International modelling win for Taylor Fry Director
Fun is not generally an experience most people associate with maths and spreadsheets, but for Andrew Ngai, who has won the 2021 Financial Modeling World Cup (FMWC) Open tournament, it’s the perfect word.
The international competition is a fierce knock-out event, gathering 128 of the sharpest quantitative minds from around the world in seven 30-minute rounds of Excel problem solving over the course of a week. In the final, Andrew, a Director at Taylor Fry, won against Canadian Michael Jarman to take home $3000 in prize earnings.
“For me, it’s a lot of fun solving the problems, and I’m glad it was entertaining for our audience as well,” says Andrew. “The organisers put in a lot of effort to create fun and interesting cases, such as building a model to play classic games like dominos, snake or battleships. It’s also in Excel, which suits me well because I use Excel all the time at work and even just generally in my life.”
As for preparation or nerves, these don’t factor in too heavily for Andrew, despite the high-pressure stakes. “My day-to-day actuarial job is a good training ground and gives me most of the practice I need,” he says. The trickiest part is waking up in time for a fresh 4am start. “It’s hard to find a timeslot that works well for all participants and viewers across the globe, and this time it meant an early morning start for me – and we were livestreamed on YouTube and ESPN, so no pyjamas either.”
Andrew also took part in the FMWC regular competition, which focused on financial modelling, again in Excel. Attending the 12 two-hour sessions it involved over the year, Andrew placed third on the global leader board in the final world rankings for 2021.
While these types of competitions have been a perfect blend of Andrew’s skillset and having fun, he has also appreciated the chance to meet like-minded people from all over the world. “It’s a pretty niche area,” Andrew says. “So it’s also been great to meet people over the years who share such a specialised interest.”
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