December 24

ModelOff 2014, The Finalists, The Real World


ModelOff 2014 came to a close on the evening of Sunday 7DEC, and Diarmuid Early was named champion. Much congrats to Diarmuid and the other winners

2nd – Alvin Woon
3rd – Michael Clarke
3rd – Peter Suen

Congrats to the rest of the finalists for being in the top 16 of nearly 4000 entrants.

Anup Agarwal
Charlie Williams
Christo Kritzinger
Dmitry Kaysin
Hilary Smart
Joseph Lau
Levi Bailey
Linus Lund
Nick Sanford
Owen Auger
Willem Gerritsen
Yuan Li

There’s already lots of news and video highlighting the ModelOff weekend so, I’ll share some insights that aren’t so obvious. However, as I worked on this blogpost one theme kept coming up: Real World.

Real world experience, real word introduced to the questions, and real world interruptions.

Who Are The ModelOff Finalists, Really?

Of the 16 finalists just 2 are self-employed:

  • Anup Agarwal, India
  • Willem Gerritsen, Netherlands

What they have in common with the rest of the contestants is broad experience in how they’ve used Excel. Pure financial modelling is only the beginning.

The real world throws bizarre stuff at you and requires a broad range of skills. The questions in ModelOff were designed to bring those real-world complications. In Round 2, contestants were asked to choose the best electricity contract. Easy enough. However, the source data was combined in a single cell. So, answering the question required skill in data-parsing.

The 16 finalists had backgrounds that exposed them to all manner of wild and crazy possibilities in dealing with data, not just a single specialty working data that’s already clean.

The ModelOff Superstar Index (MSI)

Prior to the competition, the finalists were awarded a Superstar Index. How accurate were they? Based on the table below, there were no shockers. Of the 3 highest MSIs 2 finished in 1st and 2nd places.

(If you aren’t familiar with Excel Slicers or Excel Web App, the tables below are embedded into the web page via Excel Web App, and the slicers are the buttons you can click to filter the data)


What Did They Study In College?

Use the slicer buttons to see which of the 5 ModelOff finalists studied Engineering and which 8 studied Math. Also notice that the champion, Diarmuid Early, studied Physics, Computer Science AND Math. OMG!

Luck & Real World Disruptions

“Anyone who tells you they win this thing without getting really lucky on the day is lying.”
-Diarmuid Early

After being around the finalists and reading their profiles, Diarmuid’s statement is true. So many of the finalists mentioned some sort of calamity during rounds 1 and 2, but they pushed through even though they suspected there was no chance for them to make it through the round.

Here are some of the things that the finalists mentioned as disruptions they faced during the timed online ModelOff rounds:

  • A house full of noisy kids.
  • A storm was a constant threat to knock out power, crash the computer and truly end the competitor’s chances to get through.
  • Being completely stuck on on question, burn a lot of time, and then the next question was something the competitor has to do every day and is simple routine.
  • A “computer mishap.”
  • A frozen browser.

It was inspiring to find out about these breakdowns and distractions because these 16 people started as part of a group of nearly 4000 contenders. The finalists have the skill, but they pressed on in spite of doubt that external forces were going to neutralize years of experience and proven skill.

“Ain’t it fun living in the real world?




Oz Du Soleil
Latest posts by Oz Du Soleil (see all)


2014 ModelOff, Alvin Woon, Anup Agarwal, Charlie Williams, Christo Kritzinger, Diarmuid Early, Dmitry Kaysin, Hilary Smart, Joseph Lau, Levi Bailey, Linus Lund, Michael Clarke, Modeloff, Nick Sanford, Owen Auger, Peter Suen, Willem Gerritsen, Yuan Li

You may also like

April 9, 2011

How to Create a Rollover Effect in Excel: Execute a Macro When Your Mouse is over a Cell

October 26, 2014

Monte Carlo Simulation Formula in Excel – Tutorial and Download

September 17, 2012

The Excel Rollover Mini FAQ
{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

Free 24 Excel Tips Guide

Discover the secrets to Excel efficiency with our free guide: '24 Proven Microsoft Excel Tips to Help You Save Time'

A humble gift from us to you, to make your Excel journey smoother and more productive. Grab your copy now and start mastering Excel like never before!