Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Do you know Excel?

An MBA. A CFA. Perfect grades. Perfect test scores. Thousands of hours of studying. Innumerable projects, presentations, and reports. All boil down to one question for the analyst:
"Do you know Excel?"

Before spending $100K+ to send your kids to an Ivy League school, first send them to a junior college for an Excel certificate. If there is one way to always be assured of a job, it is to work for your dad. But, if there are two ways, then knowing Excel is it.

And frankly, Excel is was separates the analyst from the assistants beneath him/her. It is this Excel ignorance that keeps millions of analysts behind their glowing idols. In my view, the Excel hierarchy is:

  • Lowest: Yes, I excel at many things
  • Lower: I have Excel on my computer
  • Low: Excel is good for numbers
  • Medium: Can change cell colors
  • Int.: Can add two cells together
  • Adv.: Can use any function
  • Super Adv.: Can use an if statement

I am cognizant that there a thousands of more advanced functions in Excel; User-Defined Functions, Pivot Tables, Pivot Charts, Database interactivity, Macros, Web publishing, Conditional Formatting, etc. However, if the average user could utilize these functions than no company would ever hire an analyst.

Every emloyed analyst should be grateful for ignorance.

- "The Analista"