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Technology Services - Microsoft Excel Certification

In an effort to give our graduates a competitive edge in the professional world, the Whitman School of Management at Syracuse University has begun an initiative to certify all our students as Microsoft Office Excel Specialists. There are two levels of certification: Specialist (Basic) and Expert, and it is our goal that all our students have at least the Specialist certification by the end of their first-year.


Prior to graduation, Whitman’s Career Center works closely with recruiters to match our students and their skills to careers in which they will succeed. One of the most-often requested skills is proficiency in Microsoft Excel. It’s a very easy thing to claim that one is proficient, but it is another thing entirely to provide a certification that is accepted worldwide as proof of that proficiency.

One might ask “If recruiters aren’t asking for this until graduation time, why do I need to have this so early?” The answer to that question is simple: we not only want you to know how to use Excel, we want you to know what you're using it for and what you can do with it. Getting Excel Certified during your first-year will provide you valuable skills that will only deepen and develop as you participate in a curriculum that includes the use of Microsoft Excel and as they continue toward graduation. By the time you receive your Bachelor’s degree, you will be seasoned, capable and ready to enter the professional world.

What’s involved in making this happen?

Whitman provides several tools for our students to be able to participate in the Microsoft Excel Training and Certification program.

First, students must learn Microsoft Excel. We provide access to highly-developed top-tier training materials in the form of online learning tools from LinkedIn Learning and delivered through Blackboard. There are many lessons and assignments that students can follow along to learn the different parts and nuances of Excel.

Second, students must practice for the exam. For those who haven’t experienced it, a certification exam is a different experience from a regular classroom test. Whitman provides access to practice test materials, in the form of software that replicates the exam environment very closely. Students will be able to familiarize themselves with the look and feel of the environment, what the experience of a certification exam is like and what types of knowledge they are expected to know. The requirement for taking the actual certification exam at Whitman is that students must pass at least five practice exams using Gmetrix, our practice exam software, with a score of 800 or better in testing mode prior to taking the actual exam. Students can take an unlimited number of practice exams with Gmetrix.

Third, students will take the actual exam. The current plan is that all incoming students will have performed the necessary prep work by move-in weekend and will take the certification exam the Sunday of move-in weekend.

How do I do all of this?

You will have access to all of these practice materials and tools via the web, so participating will require internet access and a computer. As soon as your student’s SU NetID has been activated, they will begin receiving emails and information regarding where they need to go and what they need to do to get started. Beyond that, we will provide all the information and support required for them to complete the prep and ace the exam!

What if I don’t pass during my first attempt?

We’ve got you covered. Whitman students can make two attempts at the exam for free. If they don’t pass the first exam using the prep materials provided, we’ve got workshops that they can participate in that will give them the help that they require, often down to specific topics, that will enable them to pass the second time around.