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A while ago I met a guy (at my friend’s place) and we were talking about random shit. Here is some meaningful bit of that conversation
I : Hey dude, What’s up! How was your day?
He : It was okay man! I had an interview at Snapdeal
I : How did it go?
He : They handed me with 30k rows of dealer data and asked me to make sense from it
I : Do you need any help? (I had told him earlier about what I do)
He : Thanks Bro, but I have submitted my report. If only I learned Excel and basic math I would have been able to do much better. None of what I learned in my “MBA” mattered.
2 Quick Conclusions
- Well I don’t agree that MBA is complete waste of time
- But I do agree that having solid excel skills matter. It matters a hell lot!
Let me share with you some real time instances which reinforced that same conclusion over and over again
Instance #1) At my brother’s office : My brother used to used to work as a Financial Analyst at an pretty renowned IT company. Our dinner time conversations used to be about
- How his kick ass excel trick solved a major problem and blew off his colleagues and especially his seniors!
- Or about how much manual work people do in his office
When the company got acquired a ton of people were fired and for a good reason. Now why would the company want to keep employees who are drawing 20 Lacs ($30,000) for manually tallying reimbursement vouchers of the employees.
People were getting fatter pay cheques for longer tenures spent in the company combined with ass licking! No one cared to develop their skills.
A team size of 44 people from finance were reduced to 8. CFO, VP Finance, Senior Managers and the likes… all gone! Who were left? The people who actually had the skills and who worked
And yes my brother was in the 8 who stayed. He knew his fundamentals (finance and excel)
Instance #2) The general trend of Jobs around has changed a lot. Everything now is automated and more convenient. Take a look around, you’ll find an app based business for almost everything in life and a lot many are on their way. Behind these apps are consumers (real people) who are constantly feeding their information.
Companies are no more facing the problems of data paucity rather they have terabytes of overwhelming data that they want to make sense from. Think about it
- People who used to work as data collectors, data entry operators are all redundant now! Companies don’t need them any more.
- Rather people who can crunch that data, make sense from it, develop strategies, customize marketing campaigns, create better products are in high demand
I do a ton of live training assignments for many companies and I see herd of people doing either manual work or struggling with data analysis in Excel. I feel sorry for all of them because the truth is that their jobs are going to go away or might have already gone!
Technology is widely reducing redundant and unskilled jobs and creating a few smarter jobs.
Instance #3) Even Schools are teaching Excel – In yet another training session in Mumbai for a top financial services company I met a senior Chartered Accountant, who walked upto me with his laptop asking my help on a few questions. Questions like
- Make a schedule of daily activities in Excel.
- Which is the most time consuming activity in your day ?
- Make a pie chart of all the activities.
These questions were home assignments given to his daughter who is in 8th grade. BAM! I was taken aback that even schools have started including a bit of Excel in their curriculum
These are just a few recent instances that have been on top of my mind but I encounter at-least 1 a day!
How has learning Excel helped me in my career!
I have been lucky to acquire solid excel skills along with a few other essential ones from the start of my career. And trust me they have been massive in terms of opportunities that they have got along.
One of the biggest wins was starting Goodly. Realizing that Excel, Data Analysis & Presentation are going to be vital skills in the future and starting a business around teaching these skills and doing consulting projects has been extremely rewarding.
As a side-note I keep getting job offers from CXOs to join their company from almost all Clients where I have conducted a training or have done a consulting assignment. The promises of matching the compensation compared to what I make from Goodly makes me smile. I turn them down for the freedom that I own an Goodly which is priceless!
Have you ever felt that Excel has become extremely important for you?
- How has the nature of your work changed since the time you started working? What has made you feel that Excel is an important problem solving tool that you must master ?
- How would your life be different if you knew Excel inside out ? What would it mean for your career ?
Open your heart out and share your story! I’ll reply to all comments 😀