Brett Andrews, Ph.D., professor of business and dean of the school of business, uses an online simulation called The Business Strategy Game (BSG). In BSG, students run a virtual company and compete against each other. The students are ranked against other competitors based on their corporate strategy. This year, two students are tied for first place against all competing students across the globe.
Senior students, Paul Rupnik and Yemima Buana, made up the team that represents Newman University in first place. This is the first year Newman students have ranked first overall. This simulation is considered a capstone experience and has been used by the department for a few years. However, Andrews reports it is also the first year it is mandated for the business programs as part of accreditation. He explains the simulation gives the students an opportunity to take their knowledge and apply it to the real world.
Students work in teams and compete against their peers in the class. In the simulation each team inherits a company. Each team must make all the decisions on how to run and manage the company for 10 simulated years. Executive decisions, strategy, finances and personnel choices all had to be determined by the students.
“We know historically that some students excel from an academic standpoint, others excel with hands-on” Andrews stated. He added that this provides student with an opportunity to test their skills and learn from the successes as well as the mistakes. “I think that is why I like this game because its just like real life” commented Andrews.
Andrews stated the simulation allows students “to see how well their decisions work to position that company for future growth against each other in the class.” Rupnik explained their approach was “very aggressive and [we] immediately staked our position as a leader in terms of quality. The most challenging aspect of the game was understanding your competitors’ intentions, and making decisions that would mitigate or take advantage of their actions.”
“Personally, in the beginning I saw it as just another class assignment, but I quickly came to learn that it was much more than that.” Buana reported. “As a team, we approached it very cautiously in the beginning since we were still learning the hang of things. We saw how quickly the other teams were climbing to the top, so we went all out in every aspect of the simulation. The most challenging aspect of it, to say the least, was thinking steps ahead of the other teams.”
A high level of competitiveness may have been an additional factor to Buana and Rupnik’s success. “Our class is composed of mainly athletes, so the atmosphere was always competitive.” said Buana. “Whenever Dr. Andrews would announce the first ranked team in class, it almost felt like we won a match or a game. Now to be ranked first among so many other students, is humbling to say the least.”
Rupnik also recognized the magnitude of this accomplishment, stating “it feels great to finish first, especially knowing the caliber of the other students in our class, let alone across the America. The last few weeks of the game [was] very highly competitive and it is a huge relief to know that our actions held up, and allowed us to maintain first place.”
Out of the 289 business schools participating, Newman University also had two other teams place in the top 25. Andrews expressed he is very proud of his students’ achievements, saying “this is not an insignificant deal.” He states this is also an important recognition of Newman’s business department. It “validates that the things we are teaching in the school business at Newman University are best practice anywhere.”
He adds that these students can enter the job field with appropriate confidence and experience and are “just as well prepared” as the best students from the best business schools. All the teams in first place are invited to proceed to a world wide playoff to compete to determine the best of the best.