10 Questions with Shirley Xie (August 2019)

1. What do you do at The Marquee Group?

I am a Summer Analyst and like to think I am a “yes woman” to helping out everybody at Marquee. I assist the Consulting team with building models, mark AFM exams for the Financial Modeling Institute (FMI), and support summer bank training programs amongst other things.

2. How long have you been at Marquee?

I have been with Marquee for almost four months. The summer went by quickly – I blinked and it was August! In September, I will be entering my fourth year of the Commerce Program at the University of Toronto at Mississauga (UTM).

3. What have you liked the most about working here for the summer?

The amazing people. The instructors are great at what they do and are incredibly passionate about teaching others. If I ever have questions, there is always someone nearby to explain a concept. Everyone here cares about my development and will take the time to ensure that I am constantly challenged and learning.

4. You are originally from Alberta. Can you believe that you spent an entire summer with Marquee in Toronto?

Growing up in Drayton Valley (a small town in Alberta), I would have never fathomed living life in the big city, let alone working for a Growth 500 company. My parents worked extremely hard to provide for 5 children. I started helping out at my parents’ restaurant at the age of 7 and learned the importance of a strong work ethic and communication skills. After moving to Edmonton for my final year of high school, I then headed east for university in Toronto, Canada’s financial capital. I am very grateful for the opportunity to be working at Marquee.

5. Glad to hear Toronto is treating you well. Your restaurant standards must be high though. Do you have a favourite spot which has exceeded your expectations?

One word: Pai. I’ve never been to Thailand but I imagine that Thai food is colourful, flavourful, and bold. Pai is all of those things to me!

6.We must take a moment to congratulate you on your recent Advanced Financial Modeler (AFM) achievement. Well done! What’s next? 

Thank you, I spent hours preparing for the exam! I would like to give a shoutout to Brendan Stephenson for his patience and Phil Watanabe for always making himself available to answer my questions (even on the weekends when I was cramming!). Up next is Level 1 of the CFA Program in December.

7. Since you can now call yourself an AFM, expert modelers are known for particular snack foods that keep them going for long stretches in Excel. What is your favourite snack to munch on while building a model ?

If you pass my desk, there is always a purple pouch of Cadbury Mini Eggs sitting in the corner. They are chocolatey and have the right balance of sweetness and crunch. I am so glad they are available year-round. Delicious!

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

In life, you must always know where you come from, and models are no exception – knowing your reference point is key! Ctrl + [ is a favourite of mine to jump to precedent cells (Dave Thomas taught me this shortcut when I took my first Marquee course at UTM).

9. Now that you have spent a full summer with us, what are your future plans? 

I want to be a superhero and fight financial modeling crime – never hardcode! Well, a girl can dream… but I will definitely continue to uphold Marquee’s six principles of a good model (dynamic, flexible, intuitive, transparent, printable, transferable) in every model I build going forward. But in all seriousness, after school I would like to keep growing my skills in finance and learn more about the capital markets industry. I am particularly curious about capital markets rotational programs because of the exposure to different areas and the opportunity to meet lots of new people.

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

Straight. No one’s pinkies are L-shaped. Who came up with that anyway?