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FinMo – Corporate Finance Institute’s (CFI) Competition – My Experience

By Andrew Grigolyunovich, CFA, CFM, FMVA

 

If you are interested in my last year’s experience with FinMo, you can read about it here:

My FinMo 2019 – How Didn’t I Make It To The Top 20 at This Year’s FinMo (Financial Modeling Case Competition).

My FinMo 2020

After my team launched the Financial Modeling World Cup and after ModelOff retired their competition, it turned out that FinMo is the only remaining financial modeling competition that I can take part in. I’ve had great results at ModelOff, qualifying twice for the finals and finishing 5th in the New York finals in 2017, so I definitely wanted to keep doing the competitive financial modeling.

However, I have confirmed it to myself again that the FinMo format is very time-consuming. It just takes too much time to complete and there is no advantage for financial modeling speed. I think the organizers mentioned 16 hours to complete the submission, but it definitely took me much more to complete the submission that I liked myself.

 

So here’s how it went for me at this year’s FinMo.

The idea behind the competition is simple. On a Saturday day, all the participants received case materials. We all had to advise an established company (this year it was Coca-Cola) on an acquisition of a fictional target company by creating a financial model for the M&A deal, a PowerPoint pitch and a video presentation of the key recommendations. The deadline was given after 9 days, on Monday, October 26. Now the submissions of all the participants are being evaluated by a panel of judges and hopefully the winners will be selected soon enough.

Autumn is the busiest time of the year for me and for my businesses at AG Capital and CFOTemplates.com. Just like last year, I had to squeeze the competition between my client projects. Anyway, I’ve managed to create the major parts of the financial model over the first couple of days. Then I had to switch over to client projects before completing the submission over the next Sunday and Monday. I’ve spent a hell lot of time creating the charts and slides for the presentation. And, of course, the 5-minute video never takes 5 minutes but rather something closer to 5 hours. My wife was not really happy seeing me working 7-to-11 both Sunday and Monday.

Let’s see how tough the competition from other participants will be this year. Last year I was expecting a less intensive pressure from the professionals, as the submissions are very time consuming to prepare. When you have your daily job, wife, kids, etc., finding the 16 hours could be tough. And I got an impression that getting it to the top probably requires more hours to prepare the materials. As opposed to ModelOff and Financial Modeling World Cup, where experience matters a lot, FinMo requires both experience and availability of some free time to spend on the preparation of the materials. My expectation is that this year’s competition will be more intense than previously. I expect that more experienced people who are looking for work will join FinMo in order to raise their chances to get hired.

Did I Follow My Own Recommendations from the Last Year?

While writing this blog post I have also reviewed my article about FinMo that I wrote last year. Here is what I wrote a year ago:

 

“Here are my key takeaways from this year’s FinMo competition. I plan to take part in FinMo in the future years as well, so I write these takeaways for myself reading them next year. Anyway, I have no problem to share these tips with all my readers.

So, next year I…”

 

So, let’s see how successful I was to follow my own recommendations?

  1. Will prepare for the topic early on. It seems that every year they specialize on another topic, so I will be waiting for my best chances when a case on corporate FP&A is chosen.
    • N/a. The case was very similar to the last year. No additional preparation was needed.
  2. Will review FMVA program materials on the topic a couple of days BEFORE the competition starts, not during the competition to save time. FMVA materials actually helped a lot, especially as my main experience was with other segments of financial modelling.
    • Check. I have received my FMVA charter earlier this year.
  3. Will plan my preparation for ModelOff in such a way that it does not interfere with the week of FinMo.
    • Check. But not the way that I wanted it.
  4. Will try to free my schedule for the week of FinMo. Will postpone or delegate client projects as much as possible.
    • Cross. Had to share preparation time with a large modeling project for a UK-based holding.
  5. If I see that I can’t realistically free time for the week, I will skip the competition, instead of trying to make a sub-standard submission within a limited time.
    • N/a. I have completed the case despite being very close to quitting several times during the week.

 

After the results are announced, I will share my submission – the financial model, the pitch deck and the video. So, if you are interested in financial modeling – follow me on LinkedIn or send me an invitation to connect! I keep posting relevant materials on financial modeling.

 

Please, share your experience in the comments! It would be very interesting to know how did the others do this year?

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