Hosting an Excel E-Sports Battle
Yesterday, I got the chance to co-host one of the Excel E-Sports Battles for the first time - and yes, that's a thing by the way, just in case you didn't know!
I've watched this competition and the Financial Modeling World Cup go from strength to strength over the last few years, picking up where ModelOff left off and then seriously ramping things up. For a while, something held me back from these competitions (including ModelOff). I wasn't sure I wanted to "compete" with other modellers, and I feared I'd achieve the same points total the United Kingdom can typically expect to receive at the Eurovision Song Contest. I also wanted to focus on the community I was building at Full Stack Modeller…. So, there are some of the BEST excuses I've been holding onto for the last few years!
This all changed recently. Some of our FSM members took part in a live Excel battle at the 2022 Financial Modelling Summit, and I was almost embarrassed by how excited I got, sitting at home watching four people I knew trying to solve some logical challenges on a screen (my neighbours probably thought I was watching football).
I've spent a lot of time this year catching up on past battle recordings on YouTube, and I pick up a handful of new skills from every single viewing. It still blows my mind how different people approach the same challenge in Excel. Diarmuid Early, the "LeBron James" of Excel (sorry Diarmuid😉) joined the Full Stack community recently to share some of his top tips and tricks from his experiences in Excel Battles. I learned 5 new things within the first three minutes of his talk! That's no exaggeration - I've watched the recording three times since and I'm still unpicking some of the clever things he does at lightning speed. As an aside, Diarmuid regularly posts his solutions to Excel Battles on his YouTube channel, which I recommend you sign up to immediately.
Then I got the invite to co-host alongside another battle-hardened Excel E-Sport pro - Jason Webber. It took me all of about 30 seconds to reply with a "YES" - even if I felt like a bit of a fraud having not competed myself to date.
Jason and I spent a lot of time planning our approach to hosting the event, but we also knew that we'd have to trust each other to talk about whatever happened on screen during the battle, and to lean on our modelling experience as much as possible. I don't know how it was received by those watching, but we had a blast hosting it! The battle was great, the challenge itself taught me a bunch of new skills (I had a practice run in the days leading up to the live battle), and I even managed to leverage Power Query to solve some of the challenges that involved text. I also promised Jason, and anyone else watching, that I would compete in the next battle round. I know I'll muck it up - I think everyone does when they first try these challenges - but I have Diarmuid's words ringing in my ear:
"Just compete - it's the best way to learn. Don't wait. Don't give yourself more time to practice. Competing is the best form of practice."
So, I'll be giving round 6 a shot, and I hope many of you reading this will join me!
Thank you Andrew, and the whole FMWC team, for inviting me to host this battle, and for creating such a well-run competition. You'll see a bunch of Full Stack members competing very soon. We're going to build our own FSM team, and we're going to take our battle training very seriously!
I also have some pretty exciting news to share in the coming weeks; news that involves Full Stack Modeller, the FMWC and Excel E-Sports, and a few other serious players in the modelling industry.
If you're ready to transform your modelling skill set, keep an eye out for my next big announcement… it's going to be pretty spectacular!