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How to become an MVP in Excel [case study]



This is the story of Vijay Agarwal, who received MVP Award from Microsoft on 1st of April.

Some of you know that I am a recipient Microsoft MVP award. It is an award Microsoft gives to software community leaders & contributors. Often people ask me, “Chandoo, how do I become an MVP?”. So today I want to tell you how you can become an MVP.

How to become Microsoft MVP in Excel?

Around first week of April, I got an email from Vijay,

Hi Chandoo,

My self Vijay Agarwal from Delhi and I am a big fan of your site/articles. With blessing of God and inspiration from legends like you, I am pleased to inform you that yesterday evening I have been awarded Most Valuable Professional (MVP) award by Microsoft for my contributions in Excel.

This is the link of Microsoft site where it has been updated.

I congratulated him immediately. It is always a pleasure to see people succeed and get recognition for their efforts. I also asked him if he can share his MVP journey to inspire all of us at Chandoo.org. Vijay being an awesome guy, wrote and send it promptly. So here we go.

My ‘MVP’ Journey

1st April 2014, the day, which I would never forget in my life as Microsoft has awarded me Most Valuable Profession Award (MVP) for my Excel skills which undoubtedly is the ‘Nobel Prize’ in Microsoft community.

Can a person ever think of such a feat…,

  • who spent his childhood in a very small town of Haryana (a state in India)
  • who completed his graduation in Hindi medium only
  • who never heard or saw a computer before his graduation
  • who touched a computer only after completing his CA in 1993

Really really it’s a long story, how and when I fall in love with Excel even I don’t remember. I believe it was 1998. Being a Chartered Accountant and good in mathematics/logic I found myself spending more and more time on it and within few months, I was the ‘Excel master’ in my company. I never had any type of training on any of MS product, whatever I learn that was just by reading Excel help (its too good, that is written by experts, never ignore it), doing and doing and helping others.  In the mean time, I moved to ERP/SAP line and also got lot of proficiency there, but, yes Excel was always with me. Till 2009, I used to get people coming to me for Excel queries, and used to got calls from my colleagues of previous companies.

I was not much involved on any type of forums on internet till 2009, then I became one of the members on http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/office  in 2010 and started to see people answering very tough/complicated questions. There are people who are more experienced and legends on these forums and moreover very good in Macros, me not a technical person, I hardly used macros, but being good in logic I started to answer questions even which people thought is possible through macros only, by building logic and providing non-macro solutions. It was not frequent, but my response also got “marked as answer”, and it was in 2012 last quarter that I was tagged as Star Contributor, after that I just got addicted to solve more and more questions, and the result is in front of you.

I don’t prefer Macro/array solutions much and always try to find some simple Non macro/non Array solutions which I believe users like.

I remember one quote of Steve Jobs here.

“Simple can be harder than complex: You have to work hard to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.”

While answering questions I try to make things simple and follow these rules.

  • Will my solution meet the requirement of user
  • Can it be more simplified/compact and made better
  • Is there any alternate solution for this
  • Is it user friendly
  • Would it be better to provide Screen shots/File Link
  • To the point/brief
  • And then I try to follow all above rules while answering questions

I believe one should have passion/belief for a subject and then he will automatically find the time/ways for it. MVP is not the destination; I do it because I love it. It gives lot of satisfaction when one get compliments for your responses. There is no short cut to hard work. Do what you love and love what you do so that you don’t feel bored/burdened.

Beside Excel I am fond of yoga, give motivational speeches and travel.

I am thankful to God for giving me such a beautiful life.

Wish you all the best and feel free to get in touch with me thru my MVP page or Microsoft Answers page.

Thank you very much Chandoo for giving me an opportunity to write on your blog.

I learnt and learning a lot from Chandoo.org

keep it up, God bless you.

Thank you Vijay

Thanks Vijay for sharing your story and inspiring us. I agree with you that as long as we make our life about learning & sharing, it will be challenging and beautiful. Thanks for taking time to write for us. Many congratulations once again on the much deserved MVP award. Wishing you many more years as MVP.

If you enjoy Vijay’s story, please say thanks to him or congratulate him.

More on MVP Award


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34 Responses to “How to become an MVP in Excel [case study]”

  1. sreekhosh says:

    Congrats Vijay.....and Big thanks for sharing your story 🙂


  2. NARAYAN says:

    Hi Vijay ,

    Very touching to read about your triumph ; congratulations.

    I was especially impressed by the following sentence from your story :

    whatever I learn that was just by reading Excel help (its too good, that is written by experts, never ignore it), doing and doing and helping others.


  3. rajinikanth says:

    Congratulations! Vijay

  4. Debraj Roy says:

    Congrats Vijay..

    Asish Koul, Dilip Pandey and Now Vijay Aggarwal..

    Delhi is growing fast.. and sure India will cotribute more in future in Excel World..

    Thanks chandoo.. for making us proud.. and thaks to all
    for being the inspiration for many Indian Excel Lover..

  5. Benzadeus says:

    Congratulations, Vijay! The feeling of becoming a MVP is incredible!
    I'm looking forward to meet you in the MVP Summit at MS Corp. My name is Felipe and I am an Excel MVP.

  6. Smilin Idiot says:

    Happy April Fools Day

    • Rahul says:

      I like your innovative thinking Smilian. When all sorts of comments are for inspiration drawn from Vijay's feet, your one odd (sudden) comment is a good laugh. You have got some sense of humour. HaHa.

  7. Luke M says:

    Big congratulations Vijay! Very inspiring story.

  8. Marsha says:

    Congratulations, Vijay. I loved reading about your journey, which never ends. Thank you, Chandoo, for sharing this with us.


  9. Joanne Forsythe says:

    Congrats! What a nice story, Vijay. Helping others always has rewards and you are proof of that. Thanks for sharing your knowledge with others. It is appreciated.

  10. Ameet says:

    Congratulations great job.

    Keep inspiring us.

    Best regards

  11. amit sharma says:

    nice vijay

  12. Murali says:

    Dear Vijay,

    Congratulations. Thats great, you a are an example that be in our profession (CA) & get the expertise & became as a MVP.

    Nice to read your stroy. You have inspired us through sharing your journey.

    Best Regards

  13. Brij Arora says:

    Mr. Vijay,

    Congratulations to you for the "Oscar Award " of Microsoft.

    Your story is great inspiration like Mr. Chandoo's.

    This journey also pumped up my blood circulation and I start Loving the excel more and more.

    Brij Arora

  14. Michael (micky) Avidan says:

    Congratulations ! Vijay.
    Michael (Micky) Avidan
    “Microsoft® Answers" - Wiki author & Forums Moderator
    “Microsoft®” MVP – Excel (2009-2014)

  15. Mano says:

    Many Congratulations Vijay! Definitely very inspirational....


  16. Ankita says:

    Congratulations Vijay... Your story is very inspiring.. Just wish I can also reach to the extent where I can feel nothing is impossible in Excel 🙂

  17. Somendra Misra says:

    Congrats Vijay!!!

    Very Inspiring Story.

    Specially the part of simplicity in your story. It's really very imp.

    Thanks Chandoo for sharing the story.


  18. Pablo says:

    Hi Vijay,
    Congratulations. Hard work does pay off.
    Keep it up.

  19. Congratulation Vijay!!! Inspiring Story.

    Thanks Chandoo for sharing the story.

  20. Danièle says:

    Congratulations and Thank you!
    Thank you for sharing your achievement and enthusiasm .
    Thank you for all the help you MVPs around the world provide.

  21. Abhimanyu says:


    Your path to MVP reiterates once again that Hard work pays!

  22. Dr Karthik says:

    Congrats Vijay. . . your hard work and thinking out-of-the-box paid off. You are a source of inspiration to other MVP aspirers!

  23. Anil says:

    Congrtas Vijay.. keep it up.

  24. Sivasankari says:

    Hi Vijay,

    My hearty congratulations to you.

  25. Bhawani says:

    Thanks vijay for sharing your journey from Green Haryana to Proffesional CA to Excel MVP.

    What i believe that here you are an ideal for lots of student who belongs from similar education background and similiar area.

    when you say from "Haryana" & Excel MVP/CA. Its really inspirational itself & Heartily congratulations to you.

    And thanks chandoo.org

  26. Ankur Jain says:

    I have known Vijay for 10 years now and not at all surprised by his success. He has been selfless in his approach while helping people solve their complex problems and has become a most valued professional in Excel, while doing so.

    I personally seek all excel related advise from Vijay only and solved many of my problems.

    Good luck to him and wish more and more success.

  27. Kingkarn says:

    Congratulation !!!!! Vijay.

    Thank you for your sharing.

    And also thanks chandoo.org...

  28. Vaibhav says:

    Congrats!!!!! Vijay.

    Thanks for sharing your inspiring story.......................

  29. Umang Agarwal says:

    Hi Vijay ji,
    First of all my heartiest congratulations to you. I know you from last 15 years and also worked in same organization. What ever i know in excel due to you only and till today you are the only person ,i cal you for any excel help and u always help me even u have lots of work with you. Further, apart from above ,you are very simple,down to earth ,always keen to help others, very positive and full of life person. I admire you a lot. God Bless u N ur family. Infinite Thanks to you.
    More Love N Regards Umang Agarwal.

  30. Anoop rawat says:

    Thanks vijay for sharing your story and congratulation

  31. […] together the best lineup of speakers, experts and mentors in the field of data  We have Excel MVP’s from around the world, inculding such powerhouses as Mr. Excel Bill […]

  32. Excel Spyders says:

    Congrats Vijay! Great story and excellent rules to follow when answering questions for others.

    Un abrazo,
    Carlos from Excel Spyders

  33. RUPESH SHARMA says:

    Hi Vijay,

    I was going through your story and finding myself at your place but in between somewhere you moved ahead and reached the destination (at least for me now). So what was I doing till now? I stopped for a moment to answer this question to myself. But now I have got the answer and decided to follow your path. Your story of journey to MVP is truly inspiring. Thanks Chandoo.org who always have answer to my every problem in excel for sharing your story with us.

    God bless and keep sharing,
    Thanks and Regards,

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