[Falling Into Success #4:] Vital Excel Basics for Interviews

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November 17, 2014 by Lainey

When recruiters look over McCombs resumes during interviews, a majority of McCombs students’ resumes probably have ‘MS Office’ or ‘Microsoft Excel’ as part of their ‘Skills’ section. If you’re an Excel pro, or have taken Excel courses on Lynda, which is free for McCombs students, then read no further. But for all of us non-Excel pros, read on. Because trends show that employers are increasingly looking for students with basic skills in enterprise tools, and the Microsoft Office Suite just happens to be the software suite of choice for a majority (pretty much 90%) of Fortune 1000 companies today.

Today, our goal isn’t to turn you into an Excel monkey, but rather help you to become a truly Excel-lent candidate on the road to success (pun intended!). Below, we want to share some Excel functions and features that are simply classic, timeless, and essential to knowing during an interview…you never know when an Excel question will pop up! Do your best to prepare for your interviews, and good luck!



SUM(A1, A2) = 30
Purpose: This will add whatever is in Cell A1 and whatever is in Cell A2.


Purpose: Easily refer to selected areas, or ranges, of data in other functions.

1. Select the area you want to name by clicking & holding a cell and then dragging it.
2. Go directly to the top left hand ‘Name Box’ (in our example, its where the ‘A1’ is), click, and type in the new name for your selected area!
*Note: There’s no need to include apostrophes or double quotes.





=VLOOKUP(“Grade”, A1:D5, 1, FALSE)
=VLOOKUP(B1, Hello, 1, TRUE)

You will find a lookup_value from this table_array, which is any specified area (range) on the sheet. You will then pick the column number (col_index_num) you’d like the function to specifically look in within that range. Note that column numbers start from the left at 1. TRUE helps you find an exact match of the lookup_value and FALSE means just an approximation.

Excel on, fellow BBAs and do some Excel trainings on Lynda! Post your questions/comments below.

As always, you can schedule an appointment with your career coach for questions about how to prepare for interviews and handle multiple offers. Your 2014 peer coaches (meet them here and here) will also be available in CBA 2.116 to answer quick questions about interviews, look over your resumes and cover letters, and answer general recruiting questions.

Thank you for tuning in to this week’s post, brought to you by:


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