Blog

Your Moment of CTRL-Zen

There comes a time when every financial modeler must pull away from the cells, the spreadsheets, the workbooks, and regain perspective. Formulas becoming four lines long, circular references popping up, and morale falling faster than CTRL-Z can be hit.  It’s time for your moment of CTRL-Zen. Do the Walk Away When the stress hits you […]

“You must choose… but choose wisely.” The Career Path of a Financial Engineer

Between our various roles on Wall Street and even at Enstruct, we’ve seen a lot of financial engineers’ resumes, tested them, trained them, and watched careers evolve.  However, like math itself, the career path of a financial engineer can either be extremely linear or completely random.  Here are a few career paths that we’ve seen […]

Breaking Employees Down Before Bringing Them Back Up: Test Then Train

When we started developing our financial modeling testing platform, we thought the most likely customers would be companies looking to assess new hire candidates and using our subset analysis to potentially help with placement decisions.  We quickly learned that many companies wanted to use the testing service to assess existing employees and then offer Enstruct’s training […]

“Don’t You, Forget About Me”: 5 of the Most Underappreciated Excel Functions

They languish behind the unused “Fx” button on the formula bar.  When you use them for the first time you aren’t quite sure how to use them again.  However, once you really start using them you don’t understand how you did certain tasks before.  The following five functions will soon be all over your sheets: FORECAST:  no […]

Swiss Army Knife vs. The Brain

While working with many different financial institutions, we noticed an interesting trend on how banks were organized to handle their analytics.  Some would direct their resources to building a single model that all employees used for their analyses, while others pursued training their talent so they could use and adapt various models.  We call the […]

If you take shortcuts, you get cut short. — Gary Busey

Warning, this post may sound like blasphemy for seasoned financial modelers or any experienced Excel user.  Using Excel shortcuts as quickly as possible has become a sign of a skilled modeler.  It’s become so ingrained in the finance world that there are rumors of some managers taking away new analysts’ mice until they are fluent in all […]

How Many Tennis Balls Can Fit in a Room?

Assessing technical skills is not easy.  While working at an investment bank and interviewing many junior hires, I asked a colleague how he assessed their technical ability.  The response I received was, “Oh, I have a great question, I ask them how many tennis balls can fit in the room!”  Perhaps not shocking for some consulting interviews, but […]

4 Signs of an Excellent Financial Modeler

4 Signs of an Excellent Financial Modeler “On a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being the best, how do you score yourself in Excel?”  Quite possibly the most common and sadly the least insightful technical question an interviewer can ask a job candidate.   Sweating candidates think to themselves, what does an 8 really mean? […]