In only its second year, the Golden Keyboard is already an icon of the ModelOff Finals. Each year, the new Financial Modeling World Champion is presented with the Golden Keyboard, designed by Altrum Honors to celebrate their ascent into modelling greatness.
The Golden Keyboard debuted in 2014 when the ModelOff team decided the flagship trophy needed to be special and unique to this, dare we say it, pretty unique competition. Just as Ice Hockey has the Stanley Cup, Cricket has an urn for The Ashes, Le Tour de France has a yellow jersey and US Masters Golf has its Green Jacket, now the competitive sport of financial modeling has its own special trophy.
In creating the trophy, the ModelOff Team wanted to build something all modelers could relate to. It struck us that every member of the ModelOff community would be all too familiar with the keyboard, the essential tool to navigate the Microsoft Excel minefield.
But this was no ordinary keyboard. What became pretty obvious at the first ModelOff Finals in New York in 2012 was that the majority of finalists had intentionally removed their F1 key. When asked why, they explained it was because the F1 (Help) key was directly between two of their most popular keys, the Escape and F2 keys, and that they would get frustrated when it was pressed accidentally. In a cut-throat competition like ModelOff where speed was paramount, there was no margin for error. It bemused and astounded even the most seasoned Excel professionals, such as ModelOff Judge Bill Jelen, himself ‘Mr Excel’. And so it was from then on, that the legend of the F1-less keyboard was born.
The Golden Keyboard trophy is depicted with no F1 key, because the rationale is that the ModelOff Champion doesn’t really need its help! More than that though, as Matt Porzio from Intralinks explains, “this award is very meaningful … it shows that the recipient has the dedication, focus and ability to beat a room of champions at one of the hardest things to do, financial modeling”.
Sponsored by Intralinks (whose core team history should remember as part of the brainstorming!), the Golden Keyboard was won in 2015 by Joseph Lau (Australia). The inaugural winner was 2014 World Champion Diarmuid Early (Ireland). They join Alex Gordon (2012, New Zealand) and Hilary Smart (2013, UK) as the four Financial Modeling World Champions.