Hilary Smart, the only female finalist in a line up of 16 of the world’s best Financial Modelers, beat the 2012 winner to take out the 2013 Championship last weekend in the ModelOff Live Final held in New York.
Hilary Smart, a 26-year-old Senior Consultant with Operis in London, entered the competition because she enjoys solving puzzles. ‘I thought that if there was a competition that I had even half a chance of placing well in globally then this would be it!’ While she doesn’t use many of the theory skills gained from her mathematics degree from Cambridge, Hilary says it trained her well to hold structures in her head and think logically through algorithms.
When asked why she is so good with excel, Hilary pointed to her experience with Operis, one of the largest financial modeling teams focused on the finance industry. ‘For model audit of bid stage or financial close models we get involved right at the end of the process so we have to be able to work to very tight deadlines to turn things around and speed and accuracy are really important.’ Hilary plans to use part of the $30,000 prize money for a second honeymoon with her husband in the Austrian mountains.
The 16 finalists of ModelOff, the world’s largest financial modeling competition – were flown into New York for a weekend of networking with some of the top names in the industry. Many attended a Finance Innovation Evening at Star Mountain Capital with presentations from John Tjia of EY, Ed Ascoli of AMT Training and ModelOff judges Simon Benninga and Bill Jelen aka “Mr Excel”.
All the Finalists met Saturday morning for a tour of Bloomberg and a session with the Microsoft Excel Development team. Finalists received a complimentary copy of Office 360 and retired early after a dinner with major sponsors S&P Capital IQ, Bloomberg, Microsoft, Ansarada, AMT Training and Kaplan.
The 4 hours of Finals Testing were conducted onsite at Bloomberg Offices from 9am Sunday morning where the finalists were put though their paces with a variety of Excel Corporate Finance style modeling questions.
The Live Finals event at Microsoft was attended by over 200 finance professionals and included a keynote speech from Josh Rosenbaum, author of Investment Banking. The Finalists worked together in geographical teams, to complete four rounds of Group Challenges in front of the audience. Attendees gathered around computers and screens displaying the challenges and followed the action through commentary by Bill Jelen (aka Mr Excel). The Australian and New Zealand team took out the group challenge prize.
The 2013 ModelOff Financial Modeling World Championships saw over 3,000 financial modelers from over 100 countries compete in two online rounds with the best 16 flown to New York for the Finals. Registrations for ModelOff 2014 are already open at www.modeloff.com.