Excel on Rocky Top is a Microsoft Excel-based eSports competition in partnership with the Microsoft Excel Collegiate Challenge. The event is hosted by the Haslam College of Business at the University of Tennessee.

Competitors will work Excel cases involving logic, text manipulation, data analysis, and financial modelling. Winners will receive automatic bids into future events sponsored by Microsoft Excel Collegiate Challenge. The individual student competition is open to any HCB students. The team competition is open to teams of three students each from any university.

The event includes presentations and panel discussions from Excel experts (see the guest list below), networking opportunities, and much more.

Jon Acampora

Jon Acampora runs ExcelCampus.com and he’s all about making Excel easier and more fun. As a Microsoft MVP for 10 years, with over 500,000 YouTube subscribers, and a regular host of the FMWC events, his love for Excel is probably obvious.  

But what really drives him? Helping people. At the heart of his mission is a genuine passion for helping the community harness the power of Excel. By eliminating mundane tasks, Jon strives to make Excel not only a tool for efficiency but also a canvas for fun and creativity. With innovative Excel add-ins and insightful online courses, he’s paving the way for a more efficient and enjoyable spreadsheet experience.

Britt Deaton

Britt Deaton is a finance transformation leader at Unum, currently holding the role of AVP, Finance Enablement. In this role, she leverages technical and problem-solving skills to develop the finance transformation strategy, support the finance technology portfolio, & execute on modernizing processes.

As a Fellow in the Society of Actuaries since 2018, Britt has held a diverse set of finance and actuarial roles. Throughout her 10 years at Unum, she has been an avid user of Excel and in 2022 she started participating in the Microsoft Excel World Championship, taking a top-4 place in the finals.

Britt graduated from Lee University in 2014 with a degree in Mathematics. Outside of work, she enjoys spending time with her husband, Brett, and two young daughters, Piper and Madi.

Diarmuid Early

Diarmuid Early is the founder of Early Days Consulting and a partner in The Golden Company, specializing in financial modeling, reporting and automation.

Before starting Early Days, he worked as a business manager at Deutsche Bank for ten years in New York and London and started his career as a strategy consultant with the Boston Consulting Group in London.

Along with his industry experience, he has a PhD in computer science and earned a CFA charter, which gives him a unique perspective as a financial modeler and trainer.

Diarmuid is a two-time world financial modeling champion (2014 and 2021), and four-time runner up.

Craig Hatmaker founded Beyond Excel (BXL) in 2006. Years before Power Query’s debut, BXL pioneered methods to import data from enterprise systems into Excel using VBA, ADO, and SQL. Excel advanced and so has BXL’s mission. BXL’s is now focused on bringing the revolutionary power of dynamic arrays to Excel modelers of any skill level. This is made possible by 5g which BXL launched at EuSpRIG’s annual conference in July of 2023.

Craig started as a solopreneur creating financial systems and forecasting mortgage portfolios for small businesses and non-profits. He then joined the corporate ranks working for large international manufactures, leading US logistic companies, and even local governments. He attributes his ability to use Excel to mine financial systems, find underperforming business units, model remediation financial impacts, and to manage remediation projects for his eventual rise through the ranks to C level executive.

Laurence Lau runs The Golden Company, which provides consulting services such as Private Equity value creation, supply chain optimization, data analytics, and corporate strategy. His publicly traded clients have outperformed the stock market 3-to-1.

Laurence is the 2022 and 2023 Financial Modeling World Cup (FMWC) champion. He is also the current US ranked #1, North America ranked #1, and World ranked #1 in the FMWC financial modeling standings, and is the only competitor to ever finish a season with a perfect score.

Laurence developed his analytical skills as a Wall Street quant and his consulting skills at Strategy&. Originally from New York City, he is a CFA Charterholder based in Boston and has an MBA from MIT. He is proud to have zero Microsoft MVP awards and zero Financial Modeling certifications.

He is interested in competitive endeavors with asymmetric outcomes (e.g., college / MBA admissions, careers, income / wealth inequality, sports, business strategy, etc.)


While Excel-based courses and internship experience lay the groundwork for success, serious competitors should consider training. The Microsoft Excel College Challenge offers great resources to learn and practice. In addition, MECC offers monthly challenges year-round in which you can compete against students from around the world. Visit the MECC website and click “Sign Up” to gain access to all these resources. The FMWC website also offers sample cases.

Various Excel champions also offer fantastic resources that include instructional videos and case demonstrations. For example, Dim Early, one of this year’s special guests, maintains this YouTube channel will all sorts of tips and tricks.


The event contains two separate competitions: an individual competition for UTK students and a team-based competition for three-person teams from different universities.


If you have any questions about the competition or would like to learn more, feel free to email Dr. Eric Kelley, Professor of Finance at University of Tennessee.

Friday, Apr 05

Excel on Rocky Top Individual Student Competition


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