Inside the Microsoft Office Olympics

Fast Company has gone deep in its coverage of the Microsoft Office Specialist World Championship, the competition in which students from all over the world gather in Texas to prove who’s the best at creating documents in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Check out the article to see exactly what the competition is like.

From the article:

“I spent the first three hours doing nothing, absolutely nothing,” said Maria Valarezo, the 16-year-old Ecuadorian who came in third in the Adobe competition. “I was desperate…for real I was desperate.”

Surely she wasn’t the only one feeling the pressure. Though Valarezo said she and the girl next to her—who came in second—talked a bit as they worked, they were told to be quiet. And Admon recalled that during his PowerPoint test, “You could hear the people across the room typing. It was dead quiet.”

These people, of course, are all masters at their chosen software, so standing out in this crowd takes a level of calm most of us probably couldn’t handle. “It’s stressful,” Bushman said. “They’re competing against the best in the world.”

Added Bushman, those that end up on top are the ones “who just keep their cool. They don’t panic. They look at it step-by-step, build it, review it, and move on.”