Guest post by Caroline Oxtoby, Student Intern at Microsoft

I’ve just passed the last Microsoft Office exam – now I’m a certified Microsoft Office Master! I wanted to share my journey of taking these exams whilst on my placement year here at Microsoft and why I believe these are important for both students and colleges/universities to consider.

I study Business and Management at the Henley College, University of Reading. My course is four years and as part of my third year I was lucky enough to receive an internship at Microsoft. I am part of the ‘Partner Capacity & Capability’ Team, working within the Microsoft Partner Network. My role includes supporting 700 out of our 35,000 organisations in our partner network, and involves organising partner events and partner’s use of Microsoft branding. This has a demanding reliance on the use of applications such as Excel, which allows me to forecast events and finances using macros, as well as log competition entries for various incentives. PowerPoint enables me to present clearly to my manager my performance against my targets as well as pitch ideas and presentations to partners. I also find OneNote is a simple and effective way of organising your ideas and notes without fumbling around with paper in meetings.

clip_image001During the induction week at the beginning of my internship, the Microsoft Learning Centre gave us a presentation highlighting the importance of taking these Microsoft Office exams to prove your IT skills and technical capabilities. This is where I first heard about the Microsoft Office exams and their ability to allow you to separate yourself from other students and prove your technical ability. Since then, I have passed exams in Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access and Outlook to become a Microsoft Office 2010 Specialist, and took further exams in Microsoft Office 365, OneNote and SharePoint to become a certified Microsoft Office 2010 Master. Next, I will be completing all these exams in the new 2013, with the aim of becoming a Microsoft Office 2013 Master by the time my internship is finished in July next year.

I was lucky enough to take two technical certifications, both which provided me with a certificate which many organisations acknowledge. During my second year at university, I had to pass the European Computer Driving Licence as part of one of my modules.

This was a set of Microsoft Office exams, similar to the Microsoft Office Specialist/Master certifications offered at Microsoft. As a student, I was continuously looking for easy ways to set myself apart from other students, especially when it came to applying for internships. I feel it is important that all school, colleges and universities understand the importance of their students taking these exams.

 

clip_image003Technology skills are paramount for us to have in any job, and you never know exactly what IT skills you may need for your next job. Microsoft Office Specialist certifications have given me the perfect opportunity to prove to my current and future employers that I have a high standard of technical skills and demonstrates that I am committed to proving this.

MOS exams sell themselves, who wouldn’t want to have Microsoft Office Specialist or Microsoft Office Master on their CV, especially when you’re applying for jobs or looking for internships in the current market where competition is fierce.

If you’re interested in finding out more about MOS exams and what they can do for you or your students, check out the MOS website or watch the video.