Meet Michael and Nick: Microsoft Office National Champions

The Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship is a global competition that tests students’ skills in Microsoft Office Word, Excel® and PowerPoint®. Top students are invited to represent their countries at the World Championship in Orlando August 7-10. Below, we profile Michael Kelley and Nick O’Donnell, two of the top competitors who will represent the United States in the global championship next month. Follow the competition on social media via #MOSWC.

The Proof is in the Certification

Michael Kelly, a Nebraska native and recent Papillion-La Vista South High graduate, already knows how tough it is to get hired. To prove his skills, he’s achieved certification in all the Microsoft Office products, but he specializes in Excel. He’s so good, he was named the Microsoft Excel 2013 U.S. National Champion in June.

“When you are coming into a job, they don’t know who you are. They don’t know your history. But, [certification] shows you work hard for it and it proves you’re good,” says Michael.

Michael competed in Certiport’s Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship event in Orlando, Florida, against 108 participants from around the country to be named the National Excel Champion. His hard work resulted in a cash prize at the competition, and a job offer in the real world.

Offline Perks

“My certification helped me get a job in my school district helping staff and students repair computers and complete their projects,” says Michael. He is certified through Pearson’s Certiport program.

He put in a lot of hard work to get to become a champion.

“I didn’t know all the intricacies of Excel. My teacher really pushed me to go through it all and go really deep,” says Michael. “It is boring when you start and it’ll take a while. But when you get to this level you feel unstoppable.”

Beyond the extra push, Michael had a good time.

“You’re in front of everyone. It’s so exciting. The championship was so high energy. I just had so much fun.”

Looking Forward to What’s Next

Michael will represent the U.S. in the World Championship August 7-10 in Orlando, Florida. He’ll will be competing against champions from 80 countries.

Michael Kelly's Victory at Certiport's Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship from Pearson Learning News on Vimeo.

A Renaissance Man Ready to Take on the World

Nick O’Donnell is a recent graduate from Belgrade High School in Montana. He’s a great student, an eagle scout, and known around his high school as the “tech dude,” but he has something special on his resume that makes him stand out.

Nick is the U.S. Champion in Microsoft Word 2013. In June, he competed against 108 other students at Certiport’s 2016 Microsoft Office Specialist U.S. National Championship event in Orlando to prove his skills.

“When my name was called, my mom screamed beyond loud. Everyone heard it,” says Nick. “I’m kind of in shock.”

What He’ll Do With His Winnings

As the first place winner, he received a $3,000 cash prize. He plans on using his winnings to buy a car and help with college costs. In the fall, he’ll attend Montana State University for a degree in computer science and a minor in business administration.

The Road to Greatness

Nick says that his internship at First Security Bank was a result of his certification through Pearson’s Certiport. He put in a lot of work to get to this level.

“I mess around with the programs to learn them,” says Nick. He studied a lot of books about Microsoft Office, and his career and tech teacher, Ms. Francis, worked with him to take practice certification tests.

The Final Hurdle

In August, he’s going back to Orlando for the World Championships, where the stakes are even higher. To win the World Championship title, he’ll have to compete against students from 80 countries.

Top Notch Prizes for the Champions

What do world champions win, besides bragging rights? The top three finishers at the competition win cash and other prizes:

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