These are projects posted by the students of Dr. Gove Allen at Brigham Young University. These students have taken one semester-long course on VBA and generally have had no prior programming experience

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Unemployment PowerPoint Slides Maker


When seeking an appropriate project for this final assignment, I solicited my past professors from last semester asking if there was something that they wish was automated in their daily work.  Every professor that I emailed replied to me with a potential project that would help them.  Unfortunately, I was only able to select one for one of the MBA finance professors, Grant McQueen1

Professor McQueen has been tracking the economic recovery of the US after the 2009 financial meltdown.  He makes presentations on the data including, US unemployment rates, regularly using a PowerPoint presentation.  Each time he presents his findings he has to pull data from the Federal Reserve Economic Data (FRED) website into excel, create several charts and put these charts into his PowerPoint slide deck.  This process takes about 2 hours.  Professor McQueen asked me to automate this process.  I was successful in creating a VBA tool that reduces the processing time down to 60 seconds. 

My Tools automates the process using 4 sub procedures:

1)      getData() – Pulls data from the FRED website using the Professor Allen’s agent module and inputs the data into an excel worksheet

2)      user() – the checks who the user is and which API Key to use. 

3)      MakeCharts() – Creates 4 charts of unemployment data

4)      ChartsAndTitlesToPresentation() – Exports the charts into an existing PowerPoint presentation

This project has increased my comfort level with the topics covered in class, but it has also exposed me to several other topics not covered in class specifically:

1)      Application Programming interface (API) keys

2)      Manipulating other Microsoft Office applications other than excel using VBA

1 I was able to leverage the interest from all of the professors to land a paid VBA consulting project with the director of the MBA program, John Bingham. 

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