MBA News: Deficit Cutters Give a Lesson on the Importance of Excel Skills

Business school students may encounter some highly theoretical, quantitative problems in their course work. But they should never lose sight of the basics. That seems to be the humbling takeaway from a recent debacle surrounding the proponents of austerity policies. As The Atlantic reported this week, an influential study conducted by economists Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff supporting the long-term benefits of austerity measures was based on data that were invalidated because of an Excel glitch. In a world where erroneous data could cost a company significantly—or wreak havoc on the global economy—the power of a spreadsheet should not be underestimated. It is never too late to brush up on your Excel skills. You do not want to land that coveted internship and then lose it over a few bad links or the wrong “copy/paste.”

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