Like the city itself, Mumbai’s Friday night drinks event was packed full of energy and enthusiasm. India’s leading finance city continues to develop rapidly and so it was awesome to see so many passionate and talented accounting, banking and finance professionals attend. We were thrilled to have India’s first ever ModelOff finalist and megastar modeler Anup Agarwal attend our Indian Meetups.
- Olá Brasil
ModelOff is yet to see a Latin American finalist, and we certainly hope this will change in 2015! São Paulo, Brazil hosted the region’s first Meetup in October at the very aptly-named Wall Street Bar. We enjoyed having caipirinhas and cocktails with some of the city’s industry-leading asset managers, investment bankers and financial engineers.
- Terrific Toronto
We had a massive turnout in Toronto for Canada’s first ever ModelOff Meetup – a Friday night drinks event. Great to be joined by Peter Suen, the World’s #1 –ranked financial modeler, plus nearly 200 financial analysts and spreadsheet enthusiasts. Attendees relished the opportunity to chat to the Excel Development Team and to play with the latest Microsoft gadgets.
- New York, New York
For the final of our 16 Meetups in 2015, we enjoyed a terrific panel discussion in New York City around How the World’s Best Analyze a Deal, featuring amongst others ModelOff’s reigning World Champion, Diarmuid Early. To quote Intralinks VP Matt Porzio, “The analytic and dealmaking prowess was palpable in the room” – certainly a great way to wrap up our global tour. It was fitting to end the tour in NYC (despite the rain and hurricane warnings – we really don’t have much luck with the weather) as the ModelOff World Finals move to London for the first time.
As we reflect on the 2015 Global Meetup Series, we look back fondly at the brilliant analytical minds we’ve met along the way. Aside from the jetlag, being able to connect with so many ModelOff competitors has been a blast! Thanks to Intralinks, S&P Capital IQ, KPMG and Microsoft for their fabulous ongoing support. We’re thrilled to have welcomed 2400+ attendees to our events worldwide, and thank each of them for getting involved with ModelOff Meetups in the right spirit.
Here’s to doing it all over again in 2016! You can already pre-register for future ModelOff Meetups now.
Related: View Photos from the 2015 Meetups