By Max Sych, Chief Operating Officer at the Financial Modeling World Cup
-What computer game do you play?
-I play Excel!
Microsoft Excel – traditionally meant for number crunching, data analysis, and reporting – is no more a boring tool. Why is it so? Historically, Microsoft Office was meant to replace the paperwork, optimize calculations, work processes and much more. More than 1.2 bn users had signed up for Microsoft Office already back in 2015. Millions of people use Microsoft Excel daily in order to do various things: create a budget, keep track of expenses, create scoring models, analyze data and much more, but is there a room for entertainment?
10,000 hours of CS:GO or Excel?
When you open Excel, at first it seems overwhelming but when you work in Excel daily you become quite advanced. It is like starting a new game – you learn the gameplay and start getting better and better every day.
There is a theory that if you spend 10,000 hours doing a thing you become professional at it. Imagine playing Counter-Strike: Global Offensive for 10,000 hours, what rank in CS:GO would you reach? You would probably earn Global Elite rank. What would happen if you spend 10,000 hours in Microsoft Excel (actually, it is only 5 years of workweek routine)? Yes, that’s right – you become a Global Elite Excel user! Or.. not really?
For dozens of people usage of Excel is a must and nobody is counting hours because there are no statistics for that but it has similar patterns as going with any other games – the more you play the better you get at it. The beauty of this is that usually, you do not spend your free time “playing Excel”, but rather do that during working hours. Professional gamers do not get paid for daily plays, they get paid for winning tournaments, while Excel users do Excel on a daily basis and still get paid for it, isn’t that cool?
Why is Excel Gameplay important?
Excel skill is one of the hottest commodities among Wall Street banks. Almost every company uses some kind of software for their accounting, reporting & analytics purposes, and in most cases Excel is the go-to tool. Literally, you can do everything in Excel – starting from basic data storage and entry, ending up with writing complex programs in VBA. Although the application of Excel is not justified in all cases, it has quite a broad coverage. For the time being people have created games, quizzes, complex financial models and data analysis models in Excel, but is there anything you can’t really create in Excel? Drop a line in the comments!
By entering esports, Excel users will not only compete for a big win but will also build upon their professional brand and may land a new job offer. By one tournament, a participant can simultaneously be a professional Excel gamer and a data analysis guru.
Excel vs Fortnite, LoL, CS:GO
As of May 2020, Fortnite had 350 mln players; in July 2021, League of Legends had 115 mln active monthly users, while Dota 2 has only 11 mln of active players; Counter-Strike: Global Offensive has 24 mln monthly active users, which shares takes Excel? Microsoft does not provide a specific number, however, with more than 1.2 bn Microsoft Office downloads, the count of Microsoft Excel users should be over 750 mln worldwide.
Esports audience is growing year by year, especially in 2020 with a hit of the global pandemic. According to Statista data, the esports audience will grow to 577.2 mln viewers in 2024 from 397.9 mln viewers in 2019. The industry is very specific with the share of enthusiasts and gaming promoters being roughly 50% of total viewers in the industry.
Why is there a demand for it?
Probably, the reason for such interest is because Esports Arena allows scaling skills you have never used in a competitive landscape. Millions of people use Excel daily and improve their speed, find various techniques, discover new applications of formulas, VBA, Data models, and many more features to do a job faster and easier. Meanwhile, Esports Arena will show participants’ accumulated skills over years, while they compete for prizes and get recognition within the gameplay they got used to!
Sometimes Excel makes up for 90% of daily work and those people eventually become the wildest Excel wizards. Wouldn’t it be great to see the wizards in action, huh?
There are plenty of training materials on the Internet on how to use Excel, however, I bet watching an Esports match is much more exciting taking into consideration the fact that this content is also educational!
A couple of years ago, there was a funny video published on Youtube by “KRAZAM” on Microsoft Excel Stream Highlights, however, now, a professional Esports commentator make a review of such ! What if, one day, this shows up as TV series on ESPN?
Championships & Tournaments
Currently, Excel-oriented Championships are mainly organized by Financial Modeling World Cup. FMWC held 2 invitation-only Battles in June and September 2021, however, this year November-December FMWC will launch FMWC OPEN battle for every Excel user. Everyone can sign-up, join and compete for the best Excel user title.
Also, for students aged 13 to 22 years old, Certiport organizes MOS Championship that covers Excel, Word and PowerPoint skills, which is a great opportunity for young professionals.
Sign-up & become an Excel celebrity
While Excel esports has just started gathering its audience, it has great potential because of the market niche it takes and the vast number of Excel users. Participation in a competition like this is a great way to push Excel skills to the limits and at full capacity. The Esports industry is constantly growing and adding Microsoft Excel to it might not only help companies that employ Excel masters but also help fresh minds that are just starting their careers to find the right techniques and learn from the best!