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Write a one page paper on the attached article. Do you agree or disagree? Why? Paper: Times New Roman, 12pt, Double-spaced. Please upload as a .doc file. please the attach document is the article. no...

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Information Systems Education Journal (ISEDJ XXXXXXXXXX)
ISSN: 1545-679X May 2017
©2017 ISCAP (Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals) XXXXXXXXXXPage 55
http:; http:

Microsoft Excel®: Is It An Important Job Skill for
College Graduates?

Sam K. Formby

B. Dawn Medlin

Virginia Ellington
Computer Information Systems & Supply Chain Management Department
Appalachian State University
Boone, NC 28608, USA


Several studies have found that a large percentage of middle-skilled jobs require at least a basic
understanding of spreadsheets, and some even advanced level skills. A study was conducted at a four-
year university to identify Excel skill sets that were determined as necessary by employers of the
university’s cu
ent students, advisory boards, recruiters, and other relevant parties. The findings
suggested that the needs and opportunities for Excel® based analytical skills is pervasive in businesses
of all sizes and ubiquitous in business.

Keywords: Microsoft Excel®, job opportunities, analytical skills, business cu

Excel was launched by Microsoft in 1985, and has
grown in use by businesses in their need for
charts, graphs, statistical data computations, and
formula creation. With that growth came the
need for individuals with spreadsheet skills.

Previous studies have found several skills such as
communication and relationship building skills to
e necessary in the workplace, while 80% of
middle-skilled jobs have been found by online
ecruiters to require at least a basic
understanding of Excel skills. Several reports
have also found that advanced analytical skills,
Excel® in particular, results in increased
marketability and increased compensation for

For business students, spreadsheet knowledge is
imperative in order for the likelihood of success in
the job market. Therefore, a business school
should pose the question “What Microsoft Excel®
skills are necessary to be taught to students for
them to be successful in acquiring a job?” A
second question can direct a business program by
questioning, “What is the purpose of a college
education?” Gerstein and Friedman XXXXXXXXXXpoint
out that the answer to this question has varied
over the years and still varies greatly today in
different institutions. Should the Bachelor of
Science in Business Administration (BSBA)
iculum focus predominantly on theory,
concepts, critical thinking and knowledge? How
much effort should be spent on skills
development? With greater intensity employers
are demanding skills and competencies that
ensure students are productive and resilient in life
in spite of the high degree of change being
experienced in many professional fields. Ba
(2015) quotes Ronald Reagan in 1967 who said
“we can no longer afford intellectual luxuries in
universities.” His point was that that education
should create productive and economically
sustainable members of society, implying that
knowledge alone without skills is incomplete
education. Over 80% of freshmen entering
college say that the purpose of education is to get
a good paying job and businesses are demanding
asic skills beyond traditional topical knowledge
Information Systems Education Journal (ISEDJ XXXXXXXXXX)
ISSN: 1545-679X May 2017
©2017 ISCAP (Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals) XXXXXXXXXXPage 56
http:; http:
in the employment process (Ba
ett, 2015).
Freidman and Friedman XXXXXXXXXXmake a
compelling case that institutions must stress and
teach skills that help students be successful and
survive and thrive in the new knowledge

The need for graduates to start jobs with sound
functional analytical skills, e.g. proficiency with
Microsoft Excel®, is therefore becoming more of
a prerequisite for employment. According to Dana
Manciagli (2013), author of Cut the Crap, Get a
Job, found that students must have not only a
proficiency in Excel, but have advanced skills. “A
white paper study commissioned by Microsoft and
eleased by IDC, October 2013, reported that the
top two skills cited in over 14 million job postings
for the top 60 job growth occupations of the
economy were oral and written communications
and Microsoft Office skills. Microsoft Excel® was
cited as the most ubiquitous analytics tool in
usiness. Geiger XXXXXXXXXXreported on a study
finding that 78% of middle-skilled jobs require
digital skills like Excel®. Middle-skilled jobs are
fast growing job categories that place more
emphasis on skills than on the having a bachelor
degree, and in many cases pay more than
traditional jobs requiring the bachelor degree
alone. These jobs require significant business
understanding, but with the added emphasis on
skills to apply quantitative business intelligence to
decision making. Some could argue that business
graduates should aspire to more senior
management positions, but it is more appropriate
to consider these middle-skilled positions as part
of an accelerated path for business graduates into
management. The business education, coupled
with the analytical skills with tools like Microsoft
Excel®, place the business graduates in a highly
favored position for future leadership. Business
school graduates are therefore often in
competition for these higher paying jobs and the
skills proficiency makes the difference in the
hiring selection (Geiger, XXXXXXXXXXSoergel (2015)
eports additional details on the middle-skill job
study which concluded that salaries are 13-38%
higher based on the analytical tools skills a
candidate has when interviewed. Soergel
concludes with the following quote from the
study, “Jobs requiring advanced analytical tools
skills offer the strongest opportunity for middle-
skill job seekers in terms of salary and growth as
well as career advancement. Effectively, entire
segments of the U.S. economy are off-limits to
people who don’t have basic analytical skills.”
Thus new BSBA graduates need to have these
analytical skills to compete for these higher
paying middle-skilled jobs.
There also appears to be a shift in hiring criteria
such that skills are gaining in importance, and
degree, school name, and GPA are dropping in
importance, (The Role of Higher Education,
2012). This message was also reinforced at the
Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of
Business (AACSB) workshop “Co-Lab Connecting
Business Schools with Practice” in June 2016. In
the session “Recruitment, Retention, and
Engagement” panel speakers commented that
talent acquisition was the #1 issue with many
companies today and candidates with cyber and
analytics skills and competencies were drawing
significantly higher salary offers. Many companies
are also establishing baseline quantitative
assessment tests at part of the screening and
interview process to ensure essential skills and
competencies are present before hiring.

In the
oader context of business analytics and
ig data trends, Microsoft Excel® is still the
“ubiquitous and popular choice” for data analysts,
(Dumbill, XXXXXXXXXXMadhu Reddy, Senior Product
Planner for Microsoft Big Data, stated that the
interoperability Excel® with other BI and big data
systems and applications is an obvious high
priority in Microsoft, (Dumbill, XXXXXXXXXXIn many
cases, analytical skills are becoming more
important in the employment decision than
whether or not a candidate has a bachelor degree.
A search for what specific Microsoft Excel® skills
are important to employers will find a number of
very general suggested lists such as Sravani
(2016) but very few of these sources specifically
address the needs of business school graduates.

This paper summarizes exploratory research
collected over a multiyear period aimed at
identifying specific Microsoft Excel® skills
important for BSBA graduates to have at
graduation. The authors acknowledge the
differences of opinion, some strong, on the
subject, but take the position that importance of
Microsoft Excel® skills is significant to employers
and affects opportunities for BSBA graduates
whether or not one agrees that it is the role of the
usiness school cu
iculum to address it. Another
question that may be asked is whether it should
e the student’s responsibility to learn these skills
independently thus demonstrating the initiative
idge the gap between traditional education
and the needs of the workplace. Regardless of
where educators feel the responsibility lies,
employers are placing increasing importance on
these skills at graduation.

Information Systems Education Journal (ISEDJ XXXXXXXXXX)
ISSN: 1545-679X May 2017
©2017 ISCAP (Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals) XXXXXXXXXXPage 57
http:; http:

By, definition, exploratory research often relies
on collecting and analyzing data and information
in a variety of ways from disparate primary and
secondary sources, (Shields & Rangarajan,
2013). Data was gathered through focused
discussions in advisory board meetings and
discussions with employers, recruiters, and
students returning from internships. More
quantitative data was also collected from, employer surveys and student
course feedback. Specific Microsoft Excel® skills
that enhance business student success in
internships and full-time employment
opportunities were identified. Though exploratory
esearch is generally only useful in gaining
understanding of a phenomenon of interest and
not direct problem solving, the feedback from
these activities was consistent enough to allow
creation of a recommended set of analytical and
Excel® skills that would enhance graduates’

Advisory Board Meetings – Evaluating the
In XXXXXXXXXX, discussion items were included on
the agendas in advisory board meetings at the
dean’s and several department levels. The
question asked was open ended. Describe the
types of analytical tasks assigned and Microsoft
Excel® skills expected of new BSBA graduates.
Members of these board were all managers, and
though the feedback was consistent, it was not as
detailed or specific as desired. However, the
conclusion was clear: more advanced Excel®
skills are desired of both business student interns
and graduates. The descriptions of analytical
tasks were a little more specific with descriptions
like inventory management, scheduling, financial
and account analysis, performance analysis and
metrics creation. These discussions clearly
validated the need identified earlier through the
spontaneous feedback from advisors and

Job Posting Study
Following these discussions, a study of “entry
level, bachelor degree, business jobs” in was made using the available
search tools. A comparison was made in six states
of all jobs meeting the above criteria and all jobs
meeting the same criteria but also calling for
Microsoft Excel® skills. The results are shown in
Table 1. There was surprising consistency of the
esults across several regions of the U.S. In the
ody of the job descriptions, the most frequent
terminology used by the employers was advanced
Excel® skills or proficiency in Excel®. These
esults are based on a generic BSBA search.

State % Requiring
North Carolina 43.48%
Virginia 51.43%
Georgia 44.53%
South Carolina 46.15%
California 51.44%
New York 51.03%
Table 1. Results

This element of the exploratory research
confirmed that the feedback we received from our
advisors and employers was not specific to our
BSBA programs, but a more universal issue.
Though the majority of our graduates fill positions
in the Southeast U.S., this element of the study
suggests that the desires of employers are
elatively consistent across the U.S.

Employer Survey
As part of a larger XXXXXXXXXXsurvey of 107
advisory board members and employer
managers, two seven point Likert scale
statements were presented. The first was “Data
analytics (quantitative tools to analyze business
data to support decision making) is a very
important skill for students.” Overall 94% agreed
or strongly agreed with this statement; 67%
strongly agreed; 27% agreed and none disagreed
with the statement. The second statement was
“Being able to create spreadsheets, charts and
graphs and analyze data with Excel® are very
important skills that students need when they
graduate.” Overall 96% strongly agreed or
agreed; 77%
Answered 1 days After Jan 25, 2024


Dipali answered on Jan 27 2024
16 Votes
Table of contents
Introduction    3
Agreement    3
Importance of Excel® Skills    3
Middle-skilled Jobs and Excel® Proficiency    3
Changing Educational Landscape    4
Recommendations and Future Research    4
Conclusion    4
References    6
The purpose of this article is to assess the results of an exploratory research project that lasted many years and examined the significance of Microsoft Excel® abilities for graduates of the Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (BSBA). The report examines how employer expectations are changing and highlights how business students must have sophisticated Excel® analytical abilities in order to secure middle-skilled positions.
The study's conclusions are consistent with the changing nature of the labour market, where having a working knowledge of Microsoft Excel® is becoming more and more necessary to secure a job. The understanding that business graduates need a certain skill set to negotiate the intricacies of the contemporary workplace is the basis for the agreement. The essay does a good job of illustrating how employment criteria are changing, with talents now taking precedence over more conventional...

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