Self-discipline is as important as intelligence.
Intelligence is important. But the self-discipline and consistency you bring to a task make a huge difference to the outcome.
A study by American Psychologist Martin Seligman found that in adolescents, self-discipline was a stronger predictor of their future academic success than IQ, leading them to conclude that self-discipline may be the “royal road” to building academic achievement.
This is important in modelling. Excel gives you complete flexibility. Ultimately, it's just a big table with thousands of rows and columns. A blank canvas with which you can do anything you want.
Financial models, however, require structure. And if your model is going to have a structure, you have to impose it. That requires you to be consistent and disciplined. And these are hard things to be. Most people don’t manage it.
You also have to have a plan ahead of time. If you constantly change the structure as you work, you will end up with chaos. I call this plan your modelling workflow.
To be a good modeller, you need to be numerate, commercially aware and have a firm grip on accounting. Lots of people have those things in abundance.
It’s self-discipline and consistency that will give you an edge.
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