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.
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.”
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?