Bonus Insider Perspective: Pavani Donepudi

We received this write up from competitor Pavani Donepudi on her experience with Round 1 and had to share it.  Good luck in Round 2, Pavani!

Just 3 days before Round 1 ModelOff2013 competition, I came across the website. My initial thought after browsing through the website was that this competition is for Finance Geeks. This is not my cup of tea……I have never built any Finance models (I don’t even know what they are) though I do work a lot on Excel.

But somewhere at the back of my mind, my curiosity towards this competition increased (well afterall, who wouldn’t be when the prize money was so hefty). So again just 2 days before the start of the competition, I was going through the questions from ModelOff2012. Then I realized that this competition indirectly asks three questions to the contestants –

a)    Are you good at Finance concepts?

b)    Are you good at Excel?

If you think that you can answer yes for both, then the third question is –

c)    How quickly and efficiently can you use Excel to solve Finance problems under pressure when the clock is ticking?

Most of us can answer yes for the first 2 questions, but when it comes to the third question, you can comfortably say “NO”, but to answer “YES”, try attempting one question and you will know where you stand. J

So, to answer the third question myself, I picked up the “All In” – A Poker Excel Challenge from ModelOff2012 sample for which the suggested time is 75 Mins. I started working on it at around 11:30 PM and finally I completed (though partially) it by 3:00 AM. At that time, I decided to challenge myself to see where I stand and that is when I registered for ModelOff 2013. (BTW, I preregistered for ModelOff 2014 as well J )

On the day of the compeition, the internet connection was dead at home (This was the first time it happened after many many years). And I ended up going to my work place 2 hours before the start just so I give enough time to settle myself down. Finally Round 1 competition started. I am sure ALL the contestants who attempted Round 1 would have questioned  themselves “Where did the 2 hours time go?” Time flew by extremely fast. By the end of Round 1, I was huffing and puffing but at the same time, I was proud of myself that I attempted Round 1 of Model Off 2013 Finance Modeling World Championship.

I felt it would be over confident to think that I will get to Round 2. But a selfish part of me was waiting anxiously for Round 1 results on Tuesday (Oct 29th) and ended up checking my mailbox couple of times but there was no message from ModelOff……..Well, by now, you can guess the result. J (Thumbs down).

Once I saw the note from ModelOff stating that everybody should receive a mail, I checked my mail box again on Thursday (Oct 31st) but still no message…….Ah well…. Never mind…….Oh wait a minute, let me check my Spam folder……..and that is when I read the Email anxiously……and YES…….I made it to Round 2. (I guess, there was a bit of luck factor that contributed to my Round 1 results – my 6 yr old gifted me a pen and wished me “ALL THE BEST” for the competition without him knowing anything about this competition).

Overall, I can definitely say that this whole journey so far is a very good learning experience. All I can say for those that didn’t make it to Round 2, feel proud of yourselves that you have attempted Round 1 and think what you have learnt newly (which otherwise would have been ignorant off). And I also wish all the Round 2 contestants good luck.

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