10 Questions with Jon Zelman (November 2020)

1. What do you do at The Marquee Group?

I run the Consulting practice at Marquee. I also get involved in other facets of the business including content development for courses, teaching (especially in the new hire capital markets programs), and other strategic initiatives.

2. How long have you been at Marquee?

I was very excited to be the third person other than Ian to get their name on the Marquee 10 Year Trophy back in late 2018. People can do the math with a spreadsheet or otherwise.

3. And how long have you been leading the Consulting practice?

Since the beginning! We first started to do the occasional consulting mandate when asked and when we had time. By 2016, we were getting so many requests (largely from our training business) that we formalized the practice and started to build a team to scope and develop tools for clients.

4. You must have built lots of models in that time period. Has any one model stood out as being the most complex or most fun to build?

Our team has built a number of really dynamic and user-friendly models for banks, private equity firms, and large and medium-sized corporates. But the model that I’m probably the most excited about is the one that we’re building now which we plan to make available as Marquee’s own financial planning & analysis tool. This tool will be a best-in-class budgeting and forecasting model that will feel like customized enterprise software, at a fraction of the price and built 100% in Excel.

5. Where did you work before you joined Marquee?

After a stint as a telemarketer for air duct cleaning (true story), and after not realizing my dream to become a professional baseball player or a professional musician, I dove headfirst into investment banking and spent about 12 years with BMO and Citigroup. Most of my work was focused on advising media and telecom companies on their financing and M&A initiatives.

6. What is your favourite snack to munch on while modeling?

It used to be popcorn (to be specific SkinnyPop Salt & Pepper) but I found myself missing the target quite a bit which left a mess under my desk chair on the floor. My most recent go-to snack is Hippie Snacks Almond Crisps — really tasty and less clean-up.

7. What is your favourite keyboard shortcut?

I don’t use my keyboard, I use osmosis. But when I do have to use the keyboard, Ctrl + Enter to fill in what you’re doing in all the selected cells is a gamechanger.

8. We hear that you have a crazy cat. Can you tell us more about him?

Yes, Cosmo is a three year-old Siberian male and has a very special personality. If you know of his namesake from a popular sitcom, you get a pretty good idea as to how nuts he is. He loves when we carry him outside or take him for a walk (yes, we take our cat for a walk with a leash). He’ll even jump up into my arms when he thinks it’s time. But if he thinks he’s going out but is mistaken, he gets really upset and starts chasing me around the house. It’s not him having fun, he’s actually really upset. Here’s a quick cat hack: if a cat is ever aggressively chasing after you, grab a spray bottle of water and let them have it. Cats hate water. 

9. If you weren’t at Marquee, what do you think you would be doing?

Sleeping. And walking Cosmo more.

10. L-shaped Enter key or straight Enter key?

I don’t like anything L-shaped. No offense to any loungers, Allen keys, or the state of Florida. Well, that’s not exactly true. I do like hockey sticks and golf clubs.