“Well…I’m, like…really good at Excel.”
“Well, do you know VLOOKUP?”
“Yes. That grade-school formula? Can you make macros?”
“Taught myself off Youtube. How’s your nested-IF game?”
This is not a scene from Kung Fu Panda 3. This discussion happens every Fall quarter at Foster, as new MBA students get to know their teammates and the skills they bring.
Most of us arrive here with some experience in Microsoft Office – and plenty of us crunched our way through big Excel spreadsheets for a good chunk of our 20s. And we definitely use it during the MBA as well as after. So Foster’s MBA Strategy Club got together and started an Excel tournament to settle “who the best” was. This year, during the 2nd Annual Foster MBA MSFT Excel Tournament, we even got a $350 sponsorship from Microsoft for our efforts.
For the second year in a row, our Excel-savvy MBA students competed against one another in a multi-event skills challenge. Like a (very nerdy) decathlon, participants took on a series of timed events, focused around specific MBA-relevant skill areas.
“Build a chart to these specs, from this dataset!”
“Transform these fields, alphabetize and remove records here, and here!”
“There’s an error somewhere in this spreadsheet. You have 15 min before a big meeting to find it.”
When the dust cleared, Yuvika Kedia of the MBA Class of 2016 stood triumphant! As a certified Chartered Accountant, with stamps like Ernst & Young India and Amazon on her resume, and as an all-around expert – she won one round handily and came close in the remaining two.
“Definitely challenging, but fun. A lot of real world situations like we’d face in the office,” our champion said. ”It felt pretty good to win, too.”
The Foster MBA Strategy Club exists to give its members the problem-solving skills they’ll need, out there in the business world. We appreciate Microsoft’s sponsorship – and look forward to next year’s event!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Prior to Foster, Peter Kazarian was a lifelong Californian and veteran of the LA/SF digital/ad agency scene. As a digital strategist, he focused on web strategy, e-commerce and database-driven marketing for major nonprofits like the American Red Cross and the City of Hope cancer treatment center. After winning a few industry-specific awards, he came to Foster to move fully into consumer marketing on behalf of for-profits.
He really enjoys his UW education and bonding with classmates and alums, and he’s going back to Starbucks HQ doing Brand and Channel marketing after graduation. When not networking or studying, he spends his time cooking, hiking, and going deep in the blogosphere. And trying to adjust to the PNW’s weather and lack of Mexican food.