Stay in school, kids. Excel could one day save your life.

Stay in school, kids. Excel could one day save your life.

Have you ever done something that didn’t seem particularly meaningful or life changing at the time, something that you would had done without giving much thought to, only to discover that this random decision had huge ramifications on your life much later, to the point that you can’t even imagine how life would be like had you not made that decision?

Not so long ago, when yours truly was still an itsy-bitsy student, I took this 7-week course on advanced Excel modelling. It was all about building models that would help make financial and general business decisions. At the time, I signed up for it because it was just a powerful tool to have — learning all the amazing things you could do with Excel 2007 opened a whole new world of possibilities for analysis (yes, I am a shameless geek).

Fast forward a year to present-day Singapore, where I realised one fine day that I could totally  incorporate the Excel modelling skills into my Sahara race prep on top of using it for the actual work I usually do. So with several nested functions here and a reference table there and a sprinkle of conditional formatting, etc, and voila — my Sahara Race daily menu is born!

sahara race 250km 41I is feeling a wee bit clever.

Basically, I select a food item I want to eat for a certain leg of the race and the nutrition information for that item pops up across the adjacent cells and tells me exactly how much protein, carbs and fat I’m getting for the day as well as the total weight I’m carrying.

Very handy because it allows me to change/tweak my menu for each day without having to manually recalculate the weight of the food. That’s many, many hours of tedious labour saved because of one random 7-week course I decided to enroll in for entirely different purposes.

So. To the kids still in conscripted education: enjoy your time there. You never know which random piece of knowledge could one day save your life in the desert :0)

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