Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
simple and abbreviated examples. In other words, this topic is for the individual
that shouts—“I’m not interested in a 900 page text, full of Ctl-Shift-F4-R key stroke
shortcuts . What I need is a good and instructive example so I can solve this problem
before I leave the office tonight.”
Finally, for many texts the introductory chapter is a “throw-away”, to be read
casually before getting to substantial material in the chapters that follow, but that
is not the case for this chapter. It sets the stage for some important guidelines
for constructing worksheets and workbooks that will be essential throughout the
remaining chapters. I urge you to read this material carefully and to consider the
content seriously.
Let’s begin by considering the following encounter between two graduate school
classmates of the class of 1990. In it, we begin to answer the question that decision
makers face as Excel becomes the standard for analysis and collaboration—How
can I quickly and effectively learn the capabilities of this powerful tool?
1.2 What’s an MBA to do?
It was late Friday afternoon when Julia Lopez received an unexpected phone call
from an MBA classmate, Ram Das, whom she had not heard from in years. They
both work in Washington, DC and agreed to meet at a coffee shop on Wisconsin
Avenue to catch up on their careers.
Ram: Julia, it’s great to see you. I don’t remember you looking as prosperous when
we were struggling with our quantitative and computer classes in school.
Julia: No kidding! In those days I was just trying to keep up and survive. You don’t
look any worse for wear yourself. Still doing that rocket-science analysis you
loved in school?
Ram: Yes, but it’s getting tougher to defend my status as a rocket scientist. This
summer we hired an undergraduate intern that just blew us away. This kid
could do any type of analysis we asked, and do it on one software plat-
form, Excel. Now my boss expects the same from me, but many years out of
school, there is no way I have the training to equal that intern’s skills.
Julia: Join the club. We had an intern we called the Excel Wonder Woman. I don’t
know about you, but in the last few years, people are expecting more and
better analytical skills from MBAs. As a product manager, I’m expected to
know as much about complex business analysis as I do about understanding
my customers and markets. I even bought 5 or 6 books on business decision
making with Excel. It’s just impossible to get through hundreds of pages
of detailed keystrokes and tricks for using Excel, much less simultaneously
understand the basics of the analysis. Who has the time to do it?
Ram: I’d be satisfied with a brief, readable book that gives me a clear view of the
kinds of things you can do with Excel, and just one straightforward example.
Our intern was doing things that I would never have believed possible—
analyzing qualitative data, querying databases, simulations, optimization,
statistical analysis, collecting data on web pages, you name it. It used to
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