The Office of Student Success & Engagement in the School of Accountancy & MIS hosted a Microsoft Excel Skills for the Accountant workshop in October 2019, in partnership with CNA Insurance. This new event allowed accounting students to develop their skills and knowledge in Excel as well as network with their peers and staff from CNA.
Thirty-six students attended the workshop, which took place in the Driehaus College of Business executive board room, situating students in an environment appropriate for a professional work setting. Participants received worksheets and exercises to use on their laptops. They practiced formula structures, pivot tables, charts and graphs, as well as a variety of higher-level Excel functions.
CNA Senior Financial Analyst Miranda Vella (BUS ’17), along with four of her CNA colleagues, facilitated the workshop. They provided tips and tricks that they use in their day-to-day work in financial reporting and shared career opportunities at CNA.
Vella was a strong proponent of this new initiative. She began her career as a financial analyst at CNA and worked on her Excel skills by taking online classes and receiving on-the-job training. When she had to develop an Excel training workshop at CNA to onboard new hires, she took the opportunity to create a similar workshop for DePaul’s accounting students.
“My main motivation for offering this workshop was to bridge the gap between education and industry,” says Vella. “When I started at CNA, I spent late nights teaching myself Excel formulas, tips and other tricks to be well prepared for my work. I wanted to give back to students by sharing what I learned.”
Margaret Tower, accounting instructor and director of the school’s Office of Student Success & Engagement, agrees on the value of the workshop. “As industry standards are changing, Excel and data analysis workshops can help students stay up to date with skills they need for their careers,” she says. “This workshop is an example of the type of programming the office will continue to offer, combining useful technology skills with a professional networking component.”
Students were well engaged, asking great questions and applying real life examples to the data scenarios in the workshop.”
Miranda Vella, Senior Financial Analyst
By Bartlomiej Lichon