Choosing the Best Financial Modeling Equipment Setup
With Financial Modeling World Cup right around the corner, this is the right time to check your financial modeling equipment setup and upgrade if necessary. Simple calculations show that if the right equipment can save you just 5% of the total competition time, this transforms to as much as 6 minutes per 2-hour round. This could make a difference between reaching the podium or not.
In our opinion, these are the items that can boost your performance both in competition modeling and, what’s more important, in real-life work!
2 years ago we switched to an ergonomic Microsoft Edge 4000 keyboard. We made a thorough review of different options available on the market. We reviewed several gaming keyboards. They all look very impressive and would probably make some psychological impact on the competitors if they saw it. However, after giving it a deeper thought, we understood that these keyboards are more suited for gaming rather than for financial modeling. You don’t need fancy lights, you don’t need an emphasis on AWSD keys, you need some more functional keys to make the best use of shortcuts. Therefore we decided to go for the business keyboard and our choice was MS Edge 4000.
The first 2 months were a total disaster. We’d never had a keyboard with split keys before. Productivity fell by as much as 25%. The most frequently used button on this keyboard was the Backspace . But then a miracle happened.
All of a sudden, fingers got used to MS Edge 4000 and the typing speed just skyrocketed. We estimate some 5%-10% typing speed increase compared to before switching the keyboards. And yes, we suggest removing the F1 key – see the photo
We’d never thought that a good mouse could make such a huge impact. Again, after a thorough review, we made a choice for Logitech MX Master. It was quite strange to buy a mouse that is substantially more expensive than the upmarket keyboard, but it is worth every penny.
When modeling (or just working) at a high speed, it is important to spend as little time for your right hand in transition between the keyboard and the mouse. While the majority of these transitions in Excel could be (and should be!) avoided with the right use of keyboard shortcuts, still you have to switch once in a while.
Logitech MX Master is larger than most of the cheaper mouse. To grasp its size, we have placed it on the picture next to a Texas Instruments BA II Plus calculator.
It fills the whole area below the palm, so your hand rests firmly on top of the mouse. There is no stress inside the hand. The mouse is very ergonomic as well. As a result, as soon as your hand drops on top of the mouse, your fingers are ready to move it and press the buttons immediately.
However, the main part of the magic by MX Master is its scrolling wheel. Scroll it once, and it keeps scrolling for some 15-20 seconds! With one scroll you can get from row 1 to row 15000+ in Excel! You can scroll up to 1000 rows under a second. It is very very convenient to navigate large datasets and large vertical models. This saves you A LOT of time and effort.
Sometimes reading from paper rather than the screen is more productive, so when it comes to Financial Modeling World Cup cases or translating any other written instructions to financial models, we’d suggest having these instructions printed. And it is such a great feeling when you strikethrough a section that has just been completed! So, having a printer attached to your laptop is important.
Speed is important, as you don’t want to spend valuable time waiting for the printer to complete its print job. Ideally, you connect it through wi-fi so that you minimize the number of cords on your table. We at the office use a Samsung C410 and it suits us well; however, this is probably the first thing that deserves an upgrade on this list.
There is another argument towards printing the instructions when you do competition modeling. Sometimes you need to take a restroom break during an online round. Then you can still continue reading the instructions and plan your model during the break and not lose time.
A large monitor seems to be a must for efficient financial modeling. 24’’-27’’ are probably the most comfortable sizes. Pretty much anything above 27 inches is too large for viewing up close, especially if you are working with small numbers and cells in Excel. One of the options we use is a 24’’ Dell monitor, and it works great!
What equipment do you use? Please, share your experience in the comments! We would appreciate your tips and ideas on an even better equipment setup.