Microsoft Excel is one of the most important skills needed in the workplace. Chances are you’ll be using Excel sometime throughout your career. If you were (or are) a student at the Whitman School of Management, you’ve probably heard those words enough to last a lifetime.
As a freshman in college, Brandon Eng ’15 had rarely used Excel in high school and was expected to know the software fluently. Like many people, Brandon often searched YouTube for ‘How To’ videos. “I often watched these 20 minute videos finding myself waking up an hour later,” says Eng. “What’s worse is that I’d have to watch them again because I didn’t learn anything the first time around.” Eng found these video tutorials to be unengaging and ineffective. Many videos later, Brandon founded ExPrep.
ExPrep is an interactive, self-paced and hands-on Microsoft Excel training application. Conveniently available in Excel after downloading, ExPrep provides preset problems adhering to different Excel topics. As users work through different problems, the application provides interactive feedback to help them correct mistakes. The application also provides more efficient solutions to solve problems such as shortcut keys available.
Through further testing and research, Eng found that many recruiters were having difficulty determining candidates’ Excel abilities since most resumes highlight a “proficiency in Microsoft Excel” with no elaboration on skill level. As a result, ExPrep developed an algorithm to quantify a user’s Excel skills. After completing each problem, individuals receive scores reflecting their Excel proficiency. Upon course completion, the user receives a results page that summarizes his/her overall Excel capabilities broken down by topic.
As the ExPrep team continued to develop the application, graduation was approaching and Eng had an important decision to make. He had an opportunity to work in corporate but, instead, made the decision to commit to ExPrep full-time. After numerous days filled with couch surfing, ramen noodle packages and boxed macaroni and cheese, ExPrep was ready for launch.
In February, ExPrep released the first package to companies covering 50 Excel proficiency topics. Since its release, ExPrep has already sold to a handful of companies in the Syracuse area. On March 31, ExPrep released its first package to individuals. Purchases can be made on the ExPrep website with prices ranging between $24.99 and $59.99.
ExPrep’s Package 2 is currently in development and will focus on completing one’s proficiency, while the more intensive Package 3 will push individuals to become power Excel users. Eng is also looking to establish more partnerships with organizations and companies that work with people who use Microsoft Excel. He will continue working to grow ExPrep’s client and user base and hopes the expansion will help people excel in their careers.