2021 Scholarship Winners

I am excited to announce this year’s Excel University scholarship winners! These scholarships are supported by the Excel University Alumni Association, so thanks to all of you who have helped make these awards possible.

Each will receive a cash award plus an Excel University training pass.

The recipients are terrific examples of the type of accounting student that the scholarship program was designed to assist. They are wonderful representations of the future of our profession. They are smart, hard-working, and highly recommended by their professors.

Congratulations to the 2021 Excel University Scholarship winners: Ian and Vinh!

As part of the scholarship application, I asked for a short essay Interesting Ways I’ve Used Excel. I’d like to share portions of the essays as well.


While pursuing his accounting degree at the College of Charleston, he worked as a tax intern at Baldwin & Associates. He was recently accepted as an intern at EY.

He has an outstanding GPA, and is highly recommended by his professor. His professor said that Ian is “an outstanding Accounting Honors student” who has an “enthusiasm for learning.”

His desire to continue learning will serve him well in his accounting career. Way to go Ian!

Here are a few highlights from his essay.

In addition to my interests in accounting and business law, I have always had a fondness for politics. In order to follow this interest, I added a minor in Political Science at the College of Charleston and have engaged in other activities to satisfy my curiosity (interning at a Senator’s office, for a lobbying firm in Washington D.C., and attending numerous public forums). This past Fall, the national election cycle was in full swing, and my attention was diverted almost entirely to the outpouring of political punditry, conjecture, and public polling data that would hypothesize the results of November 3. As swing state polling was updated daily, and each state released their plans to deal with vote-counting during a pandemic, I began spending more and more time analyzing data. Suddenly I realized that this was an opportunity to combine my interests in politics and Excel with another (less principled) interest—gambling.

The simplest form of my idea was simply to use Excel for record-keeping. My friends and I would agree on a bet for a state that we thought would go opposite directions, and I would record the wager ($5.00) and other relevant information.

I now needed to use the program to catalog polling data, convert the “spread” into a win probability percentage, use those percentages to create moneylines for each state, and use the moneylines to calculate potential payouts for any wagers made. This required a reading of numerous academic articles on sports and political betting, and I contacted a professor at College of Charleston that specializes in the economics of gambling. Eventually I had enough information to create my own moneylines or had found online calculators that could make them for me. My Excel file was perfect to send to my friends in other areas, who could view the data on two separate polling authorities, the win percentage data, and then fill in their wagers and send the file back to me. Simple actions like conditional formatting made the user-interface easier for those who were less experienced in either gambling or national politics. I did not make very much money, but it was an extremely fun thought experiment.


Vinh is pursuing his accounting degree at Drexel University, where he is also a teaching assistant. He has volunteered in the VITA (Volunteer Income Tax Assistance) program to help people file their tax returns.

His professor said that Vinh is the top student in her Intermediate Accounting course. He is hardworking, prepared, and willing to try to solve and answer challenging questions.

These traits will serve him well in his future in accounting. Way to go Vinh!

Here are a few highlights from his essay.

My journey with excel began when I was applying to colleges in the US as a high-school senior. At that time, I was utilizing Excel to compile a list of potential universities and their application deadlines as well as other special requirements.

Since the start of the pandemic, most of our classes have gone virtual. Instead of the traditional blackboards, we have switched to Excel completely. In our financial accounting classes, I have learned to set up amortization schedule, discount future value, annuities, and to calculate periodic payments using excel.

I also took advantage of Excel as a teaching assistant to explain accounting concepts to my students. Thanks to Excel, many accounting problems can be broken down into smaller steps to make it easier for students to follow.

Excel has proven to be an integral part of my academic and professional journey. I hope to unlock its full potential as I embark on my professional career after graduation.

Once again, congratulations Ian and Vinh!

Again … a big THANK YOU to the Excel University Alumni Association members because your enrollments support this scholarship program and these accounting students!

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Jeff Lenning

I love sharing the things I've learned about Excel, and I built Excel University to help me do that. My motto is: Learn Excel. Work Faster.

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