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Business department now offers Microsoft professional certifications

Posted: Jan 10, 2013

“Professional certifications are taking on more importance, especially based on a person’s chosen career path,” says Professor Brad Thomas of Olivet’s Department of Business. “And they are evolving all the time.

“We want to do all we can to help our students draw out a road map and identify which certifications will be most helpful for them in their careers.”

That reality propelled him to find a way to make it easier and more convenient for Olivet students to obtain those certifications, especially those for Microsoft® Office Specialist (MOS).

Starting in February 2012, he led the process to have Olivet become a Certiport® Authorized Testing Center for MOS exams.

Certiport is the leading provider of value-added test delivery services for the global workforce and academic markets. Its corporate goal is to prepare individuals with current and relevant digital skills and credentials for the competitive global workforce. Today, there are more than 12,000 Certiport exam centers worldwide. To date, more than 10 million certification exams have been administering in a total of 152 countries and 27 languages.

Rewards for diligence

In August 2012, Olivet received Certiport’s authorization to give all of the Microsoft Office Specialist exams on campus to faculty, staff and students. The Department of Business decided to include the MOS exams for all business majors and modified the curriculum for the fall courses.

“One of the greatest advantages is that we have the ability to create a flexible exam schedule that fits with our population’s needs,” says Professor Thomas. “This is Olivet’s entryway into the world of professional certifications. It gives our students the opportunity to attain multiple certifications.”

Business Professor Joan Bishop and Professor Thomas are the authorized proctors for the onsite tests at Olivet. They also coach the students in preparation for the exams using GMetrix practice tests and training tools.

“When preparing for the Microsoft certification exam, I thought I knew most things about Microsoft programs,” says sophomore Ashley Peet (Abingdon, Ill.), a corporate communication major with a marketing minor. “I soon found out that I had so much more to learn!”

Testing the testing process

The MOS Office Excel® 2010 exam was the first given at Olivet. Those taking the timed exam must score 70 percent or better to earn the certification, and they receive immediate notice of their score.

Forty Olivet students passed the exam in December 2012 and are newly certified as Microsoft Office Specialists for Office Excel 2010. This is one of several valuable credentials that recognize the skills needed to use the full features and functionality of Office 2010 applications in the work place.

“The actual exam was more difficult than I expected it to be, but I was confident,” says freshman David Leman (Normal, Ill.), an actuarial science major. “Passing the exam has heightened my confidence with Excel, and this certification will also look good on my résumé.”

Advantages for excellence

Professional certifications also give our students an advantage in the competitive job environment. “Employers — and graduate schools — know that our graduates with certifications have the skills and expertise that companies depend on,” Professor Thomas says.

Jonathan Herndon (Anderson, Ind.), a sophomore majoring in accounting added, “With this certification, I’m going to ask my boss for a raise!”

Acres of Olivet's beautiful, park-like campus in Bourbonnais, Ill.