Life In The FAST Lane: Financial Modelling Competition Winners

James Wambua a 4th year Business and Finance student at University of Nairobi was walking on campus grounds heading to his dorms when a friend asked to borrow his laptop and for help carrying speakers. He helped carry the sound equipment to the meeting room, set up and then decided to sit in and find …

James Wambua a 4th year Business and Finance student at University of Nairobi was walking on campus grounds heading to his dorms when a friend asked to borrow his laptop and for help carrying speakers. He helped carry the sound equipment to the meeting room, set up and then decided to sit in and find out what the session was all about. It turned out to be a financial modelling training session that changed his life.

James Wambua

“The trainer gave us a case to model and all of us tried to solve it using various methods. At the end of it, he introduced a variable which threw a spanner in the works. Suddenly, everyone was struggling with adjusting the outcome. And then he introduced the FAST Standard, and we were amazed that it did away with the margin of error” James recalled.

Kevin Mbugua fondly remembers the session that he terms as “the most productive training session he attended in his 4 years as a student at Nairobi University campus.” Kevin, a Finance and Accounting student, had received a Whatsapp message inviting him for the training. InVhestia had put out a call for students from various university campuses to participate in a financial modelling competition. The top prize was an internship as well as sponsorship for the FAST Certification exam. “The prize was a motivator but I was more interested in learning. I was looking for a challenge, to see what other opportunities there were outside of Accounting based on my area of study. I figured this would be an avenue to explore what was out there,” Kevin says.

Kevin Mbugua

After the training session, the students then spent some time going through the InVhestia’s free online training material to prepare for the financial modelling competition and tried their best to come up with a solution to the case given to them. On submission, they both remember being unsure about their results. However, a few weeks later they came to an InVhestia cocktail with other students from Strathmore University, their only information, they were shortlisted as the top performers in the competition. It is then they learnt that they had come in first and second position. Kevin, who led the students at the top, was surprised and elated. His first call was to his mother who he says was over the moon.

Both Kevin and James joined the InVhestia team and have enjoyed learning more as regards the financial industry. They have both recently passed their FAST Certification examination and are better modellers for it. “I think every student should take hold of opportunities like these,” says James. Even though he stumbled into it, he’s glad he did.  James hopes to pursue a Masters in Strategic Management in the near future. Kevin’s advice to students is to look out for training opportunities that will give them more than a certificate of attendance. He has aspirations of being a business owner and believes all he has learnt only serves to make him more successful.

InVhestia will be running the 2nd edition of the FAST financial modelling inter-university competition in October 2017.