Reflections

As the society’s Chief Trainer, I take great pride in being able to help others understand the value that Excel and VBA can provide in their respective careers. I am also proud of the members of the training team, who have sacrificed their time to help imbue others with the knowledge to succeed in their careers.

This past week, my team and I completed a series of training workshops in both Excel and VBA, and it was immensely gratifying to see participants from different specialisations and career paths coming together to further build on the skills that they already have, recognizing the need for continuous learning and skills upgrading.

But our workshops weren’t simply about imparting technical knowledge into students, it’s also about getting them to think critically and identify ways to use what they learned to benefit themselves in the workplace. It was a very interesting experience discussing with participants what were some of the ways that VBA could be used in various areas, ranging from finance to consulting.

One upcoming Investment Banker even remarked that he wished to take what he learned in our VBA workshops to automate some of the more mundane and repetitive tasks in the models and research reports that he always made, referencing some of the online resources that we had provided as needed.

 

The beginning

Microsoft Excel is an incredible tool for businesses and professionals across industries and career professions. Whether you aspire to work in banking or consulting, Excel has entrenched itself as a powerful tool that supports almost all, if not all, business processes. This has resulted in many jobs require applicants to have at least a basic understanding of how Excel works.

To help equip graduates with this necessary skill, NUS Business Analytics Society (BAS) has been providing basic Excel training workshops within NUS Business School for our fellow students throughout our history.

Evolution from the past

While our existing workshops were useful in providing students with the tools, I felt that they weren’t equipping them with the critical thinking skills needed to succeed.

In the world of business, you need to do more than simply know the various functions within Excel, you need to know how to apply them to create insights and user-friendly reports that others can use.  I personally have seen the shortcomings of our previous teaching methods when I embarked on my career in finance, quickly realizing that knowing how to use a function or piece of code individually is very different from creating integrating programs, calling on multiple functions and code fragments to support business functions.

To address this shortcoming, my team and I conducted a major overhaul of our training materials this past year, taking into account feedback from participants and alumni to incorporate examples of common use cases, enabling participants to better visualize how Excel is used to support business operations.

In addition to this, we have also launched our first series of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) training workshops, recognizing the value that participants can acquire from VBA programming in various fields, from process automation to data analysis.

Purpose of Workshops

Microsoft Excel and VBA are vast and extensive softwares, containing a multitude of tools for any number of situations. It is not my intention to teach participants everything there is to them, but rather to provide them with a strong foundation that enables them to become independent learners on their own, seeking out new information and incorporating it into what they have already learned.

Moving Forward

Even as we gear up towards our second set of training workshops, NUS BAS will continue to update and improve our training materials to ensure that participants acquire valuable skills for the workforce.

To this end, I are proud to announce the inauguration of our first ever R training workshops in the coming weeks. With Data Analytics becoming an increasingly important function in an ever more digitised economy, being able to use analytics software such as R to glean insights from databases is an invaluable skill to acquire.

The workshop will provide participants with a solid foundation to further build their analytical capabilities in R as well as allow them to easily transition into other analytics softwares such as Python, with potential career paths into companies such as Nielson and JP Morgan as Data Analysts.

I highly encourage anyone interested in our upcoming training workshops to like our Facebook Page for updates about our upcoming workshops.

It has been an incredible journey thus far, and I look forward to documenting more of the training team’s exploits as we progress through this semester and towards the next academic year.

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