The e-sport arena has a new unlikely contender. It's Microsoft Excel. For the first time ever, Microsoft Excel, the software used for crunching numbers around the globe, is being considered an e-sport and Microsoft is even orgainising a Microsoft Excel Financial Modeling World Cup. The global competition is currently underway, starting June 8, featuring 8 participating countries: India, Malaysia, Canada, Poland, Australia, South Africa, the USA and the UK. 8 champions are representing the 8 countries in the Multiplayer Battle Tournament, called '888 Battle', which is being streamed live on the official YouTube channel of the Financial Modeling World Cup .
"We are back with another live financial modeling battle! This time, 8 top modelers from 8 different countries will be competing against each other. You have the opportunity to sit in the front-row seat and watch how they build the models that have earned them the top-ranking positions. After the battle, we will make sure to share the financial models with the viewers. Use this opportunity to learn some tricks used by some of the greatest minds in financial modeling," said Microsoft in a statement.
While financial modeling competitions have been held before, it is the first time that the competition is being labeled as an 'e-sport'. A financial model is essentially a strategic tool created using Microsoft Excel or other spreadsheet softwares where data is arranged in a manner that is used later on to predict the financial performance of a business. Creation of the model requires in-depth understanding of the software that is being used, in this case, Microsoft Excel.
"The competition consists of case studies consisting of a range of real-life problem-solving questions solvable through the use of Financial Modeling. Each stage will normally include 2 to 5 cases, with the possibility of additional cases or alternative relevant activities," says the Financial Modeling World Cup Website.
In the competition, the participants are given 40 minutes to create a Microsoft Excel model to solve a given financial problem. Then follows the judges' question-answer session. While a prize of USD 20,000 is being split into various categories, the final winner will receive USD 5000 as the champion.
Registration for this year's Financial Modeling is closed and the competition is already underway. However, the competition is open for everyone and anyone in the world can register and participate in the next iteration of the event.