The Commons Digest (10/13/2022)

The COmmons Insider Newsletter

This week's discussion...

GSheets vs. Excel

Learning at The Commons

The last Strategy + Ops Sprint of the year kicks off next week. Apply to end your year on a high note!

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Your Weekly Level Up

✏️ Career Resource: The Best Job Out of College / University

✅ Community Reccos: Daily Market Briefs

💭 Thought Starter: Which Circle are you upvoting

💡 Brain Teaser: Weighted balls

🚀 Community Share: Bn$ text messages

HOT TAKE - GSheets is Better than Excel

Following Strategic Finance mentor, Sean Newman's, blog post on why GShets is better than Excel, we decided to poll the community. Above are the results (a surprisingly strong Excel contingency - likely a result of the number of bankers in the community!).

So why did Sean dive into this topic in the first place? "I graduated in 2016 and have since worked in Big Industry (GE Aviation), Big Tech (Uber), and most recently, a mature startup (Alto Pharmacy). In my early days of Excel, I estimate I’ve experienced over 150 file crashes and/or saving mishaps. We uploaded files to a sharing-program called Box which often created more confusion than cohesion. Uber successfully converted me to GSheets where among other projects, I built the Weekly Metrics Report still sent to the C-Suite to this day. I’ve been through countless Close and Forecasting cycles and currently manage the entire planning/forecasting models for Alto. My philosophy has always been to automate the boring stuff so I can work on projects which break new ground. Along with my hot take on spreadsheets, I’ve shared time-saving best practices below which allow me to focus on the fun stuff at work :)

The way we do finance is changing. More and more, fresh-faced bankers are standing out amongst their peers by learning technical skills such as statistics, data analytics, and dashboarding. While there was a time when the best-of-the-best were defined by their ability to work the hardest, there’s a growing group of financial professionals who stand out by working the smartest.

Amidst all this change, there’s one area no one seems to be talking about… GSheets. It’s superior to Excel in every single way. I’ve spent 3 years under the old guard and 3 years under the new one, so I’ve done my due diligence. My work has become more polished, informative, and quicker after moving to GSheets. Both Microsoft and Google attract some of the world’s best Product Managers, so I don’t doubt the features Mr. Gates is releasing, but the software itself is structured in a way that sets itself up to fall behind. I’ve given it a lot of thought, and I think there are a few broad reasons for GSheet superiority"

Shortened for brevity - check out the full post here - here are his reasons for GSheet superiority:

  1. It's Teamwork Oriented
  2. It's Mistake-Proof
  3. It's Consistently Innovative
  4. And, the following is just easier on GSheets: Querying, Import Range, Charts, Connectivity

And here are the highlights of Sean's best practices:

  1. A model is only as good as it's raw data
  2. SUMIFS > INDEX MATCH/MATCH > Pivot tables!
  3. Use dropdown menus
  4. Build your summary first
  5. Format conditionally
  6. Swap that graph for a table

Want to put it into practice? Join the final Strategic Finance Sprint of the year where you'll dive into a Strategic Finance project (all about subscription models!) while being coached by mentors, like Sean.


Want to chat? Schedule time with me here.

What’s happening at The Commons

Upcoming events

Mini-Case Workshop
Join Commons mentor Rohan, VP of Revenue and BI at Lifehouse, as we dive into a mock case that simulates the kinds of questions you might face in an interview.

Tuesday, October 18 7-8PM ET
Community only
Register here

Virtual Community Hang
Come hang with The Commons team & community! We'll catch up and play casual icebreaker games so you can meet new people from the community!

Friday, October 21 12-12:45PM ET
Community only
Register here

📣 Calling all Canadian business leaders and believers
Introducing Bet On Canada: A Summit Presented by The Peak.

The Peak has brought together our country’s top business leaders, investors, and innovators for a one-day-only business event in the heart of Toronto.

You’ll hear from a powerhouse line-up of speakers that will explore the challenges and opportunities of building a business in Canada and spotlight strategies for how to navigate them.

Grab your seat today and save 15% off advanced tickets with code Commons15.

November 8th | IRL Toronto
Open to all!
Register here (use code Commons15)

PS We're co-hosting an event that evening with The Peak - stay tuned!

Past events

ICYMI we recently hosted these events. Members, you can find the recordings on our platform.

  • Resume Peer Review | We launched another peer resume review session, where community members exchange feedback on how to stand out from the crowd.
  • Great Debate - MBAs | A discussion on a hot topic for many in our community - MBAs. We had 4 community members on the panel: 2 who have MBAs and 2 who thought about it, but opted not to pursue.
  • Mentor Office Hours | Two of our incredible mentors, Drayton (Product at Paysail) and Vidya (Strategy & Ops at DoorDash, ex-Facebook & ex-Uber), shared their trajectory and how they broke into tech, and answered community Q&As.

Application Deadline Alert!

Looking to join The Commons?

Your way in is through a Sprint. Apply to secure your seat below.

Strategy + Operations Sprint

You'll learn SQL, analysis, problem solving and data-driven recommendation building. Great for generalist roles in tech. Kickoff is October 17th. (PS: If you've been following us for a while, this is the renamed Core Sprint).

💥 LAST CALL FOR 2022 💥

Learn more // Apply now

Strategic Finance Sprint

Our November Strategic Finance Sprint is officially open! It'll kick off in November and wrap before the holidays. This is an extremely curated cohort of <20 seats.

💥 LAST CALL FOR 2022 💥

Learn more // Apply now


Our final Product and Revenue Growth Sprints of the year have kicked off. Email me back if you want to secure a spot for January.

View all Sprints

The Final Product Sprint Kickoff of 2022

On Tuesday, we kicked off our final Product Sprint of the year! We have an incredible cohort of professionals that are eager to learn together. Here's a snapshot of a few of our new members that introduced themselves to the community - be sure to pop into intros to say hi 👋

  • Zain - Marketplace Ops at repair and maintenance software startup, ResQ (Zain joins a number of other ResQ employees in The Commons, including Jordy - one of the Strategy + Operations Sprint mentors!). He's a car, sports, movie and outdoors junky 🥾
  • Lindsay - Manhattan transplant originally from Philly. She works in an Operations Risk role for a FinTech and has held various risk management roles over the last 5 years. Outside of work, you'll find her travelling, enjoying outdoor activities and cooking. 👩🏻‍🍳
  • Carlton - another member of the Marketplace Ops ResQ team. A loyal Manchester United fan and we're eagerly awaiting an intro to his Border Heeler, Milo in the #commonroompets channel 🐾
  • Vijay - a VP at a boutique bank advising high-growth startups on M&A transactions, who has managed to capitalize on remote work by spending time in Medellin, Colombia. 🌎
  • Ismail - he was born in Cairo, grew up in North Carolina and is currently in DC with his wife and kids. Currently at Deloitte and working on getting his MBA, while simultaneously looking to round out his Product skillset through the Sprint and community 🤯👏 Catch him watching The Office or Spider Man cartoons from the 90s!

Want to say give a warm welcome? Pop into the #intros channel to find the rest of the latest intros flowing in! ⬇️

Your weekly level up

The Best Job Out of College / University

Check out this discussion with Angelina (The Commons mentor & Product at Wealthsimple) and Raphael (The Commons alum & GM at Billdr) as they reflect on their career paths that have spanned engineering, consulting, bigtech and startups, to evaluate the best job to of school. They cover:

  • compensation
  • learning & development
  • mentorship
  • versatility

Considering diving into tech right out of college? Here are a few entry level roles that have been buzzing around our community:

Daily Market Briefs

I passed out while reading today’s financial news

Ok…I didn’t.

But financial news is boring, hard, and nobody has time for it

… Except for the 20,837+ brilliant people who signed up for Daily Market Briefs

Get financial news that’s quick and easy to read (with a pinch of humor) straight to your inbox every morning, for free.

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While this is technically an #ad, we've been working with the folks behind Daily Market Briefs - they, and the newsletter, are awesome. Definitely check it out!

PS - interested in reaching an audience of 20K professionals in biz + tech? Reply to this email.

We recently launched new Circles. Which of the top trending Circles are you going to upvote?

A) Reading Circle: “Let My People Go Surfing” by Yvon Chouinard

B) Exploring Health Tech

C) The World of Low Code / No Code

D) Venture Capital

E) Career Crossroads

Upvote or claim to lead a circle here!

*Community only

You are given 12 balls. 11 of them are identical and 1 of them is a little bit heavier. If you can use the scale only 3 times, how can you determine which ball is heavier? Note that the scale compares two weights against each other.

Check out the answer here.

👎 to Bn$ text messages

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