10 Questions with Lydia Jay (October 2019)

1. What do you do at The Marquee Group?

I am the Director of Finance at The Marquee Group. I oversee the finance function which includes annual planning and forecasting, monthly financial statements and metrics reporting, and assessing related processes and tools.

2. How long have you been at Marquee?

I have been at Marquee for just under six wonderful months!

3. You were very excited to answer that last question. What do you like most about your job?

Coming from a financial planning and analysis background at fast growing companies, I really believe in Marquee’s mission to teach professionals and students critical modeling skills and to provide consulting services to companies on optimal model design. It excites me that where I work I help support the business so that others will be able to learn from the instructors how to plan and design their models. Knowing how to best set up a model is baseline expertise for anyone if they want to perform smart, thoughtful financial analysis. I also love that this organization values spreadsheets!! As a finance person, it’s all about the spreadsheets. These people speak my language!  

4. Why did you choose finance as a career?

I have loved math since I was young and because of that I took accounting in high school. It was the simple concept of balancing debits and credits that resonated with me and steered me toward business administration studies. I am a logical person who is inquisitive and loves analyzing. HR was never going to be my career! I respect the role of the finance organization in a company; it develops the monetary plans and tracks performance, and has checks and balances on the distribution of resources so that strategy achievement is possible especially as internal and external forces change.

5. Although, for a “stereotypical numbers person” you are very extroverted and people-oriented. Do you think it’s important that finance people are good communicators?

Absolutely. You can run the numbers and analysis but if you can’t convey it intelligently it doesn’t matter. You can’t just put a massive model in front of executives or peers. You need to guide them through the story. I’m really happy that Marquee thinks that the storytelling aspect is important and I’m excited that we are starting to offer a wider variety of courses like Power BI and PowerPoint. Numbers can speak for themselves but you can always frame and communicate things in a positive or negative light which helps control the dialogue around a decision or how it will be perceived by others.

6. What is your favourite snack to munch on while building a model ?

I guess I would have to say gummy bears. But specifically the red ones! They are sooooo yummy and fuel formula building.

7. What is your favourite keyboard shortcut or modeling tip?

Put all of your assumptions in one area! Then the assumptions page is a control panel and when you view that against another page of key outputs, you can change the dials and pull the levers and see how things change relative to various assumption changes.

8. As a side note, a few of us have noticed that you have great style at the office. Can we assume that you like fashion?

That’s very nice of those people to say. Your assumption is correct! I love that clothes – and it doesn’t need to be wild stuff – allows people to express themselves and I appreciate well thought out design, style, and composition whether that is in fashion, or things like art, architecture, industrial design. I also love photography and painting, other ways for people to share their thoughts, feelings, or memories.

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

I’m going to assume you mean if I hadn’t gone down the career path I’m in… I would have loved to be a designer. This probably isn’t a surprise given the last answer!  Over the last number of years I realized I am quite creative and I surprisingly developed the ability to design and sew evening and cocktail dresses without patterns but from simply choosing material and then cutting my design on the dress form. It’s a lot of fun for me as a hobby and sometimes I wonder what my path would have been if I had found my creative side well before university, but then I remember just how much I love numbers!! Haha.

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

Straight! Absolutely not L-shaped…I feel like that’s something from decades ago!  I’m going to have to Google why there even was an L-shape design offered! See how inquisitive and analytical I am?!