BHP Freshmen Take on Excel and Grammar at Annual Boot Camp

Written by Anna Hiran

PivotTables, Oxford commas, what-if analysis, faulty pronoun references. What? This year’s MIS 301H and B A 324H boot camp was a shocking wake-up call for me and a good number of other freshmen in the BHP. Tuesday morning, I unknowingly said that I knew how to navigate my way through Excel: by that, I meant I knew how to enter numbers in cells, use the SUM function, and fill cells with whimsical colors. I was completely unaware of a whole other realm, a whole untapped world, hidden beneath the deceivingly simple-looking ribbon bar at the top of the screen. Professor Agarwal wrapped up the MIS section for the night with an application-based problem that demonstrated the incredible functionality of spreadsheets as well as my serious lack of Excel knowledge.

Once the clock struck 6:30 pm, we raided the pizza tables outside the auditorium and appreciatively enjoyed our free dinner. Pepsico, our generous class sponsor, sent representatives to reveal amazing technology they had developed to increase efficiency and conveniently sell products to stores using only an iPad and their fingertips. Much to our chagrin, that mental break ended too quickly.

Part two of our boot camp started off with the grading of our grammar diagnostic tests. As Professor Riekenberg provided explanations for the correct answers, it was made clear that I had the grammar of a second-grade student. My everyday e-mail typically consists of a random sprinkling of commas, capitalization errors, and an-obnoxiously-excessive-usage-of-hyphens. Ouch.

Quite honestly, the night was a bit painful because my ego was hurt, but we now have multiple reasons to be even more thankful for these first-year classes. It’s all about laying down the foundation so that we can successfully use technology to our advantage and send e-mails to prospective employers without sounding like cavemen. It’s apparent that MIS 301H and B A 324H will provide us with so much more than what we already know, and we’re all anxious to see what our professors have in store for us these next few months.

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